Senior London barrister Lord Grabiner QC is believed to be set to earn £3m in 2004, charging as much as £3,000 an hour – up three fold over his last year rake-in. But wait, he is charging even more for some clients.

One Essex Court head Lord Grabiner QC is set to earn £3 million while his arch rival, Essex Court Chambers Gordon Pollock QC, is tied up in the ongoing BCCI trial.

Pollock, who is devoted to representing BCCI’s liquidators against the Bank of England until at least 2005, has commanded a £3m brief fee, putting him and Grabiner into an exclusive £3m a year club.

With Pollock unavailable, Grabiner has taken advantage and is now charging as much as £3,000 an hour, according to senior solicitors who instruct him. This is a huge hike on his £1,000 per hour rate, revealed by The Lawyer last year.

One senior litigator at a top 10 firm said: I now tell my clients Grabiner costs £3,000 an hour. That’s usually what it works out at.

One senior lawyer at a magic circle firm told The Lawyer that he recently paid Grabiner £10,000 for a one-hour meeting on behalf of a client. Another litigator told of paying Grabiner £60,000 for a day’s trial, including the silk’s brief fee.

The Lawyer has also identified a small clutch of silks set to earn £2m this year.

One Essex’s Elizabeth Gloster QC is set to rake in £2m this year, as is 3/4 South Square’s insolvency star Michael Crystal QC, Brick Court Chambers’ Jonathan Sumption QC and Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers’ David Goldberg QC, who is believed to be the highest paid member of the specialist tax bar.

The multimillionaires’ club
£3m a year
Lord Grabiner QC One Essex Court (£3,000 an hour)
Gordon Pollock QC Essex Court Chambers (£1,000+ an hour)

£2m a year
Michael Crystal QC 3/4 South Square (£800-£1,000 an hour)
Elizabeth Gloster QC One Essex Court (£800-£1,000 an hour)
David Goldberg QC Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers (£1,000+ an hour)
Jonathan Sumption QC Brick Court Chambers (£1,000+ an hour)

Close behind
Iain Milligan QC 20 Essex Street (£850 an hour)
David Pannick QC Blackstone Chambers (£500-£1,500 an hour)

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