Tuesday evening last week saw the official reception of Laura Cox QC as head of Cloisters chambers.
Cox is the first woman to head a set of chambers covering both civil and criminal work and one of only a handful of women to head sets of chambers in the country.
Others include Anne Rafferty QC, head of specialist criminal set 4 Brick Court, joint head of chambers at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square Elizabeth Appleby QC and Patricia Scotland QC who heads 1 Gray's Inn Square.
Cox's appointment, effective from the beginning of the year, has been welcomed by the profession, including Bar chair David Penry-Davey QC.
Barbara Hewson, chair of the Association of Women Barristers, also welcomed Cox's appointment.
“It is very encouraging to see Laura reach the position of head of chambers. Her appointment is a refreshing change from the stereotypes we are used to at the Bar,” she said.
Commenting after the controversial speech by Law Society president Martin Mears to the recent Woman Lawyers II conference, Hewson added: “Laura provides a wonderful and positive role model for women in the profession and demonstrates how, contrary to recently expressed opinion, women can and do successfully manage both a family and a successful legal career.”
Mears clashed with fellow speaker Penry-Davey and encountered silence from an audience of 300 women solicitors and barristers at the conference when he suggested that the “discrimination industry” was exaggerating problems facing the advancement of women in the legal profession.
Cox said: “My appointment is very much part of the progressive nature of this particular set of chambers. It is our intention to continue our growth as a large mixed civil and criminal set to enable us to consolidate our expertise.”