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TWO Lincoln's Inn chambers - Wilberforce Chambers and Charles Sparrow QC's Thirteen Old Square - have successfully poached a total of seven tenants including one QC from rival chambers.
The two sets' recruitment drive follows a similar excercise recently conducted by Michael Lyndon-Stanford QC's chambers, also at 13 Old Square, which snapped up six barristers in September.
All three chambers, which recruited staff through advertisements placed at around the same time, say they are poised to take on further tenants.
Their actions come amid reports that some sets are struggling to hold on to their tenants in the face of growing competition. However, Wilberforce Chambers, a commercial chancery set, recruited Ian Croxford QC, Tom Lowe and Joanna Smith from Anthony Scrivener's large and highly-respected common law chambers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square.
Croxford said that he joined Wilberforce Chambers because he shared its vision for the future. "What is paramount in the increasingly competitive market of today is the quality of legal services provided by a chambers at all levels," he said.
Wilberforce Chambers spokesman Terence Etherton QC said the set, which also recruited Joanna Wicks from 17 Old Buildings, was looking to provide depth in all areas.
Terry Buck, senior clerk at Sparrow's chambers, said the recruitment battle at the Bar was set to snowball.
His set has recruited senior juniors Kathryn Purkis from 11 Old Square, Jill Johnston from 11 Stone Buildings and Phillip Hoser from 1 New Square.
Perhaps more worrying for other sets is that all three Lincoln's Inn chambers confirm they had "dozens" of applicants replying to their ads confirming an increasing willingness on the part of barristers to switch sets.