Keating Chambers and Seven Bedford Row have reported record years, indicative of a strong financial performance at the top end of the bar.
Keating consolidated its reputation as a leader in construction, transport and energy litigation and arbitration, particularly in overseas disputes, with revenues of £17.5m, 17 per cent up on last year’s £14.9m.
Seven Bedford Row boosted gross turnover by 8 per cent to £14m, which represents an overall increase of almost 50 per cent in the past four years.
Fraud work, both civil and criminal, has been central to the set’s success in the past year. In October it formed an alliance with Jersey-based legal and professional services organisation Baker Platt Group to broaden its expertise in international money laundering, financial regulatory and compliance work. This type of work now accounts for around 8 per cent of turnover.
Healthy revenue hikes have also propelled two chambers into the top 30 sets in the UK when ranked by turnover.
According to The Bar Top 30 2003, part of The Lawyer 100, 8 New Square was ranked 30th by turnover, with revenues of £8m. The IP set saw turnover slightly dip this year.
The niche set’s performance has been eclipsed by both chancery set 24 Old Buildings, which saw revenues rise to £9.3m from £7.5m last year, and Outer Temple Chambers, previously 35 Essex Street, which has seen turnover increase by an impressive £3.5m to £10m.
24 Old Buildings attributes its strong performance to growth in offshore work, arbitration, and several profitable cases.
Outer Temple, meanwhile, has been on a hiring spree in recent months, taking on Robert Rhodes QC, the former head of 4 King’s Bench Walk, and Peter Ralls QC from Selborne Chambers.
Regional sets also report burgeoning turnovers. Exchange chambers in Liverpool grew by 9 per cent last year to £13.06m. Chambers director Tom Handley said: “Fee income is £1m ahead of target and our recruitment drive has attracted six high-calibre advocates.” Its Manchester annexe saw a 33 per cent turnover rise.
St Philips in Birmingham saw turnover grow to £18.3m from £17m in 2002-03.