Whether Heather Hallett QC will succeed in her bid to become the first-ever female leader of the Bar Council is yet to be decided.

However, it is a sign of the times that a woman has stood for the position two years in a row. While female barristers will still say that sexism is rife at the Bar, the appointment of a female leader can only send out the right signals to a side of the profession which has long stood in the dark as regards such issues. The lengthy deliberations in chambers over the Equality Code demonstrate that much work has still to be done in the whole area of equality.

The appointment of Hallett as Bar chair may do nothing to improve things on this score. Nonetheless, it would be a potent symbol that women can make it to the top of the profession and be recognised for it.