Exchange Chambers finds crime still pays

North West set Exchange Chambers has posted a record turnover of £17.9m for the 2007-08 financial year, with crime still contributing the most to total revenue.

Revenue for the set is up by 9.8 per cent on last year’s figure of £16.3m, with the average revenue per barrister rising by £5,000, from £172,000 to £177,000.

Tom Handley, Exchange director, said the set was pleased with these figures considering the downward pressure on the fees paid to barristers for publicly funded work.

“The last couple of years we budgeted a 20 per cent drop in crime due to the downward pressure on publicly funded work, but amazingly crime continues to account for 40 per cent of revenue,” said Handley. “We’re still budgeting for a drop in criminal revenues due to the decrease in Government fees and the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] and solicitors doing more themselves. Touch wood, our large crime practice will continue to be strong.”

Personal injury was the set’s second-largest growth area with 27 per cent of the revenue, while commercial contributed 25 per cent.

Head of chambers Bill Braithwaite QC added that it is now time for Exchange to capitalise on its financial performance. ;”As ;the market evolves we must lead change, not react to it,” he said. “There’s a massive window of opportunity for chambers moving forward.”

Recent expansion at the set has seen it break through the 100-barrister mark (The Lawyer, 10 March). Barristers David Casement and Brian Cummings have also been made up to silk, giving the set 15 silks in total.