Ralphs is rated as one of the most accomplished clerks at the bar. Although, at 60, he is one of the oldest, he must take some credit for the growth and success of One Essex Court. Ralphs has been a clerk since he was 15, 45 years ago. He tried to quit in 1973 when he left for a new life in Cyprus. Unfortunately there was a coup in 1974, and he was forced back to England. The first job that came along was at One Essex Court, which then had only one QC and 12 juniors - even if Tony Grabiner was among them. Shrubsall also started young, at 17, working his way around several chambers before joining One Essex Court in 1990. He chaired the Institute of Barristers' Clerks in 1994 and has since been awarded an MBE. Unusually, both are paid in the traditional manner on a pure percentage basis, but are still not the top-earning clerks at the bar.