Students who want to find out about chambers and their occupants face an uphill task.
There are few points of research with only occasional articles in the legal press discussing various chambers and their occupants.
Waterlow's Directory of Solicitors and Barristers offers basic details about barristers, namely which chambers they are in. Havers' Companion to the Bar has more substantive information about each barrister including when they were called, education, important cases in which they acted, a list of the work they do and whether they accept direct professional access.
But for the student wanting to get a feel for the Bar, Chambers & Partners' Directory of The Legal Profession 1995-1996 is undoubtedly the best guide around.
One third of the 1,300 page tome is devoted to the Bar with specialist lists and profiles of leading barristers. The directory lists the leading sets in each specialism, top silks and juniors and those who are up and coming. For example, for insolvency, the directory says that 60 per cent of the work is undertaken by 3-4 South Square and Michael Crystal is named as the leading silk.
Chambers out of London are also mentioned. Peter Smith of 40 King Street, Manchester, is named as the leading silk in insolvency while Paul Chaisty of the same chambers is named as a leading junior.
The directory also gives a list of international connections. For example, 8 Kings Walk is connected with Anguilla, 199 Strand with Nepal and Doughty Street Chambers with Swaziland.
And for those with no idea of earnings, the directory gives an indication. Criminal barristers can expect to earn between £7,000 and £15,000 as pupils while commercial barristers can expect £10,000 to £20,000. Criminal Queen's Counsel can earn between £100,000 and £200,000 , commercial QCs earn an average of £200,000 to £500,000.
Commercial QCs charge £200 to £350 per hour while commercial barristers with 10 years call charge anything from £80 per hour to £200.