Chambers for sale

Chambers were discussing the recent report of the sale of two solicitors firms for large sums of money.

“It’s about time barristers started taking advantage of the new commercial environment offered by alternative business structures,” said the modernising QC Slick.

“What? You think we’re going to sell out to some international law firm for millions of pounds?” said OldSmoothie.

“Er, that would be the idea,” said Slick. This caused a moment’s silence as each person reflected on what they’d do with such a windfall.

“But it can’t be done,” said UpTights. “I mean, there’s nothing to sell in a chambers.” She paused before adding, “Surely?”

“No, that’s right,” said Slick. “Nothing except an income stream of tens of millions of pounds and a huge gross profit margin if we were within the usual corporate structure. I’m sure no-one in their right minds would want to buy into that.”

“But we’re self-employed,” said BusyBody. “We couldn’t survive as employees.”

“No, course you couldn’t,” said Slick. “So, let’s say our profit would be £15 million and they value the business at say £100 million. That’d give you and all the other current members of chambers a windfall of several million pounds each. I really don’t think you’d find it too hard to survive being, er, employed.”
“I see,” said TheBusker. “So it’d be a little like the windfall which went to the partners at Goldman Sachs?”

“Only on a much smaller scale,” said Slick. He now definitely had people’s interest.

“But what about that corporate structure you mention?” said TheCreep. “How do we tie it all up?”

“You sound like you’re already half way to the Caymans,” said TheVamp, patting him on the head.

“You really think that’d be a problem for the clever people at the commercial Bar?” said Slick. “As I say. Income stream. Profit. Valuation. It’s quite simple.”
“So what is there to lose?” asked HeadClerk.

“Maybe nothing for us,” said OldRuin. “But the independence of future generations of barristers would be sold down the Suwannee River for this one-off pot of gold.”

“But…” whined TheCreep. “We’d be rich beyond our wildest dreams.”
“That you would,” said OldRuin. “But at what cost?”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

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February 3, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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