Judgement for the juniors

Matheu Swallow finds that reliability is one of the key attributes that many solicitors look for in the juniors they instruct

While solicitors are happy with the quality of silks, there is less enthusiasm for the strength and quality of criminal juniors. Solicitors are looking for dependability and reliability from juniors.

Top of the pile is Vera Baird from 14 Tooks Court, the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, who “in some cases is better than a QC”. She is praised as an “exceptional advocate” and is expected to take silk in the very near future.

There are others who come highly rated including Benedict Emmerson who is “right at the top” and James Wood who is “unbelievably fast on his feet, ploughs through work and ploughs through pleadings”. Both are at Doughty Street Chambers. Also at those chambers is Edward Rees, who “should have been made a silk long ago” and has finally done so on on this year's list, though solicitors were contacted before it was published. The “clever” Tim Owen is also mentioned and “a very good lawyer” also described as “just brilliant” is Andrew Hall, an ex-solicitor.

At 3 Gray's Inn Square, Paul Keleher earns praise for his “peculiar genius” and for being “phenomenally tactical”, while Michael Bowes of 2 King's Bench Walk is “one of the best juniors [I've] ever come across”.

David Williams at 18 Red Lion Court is “very reliable, dependable, has a good feel for a case, not put off by problems, is able to deal with them and can fight through”.

Other highly-respected individuals are Campaspe Lloyd-Jacob of 3 Raymond Buildings, Anthony Jennings of Two Garden Court, Michael Borrelli of 1 Middle Temple Lane and Michael Boardman of 6 Gray's Inn Square.

At 10 King's Bench Walk (chambers of Ronald Thwaites QC) Michael Wolkind is praised, as is Trevor Burke, although he is expected to take silk in the next couple of years. Another “very good advocate” is Barry Gilbert “a Liverpudlian, fluent arabic speaker who is very tenacious and has performed particularly well”.

A leading junior at 1 Crown Office Row (chambers of Richard Ferguson QC) is Oscar Del Fabbro, with Henry Grunwald also rated at these chambers. At Two Dr Johnson's Buildings, Mark Tomassi received strong praise as did both Aftab Jafferjee and Patrick Gibbs of 2 Harcourt Buildings (chambers of Nigel Mylne QC) and Robert Banks at 132 Great Portland Street who, having abandoned traditional chambers, is doing very well “flying solo”.

Francis Sheridan of Furnival Chambers and Adrian Eissa of Two Garden Court are praised for their informal service, with other rated individuals being George Carter- Stephenson and Philip Statman of 3 Gray's Inn Square, Mike Baker of 4 Brick Court.

At Hollis Whiteman's Chambers Gareth Rees, John Kelsey-Fry, William Boyce and Linda Strudwick also win plaudits.

Two chambers rated for having strength in depth are 6 King's Bench Walk and 1 Hare Court. At the former, David Perry earned most mentions, but Nigel Sweeney and Mark Dennis came in close behind. At the latter the names of Andrew Radcliffe, Martin Hicks, Andrew Colman, Jonathan Laidlaw, James Dawson, Sallie Bennett-Jenkins and Michael Holland were mentioned as all deserving of praise.

Also strong is 3 Hare Court and particularly rated are Mark Milliken-Smith, Philip Hackett for City fraud, although he is also very able at straightforward criminal, and James Sturman who is expected to take silk in the next couple of years.

Singled out for praise by a fellow practitioner and therefore earning a mention among the barristers is Mrs Gareth Peirce, a solicitor-advocate at BM Birnberg & Co solicitors.

Barristers on barristers

These are the names that colleagues at the Criminal Bar praise:

1 Anthony Arlidge QC of 18 Red LIon Court

2 Stephen Batten QC of 3 Raymond Buildings

3 David Evans QC of Queen Elizabeth Building

4 Peter Carter QC 18 Red Lion Court

5 Edward Rees (1998 silk) of Doughty Street

6 Courtenay Griffiths (1998 silk) of 2 Garden Court

7 Timothy Owen of Doughty Street

8 Benedict Emmerson of Doughty Street