Quadrant aims for Asia and energy with joint senior clerk hire

Quadrant Chambers is moving further into the energy sector and the Far Eastern market on the back of the appointment of its first joint senior clerk last month.

Simon Slattery joined the set from Atkin Chambers on 9 September to take up the role with long- serving senior clerk Gary Ventura. Chief executive Tim Gerrard said the appointment was part of a new strategy to boost work in energy, commodities and the far east as well as embracing a more commercial attitude to fees.

Slattery and Ventura’s joint contact book will enable the chambers to move further into energy, commodities, banking and insolvency and insurance and it plans to expand its client base in Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Slattery is known to large local firms such as Korean firm Kim & Chang and brings with him considerable experience in offshore energy construction from his time at Atkin.

If you look at what’s happening in the shipping market and the new energy market and almost any of the markets we’re talking about, the Far East has a burgeoning importance,” said Gerrard.

We needed some more horsepower at the top end and Simon compliments the strategy perfectly from a practice area and geographic point of view.”

The chambers – which Gerrard said had boosted annual revenue to £32m last year from £19m in 2009 – has already attracted new clients as a result of the strategy, with Pinsent Masons and Jones Day both coming on board in recent months.

It has also attracted work in more areas from current renowned shipping clients Hill Dickinson and Clyde & Co.

The joint senior clerk role and strategy is part of a drive to embrace a more commercial and corporate element to the bar in response to client demand for more transparent fee structures and different attitudes from the bar. The chambers radically overhauled its approach to work in 2012 to move to a more sector-based approach (4 October 2012).

Ventura said: ”The joint senior clerk role is really due to the demands on our chambers from clients both domestically and internationally.” 

The new-look management team, triggered by the appointment of Gerrard four years ago (1 June 2009) and bolstered by Chris Gittins’ appointment as joint assistant senior clerk 18 months ago, helped the chambers “understand the needs of the marketplace” according to Ventura.

Slattery said “gone are the days of ivory towers” and “the days of the bar just working on brief fees and refreshers.”

We want to work with our clients for more transparency over fees in terms of hourly rates and perhaps looking at more global fees,” he added.

Even five years ago barristers were aloof, difficult, rude, expensive and being a client was not a particularly pleasant experience,” said Gerrard.

Chambers are increasingly looking to more commercial structures, with Slattery’s former chambers hiring its first chief executive last year (25 September 2012).