Two move as poaching trend at the Bar hots up

TWO of London's leading commercial sets – Brick Court Chambers and One Hare Court – have poached leading tenants from each other as the latest round of the recruitment war gathers pace at the Bar.

The traffic of tenants between the two highly respected sets has seen Julian Malins QC move from Brick Court Chambers to One Hare Court, which is headed by Sir Patrick Neil QC and Richard Southwell QC, swiftly followed by One Hare Court high-flyer Dominic Chambers' decision to join Brick Court Chambers.

Ian Moyler, senior clerk at Brick Court Chambers, which is led by Christopher Clark QC, strenuously denied that the two sets were engaged in a tit-for-tat poaching war. He said Brick Court was looking to increase its number of experienced juniors practising in commercial law. And he did not rule out further forays to find more talent.

Malins, who is is vice-chair of the Bar Council's legal services committee and is standing for the vice-chairmanship of the Bar Council, was unavailable for comment on the reasons for his move.

However, Chambers stressed that his move was not connected with Malins' departure from Brick Court Chambers.

"It was a very difficult decision because I was very happy at Hare Court," he said. Highly rated as a banking and commercial lawyer, he added: "I was approached by Brick Court chambers otherwise I wouldn't have thought of moving."

He said he was attracted to the security and extra resources offered by the larger set.

There has been a notable upturn in the movement of barristers between chambers in recent months.

Chambers said it was becoming increasingly commonplace for barristers to switch sets, a practice which was frowned upon when he started at the Bar a decade ago.

Barristers who have moved between chambers in recent months have cited the chance to boost their practice and profile offered by better clerks or better chambers' management as the prime reasons for their decisions.