39 Essex St revamps fees as another 4-5 Gray’s Inn silk joins

London set 39 Essex Street has revamped the way it collects fees from members so that all new additions pay a joining fee into its LLP.


Richard Spearman QC
Richard Spearman QC

The news comes as the set announces its latest high-profile recruit from 4-5 Gray’s Inn: former head of chambers Richard Spearman QC. The Lawyer understands that in the set’s most recent raid on 4-5 Gray’s Inn, 39 Essex Street has beaten off competition from a number of other chambers vying for the commercial barrister’s membership.

Spearman was head of chambers at 4-5 Gray’s Inn and was not involved in the negotiations that led to 24 members joining 39 Essex Street last year (28 November 2012). Since the split, a team of four clerks has followed suit, with 4-5 Gray’s Inn senior clerk Michael Kaplan, Richard Bulaitis, Anthony King and Daniel Perry, making the same move last month (21 January 2013).

Spearman’s practice adds a new dynamic to 39 Essex Street: he is recognised for his privacy work and regularly acts for high-profile media defendants.

Spearman will pay the up-front joining fee to sign up with the set, which will go directly to the chambers’ LLP and contributes to the running costs of the chambers. The fee, understood to be around £30,000, is in addition to chambers contributions. At the start of the year, 39 Essex Street changed its membership fee structure from a set rate of around 22 per cent to a sliding scale dependant on fees generated.

The new arrangement means that the addition of the 24 members, including Peter Village QC, would have brought in more than £700,000 to the set.

David Barnes
David Barnes

Spearman said: “It is a phenomenal and exciting set which continues to go from strength to strength, and excels in a wide range of areas which offer an excellent fit to my own diverse practice”.

David Barnes, chief executive and director of clerking at 39 Essex Street, said: ““Richard’s reputation within the world of media and entertainment is second to none and his extensive expertise across many other areas will further enhance the strength and depth of chambers’ offering across the board.”