A property development company is offering fully serviced accommodation to the bar in an ambitious bid to become a rival landlord to the Inns, the bar's traditional home.
Against a backdrop of increasing frustration over the existing premises on offer from the Inns, LawLand Services is attempting to roll out its plan for modern, fully furnished and serviced accommodation to chambers.
The premises are promised with no capital overheads and extensive conferencing facilities, as well as several other benefits - but at a cost.
A set of chambers with 50 barristers and 12 staff would be charged an estimated £1,450,583 per annum, the equivalent of £23,396.50 per person per annum, or £29,011.66 per barrister. This is conditional on agreement of a 15-year term with a mutual break option at the end of the tenth year, plus VAT, with annual indexation fixed at 4 per cent.
The cost of premises within the Inns has been rising steadily, to as much as £60 per square foot, with traditional luxuries, such as the three-month break clause, being continually eroded, and as many as 50 sets have left.
However, question marks remain over whether the bar is ready, or can afford, the LawLand option.
LawLand hopes to have two buildings - likely to be in Furnival Street, Fleet Street or Chancery Lane - tenanted by nine or 10 sets in 12 months, although chairman Seymour Gorman told The Lawyer that a minimum of three committed sets would be required before the end of the year or the project could be shelved.