Barristers jumping ship into private practice…

In The Lawyer this week an article really caught my eye.  It said that a significant number of barristers had “jumped ship” and gone into private practice, and they expected more to follow suit.

The Lawyer noted how times have changed, and quite drastically.  Over a decade ago, it would have been unheard of for a silk to leave his or her chambers for the “corporate reality of private practice” but unfortunately those times are long gone and it would appear that working in private practice ensures some form of financial stability.

Last week Herbert Smith Freehills expanded their advocacy unit when they hired Tom Leech QC, formerly of Maitland Chambers.  Back in 2005, Herbert Smith Freehills hired Murray Rosen QC of 11 Stone Buildings, and Ian Gatt QC of Littleton Chambers to launch their advocacy unit.  Times have changed and they have notes that the path between the bar and private practice has widened considerably since they formed the unit nearly 10 years ago. 

Below is a list of other firms who have recruited barristers, and it would appear US firms based in London are keen to have advocate partners:-

– Farrer and Co, hired Jeremy Posnansky QC back in 2007 (formerly of 1 Hare Court) – he was instructed in the highest profile divorce case of 2013.  He acted for Yasmin Prest, in her divorce against her husband Michael, which went all the way to the Supreme Court.

– In 2008, the former Lord Chancellor, Charles Falconer QC, joined Gibson Dunn.

– Sue Prevezer QC joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in 2008, after previously being at Binghams and also a member of Essex Court Chambers.

– James Corbett QC (formerly of Serle Court) was hired as a Partner at Kobre and Kim.  Kobre and Kim then also employed Jalil Asif QC (of 4 New Square) and Andrew Stafford QC (from Littleton Chambers)

– Hage Aaronson was established with the principal aim of lawyers and silks working together from the outset, harmoniously – and they wanted to be the first firm to provide this.

So even though this is by no means the norm, the rate at which barristers are jumping ship is gaining pace – and something we will no doubt see more of in the future.

As someone that is an aspiring barrister, I am keen to follow this story and see where it goes and whether or not more up to date figures will be released on the numbers that have moved across!

rebecca x


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