Ely Place Chambers has attracted a second head of chambers to its ranks in just four months in the form of highly-rated 3 Temple Gard-ens supremo Jonathan Gold-berg QC. Goldberg follows former Hardwicke Building head Nicholas Stewart QC to Ronald Thwaites QC's small but growing set. "I consider him to be one of the most formidable advocates of his generation, and in my view there are not many of them," said Thwaites. Goldberg boasts a leading criminal practice, but now hopes to follow Thwaites's lead in making the transition to civil law. He is currently instructed on the civil trial of actor and playwright Steven Berkoff over the alleged rape of an actress. The downward pressure on fees at the criminal bar, where silks can expect earnings to drop by at least 50 per cent in future years, was one of Goldberg's principal motivations to make the move. Welcoming Goldberg, Thwaites took the opportunity to launch an attack on the state of the silks system. "The mainstream bar is generally in finan cial crisis and many silks are out of work for much of the time," he said. "I believe that the silk currency has been deliberately and systematically debased by the appointment of too many silks and, as a result, the gold standard has been reduced to base copper. "In these conditions it becomes more difficult for the professional and lay client to identify quality and avoid a significant number of mediocre, supercilious and lazy counsel, who have been over-promoted. I'm very glad to welcome another 'proper' silk on board so soon after we took on Nicholas Stewart QC." Goldberg will be replaced as head of chambers by Joanna Greenberg QC.