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Brick Court hires Wilberforce Chambers rising star Newton

Leading commercial set Brick Court Chambers has made a key hire with Wilberforce Chambers’ rising star Laura Newton.

Notably Newton was part of an eight-strong team, comprising silks Lexa Hilliard QC, Alan Gourgey QC and Marcia Shekerdemian QC and five juniors that departed the now-dissolved 11 Stone Buildings for Wilberforce last September.

Recommended by The Legal 500 as a leading junior for commercial chancery and civil fraud work, Newton is regularly instructed on high-value international disputes and arbitrations.

This year she was instructed as sole counsel on a High Court dispute involving allegations of fraudulent misappropriation, a case that led to a counterclaim valued at $100m. Newton has also led on certain aspects of a $4bn Kazakh mining dispute.

In 2011 Newton was seconded to Herbert Smith Freehills’ litigation division where she worked on a number of large-scale commercial disputes, including from the firm’s Tokyo office. In May 2014, she was selected to represent the English Commercial Bar as part of the Bar Council’s delegation to South Korea and was seconded to Yoon & Yang, a Korean law firm based in Seoul.

The move is indicative of how the commercial Bar has in recent years become an increasingly competitive environment with a premier league rank of sets – comprising Brick Court, Essex Court Chambers, Fountain Court Chambers, One Essex Court and Wilberforce Chambers – holding an iron grip on referrals networks from leading law firms and subsequently posing as highly attractive, coveted options for junior talent.

Having publicly advertised for junior barristers some weeks ago, it is understood Brick Court is expected to hire more junior barristers in the coming months.

Other recent set hires of late includes One Essex Court which brought over banking heavyweight Sonia Tolaney QC from 3 Verulam Buildings (3VB) in March, alongside juniors James MacDonald and Sandy Phipps, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer disputes veteran Ian Terry is also joining as a mediator. Fountain Court Chambers also bolstered its bench of finance silks after attracting banking star Richard Lissack QC from Outer Temple Chambers, Legal Business revealed in late April.

For more on the super sets at the Bar, see ‘Set in stone – testing time for mid-tier sets as elite London sets tighten their grip’