ABA spurned in favour of provinces

A LEADING set of chambers has given up trying to get work from attendance and advertising at the American Bar Association (ABA) conference.

David Steel's chambers at 4 Essex Court, which gets 5 per cent of its work from the US, says it will spend money on promoting itself in the English provinces instead.

Head of administration Gordon Armstrong says: "We spent a lot on the ABA, but we have never got one piece of work as a result of going to it, or from advertising around it. The money is better spent elsewhere, in English provincial areas, where we can often take work from local chambers."

Armstrong adds the chambers do not feel threatened by the advance of US firms into London. "Financial services work is drying up, and anyway, I think the Americans are much more of a threat to the top City firms than they are to the bar," he says.

But barrister Charles Haddon-Cave will attend the International Bar Association Conference in October to speak on aviation law.

The conference is expected to attract many lawyers from the Pacific Rim and Asia, and 4 Essex Court gets around 15 per cent of its work from the Far East.