Liverpool and Manchester set Exchange Chambers has become the first barristers’ chambers to report its 2004-05 income.
The set saw turnover rise by £1m from last year’s £13.1m, announcing income of £14.1m for the last financial year. This is despite cuts in criminal fees across the courts system, with crime accounting for a third of Exchange’s income.
The strong performance means that Exchange is planning on reducing its members’ contributions for the next 12 months, which is a rare move for any chambers to make.
Currently, tenants contribute an average of 12.1 per cent of their income in rent and fees. This will drop by 0.5 per cent to 11.6 per cent in 2005-06. Contributions at Exchange are calculated according to the particular barrister’s seniority.
Chambers director Tom Handley said: “We’ve concentrated on the type of work we do and we’re probably doing better-quality work. People are getting very busy and working very hard.”
The news coincided with the set’s announcement that it has hired three more junior tenants, bringing the total number of members to 82, including 12 silks.
Mark Ainsworth, Louise Whaites and Nick Walker, all criminal specialists, joined Exchange from Manchester sets Peel Court Chambers and Queens Chambers, and Preston set Nicholas Street Chambers, respectively.