Lincoln's Inn is attracting back leading chambers after completing a 10-year renovation and restructuring programme.
“We have a waiting list as long as your arm,” says Morgan Lear, estates manager to Lincoln's Inn.
Lear says that 10 years ago, many sets became dissatisfied with the high rents charged by the Inns, and sought commercial leases elsewhere.
Commercial rents have since rocketed and some of those sets are now seeking to return to the Inns.
Rents within the Inns are still high but they are now more in line with the competition and tenants are not faced with the added burden of
high service charges and dilapidations.
The Inns are now competing against each other to secure the tenancies of the most successful chambers.
The Inns recently attracted 2 Crown Office Row, the chambers of John Powell QC, which is moving into 4/5 New Square in September.
Nine major sets of chambers and two firms of solicitors, all tenants of Lincoln's Inn, will soon be housed in single accommodation, where previously all had a proliferation of annexes.
The Inns have created over 20,000 square feet of new accommodation by converting wine cellars and loft space as well as building two completely new buildings.
“Eighty per cent of the accommodation has now been modernised,” says Lear.
Lincoln's Inn is in the peculiar position of not being able to expand into neighbouring areas, as has been the policy of Inner and Middle Temple, because it is hemmed in by major roads on all sides. Therefore its only option is to continue with internal re-development.
A new five-year project has been undertaken to convert the wine cellars and loft space of Michael Beckman QC's 11 Stone Buildings into conference suites and practitioners rooms.
“It has been our policy for 10 years to rationalise accommodation to get rid of a proliferation of annexes and in that sense it's an ongoing operation,” says Lear.