St Philip’s slashes property overheads

Birmingham’s St Philip’s Chambers claims it will save 30 per cent in overheads over five years through its innovative “partnership” structure established earlier this year.

In May, the 94-tenant chambers created a limited company to buy its own £3.3m building (The Lawyer, 15 May). The tenants will be moving to the new building on 2 January.

St Philip’s chief executive Vincent Denham, who is joining London firm Radcliffes, revealed that rent would have increased by 6 per cent year on year at the old building.

He says: “Back in October last year, we realised that there was no additional cost in purchasing the building. The net difference of moving from the old building to the former Bank of England in Birmingham has been zero.”

The set has also introduced a flexible scheme allowing civil and criminal practitioners to reduce their costs. Bristol-based St John’s Chambers recently introduced a similar scheme for its criminal practitioners (The Lawyer, 20 November). But it is believed that St Philip’s preferred not to separate the different practice areas.

Denham says: “The civil, criminal and family practice areas have separate clerking rather than separate infrastructures.”

Barristers will have an option to choose four types of accommodation at the new building including hot-desking, use of dedicated desks in an open plan office, shared or individual rooms.

Denham says: “We will also be introducing a menu-type approach to costing. This will be flexible in terms of individual practices and will be the first step towards a chambers allowing barristers to structure their own overheads.”