Magic circle set One Essex Court is to post a record £3m in earnings this month at one of the slowest times of the year.
Last year's decision to focus on commercial work and to internally restructure chambers clerking could result in the annual turnover of the chambers exceeding £35m if it continues to attract the same calibre of work. This figure would represent an increase of 45 per cent on last year's figure of £24m.
The chambers is believed to have made up a significant proportion of the £5m lost when a number of silks left last year (The Lawyer, 18 September 2000).
Shrubsall stepping down to take on the role of a traditional clerk and leaving the management to Robert Ralphs has renewed the clerking process. It is believed that Ralphs and Shrubsall sharing responsibilities was proving to be divisive and inefficient.
Four clerks managing senior silks instead of the three-strong groups devoted to other tenants is likely to have had the net effect of bringing in additional work for those lower down the ranks.
Stars like Lord Grabiner QC handled work worth around £1.9m last year. This year, though, on an average basis, each of the 54 tenants could bring in work exceeding the value of £55,000 a month, based on the above performance.
A senior legal source at a rival set was stunned. He says: “If the figures relate to receipts – as prepayments can often result in distortion – a work-done figure of £3m in January, bearing in mind that the legal term does not start until 11 January, means it is exceptional.”
One Essex Court confirmed that January's figure was in this region.