Sets see rise in turnover in wake of litigation upsurge

It has been a year of growth at the bar, with sets ramping up inward investment during the pick-up in litigation.

London set 39 Essex Street has reported a rise in turnover of 10.5 per cent – from £30.4m at the 2008-09 year-end to £33.6m for 2009-10 – with 70 per cent of its turnover generated by court work.

The set opened in Manchester in June last year in an effort to plug into the work pouring into the city’s Administrative Court.

Quadrant Chambers, which brought in new chief executive Tim Gerrard last June to help shake off its image as a ’wet set’, also saw turnover rise, with the figure increasing 11.2 per cent – from £21.9m to £24.35m.

Both sets have expanded chamber memberships in the past year, with 39 Essex Street increasing by four silks to 78, while Quadrant added six tenants, giving it a total of 49, with 12 silks.

Elsewhere, 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square has reported a 9.5 per cent hike in turnover to £16m – from £14.6m in 2008-09.

Hardwicke Buildings, which restructured in May 2009 after appointing Matrix practice director Amanda Illing as senior clerk, has seen income rise by a record 14 per cent – from £13.8m to £15.8m.

Hardwicke laid out ambitions last year to break into The Lawyer’s Top 20 sets by revenue by 2014. These latest figures mean it is likely to achieve that target this year.

Inner Temple set 11KBW has recorded flat revenues, which rose marginally by 2.5 per cent – from £16.3m to £16.7m.