Silk purse

It’s silks day. Clad in brand-new robes and wigs, shoes shined and proud family, friends and colleagues in attendance, 83 barristers and one solicitor-advocate headed to the House of Lords today to be formally appointed as QCs.

The group, the smallest cohort of new QCs since the appointment process was revamped in 2006, have gone through an extensive and exhausting process to make the grade. As our special report this week reveals, applying is not always an obvious choice – and it costs. Our estimate is that each new silk will have forked out at least £15,000 once today’s ceremony and party is done – those splashing out with particularly expensive parties and limos will have got through nearly £20,000, once application and success fees, consultants’ fees and clothing costs are all taken into account.

So is it worth it? Well, silks do think so. 11KBW’s Sean Jones QC says his caseload has become more complex and volatile, while Fountain Court’s Derrick Dale QC says new skill-sets are tested.

Today’s new silks have all this to look forward to. But first, it’s a day for real celebration. While debate still rages over whether the kitemark is outdated, becoming a QC is genuinely something to be proud of.

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