Goodnight, ladies…

Three female barristers quit 3 Serjeants’ Inn

Eyebrows raised at the Inns
Eyebrows raised at the Inns

The exit of three female barristers, including longstanding member Mary O’Rourke QC, from 3 Serjeants’ Inn has raised a few eyebrows at the Inns.

O’Rourke, who was called to the bar in 1981, leaves the set for Old Square Chambers, which is also bringing in Guildhall Chambers’ personal injury barrister Stephen Garner.

O’Rourke will take up dual tenancy at Manchester set Deans Court Chambers in a move designed to underscore her General Medical Council (GMC) practice. At Deans Court, O’Rourke will also head the set’s Manchester regulatory team.

The barrister said the move would allow her to develop a senior silk practice, while Old Square said the arrival of two new barristers would broaden its regulatory practice and add depth to its clinical negligence team.

Until the beginning January 2010 O’Rourke was one of two female silks practising at 3 Serjeants’ Inn alongside Nicola Davies QC, who left after being appointed to the High Court bench. Her departure left O’Rourke as the only female silk in chambers.

Her contemporary, clinical negligence barrister Fiona Neale, who was called in 1981, is also on the move, and will join rival set Hailsham Chambers in the coming weeks. Last month One Crown Office Row was joined by healthcare specialist Clodagh Bradley, who quit 3 Serjeants’ Inn after 16 years of practice.

Could it be the anti-Lynx effect at 3 Serjeants’ Inn?