AWB aims for regional network

THIS YEAR will see the Association of Women Barristers spreading its wings outside London.

The association will be setting up regional groups run along the same lines as those of the Association of Women Solicitors, each with a separate chair and secretary.

“There is a growing interest in support and information networks for women barristers outside London,” said AWB chair Barbara Hewson.

Initial interest was shown by barrister Helen Fields from the Southampton circuit and has been followed by interest in the South East and Manchester.

Hewson said: “The regional circuits operate from a completely different perspective than the London Bar.

“Bar policies are generally centred around the London Bar which does not have much idea about what is happening in the circuits. We want to start to cater for women in the provinces and create a network for them to meet each other.”

The association's second challenge of 1996 is for women barristers to get a fair share of work from solicitors' firms, unions and in-house departments by updating counsel lists.

“This project is a general PR exercise for the Bar, which tends not to be very good at promoting itself. We will try to break down the mystique which surrounds the criteria of counsel appointments.”