Common law set 2 Mitre Court Buildings has taken the unique step of employing a recruitment consultancy to find a silk to head its chambers.

In a move labelled as “unprecedented” by legal recruitment firms, 2 Mitre Court is looking for a replacement for barrister Michael Pearson, who is retiring as head of chambers but will stay with the set.

The set has hired recruitment consultancy Chambers Professional Recruitment to place the advertisement anonymously in the business law monthly Commercial Lawyer.

Although it would not comment on the reasons for the move, it is understood barristers at the set believed its increasing workload meant there was a need for a silk at its head to help the chambers grow further. A recruitment company was seen as the most professional way to achieve that aim.

The advert described the chambers as a growing criminal practice which is financially sound and run by a clerk with more than 30-years experience. The ideal candidate for the set “will be an ambitious, energetic silk able to lead in heavy criminal work,” it said.

The move to bring in a recruitment consultancy has caught the Bar by surprise, although sets have occasionally advertised for heads of chambers before in their in-house magazine Bar News.

Nigel Pascoe QC, chair of the Bar's public affairs committee, said the arrival of legal recruitment consultancy into the Inns reflected the Bar's more modern approach to management.