Motherhood is no bar

Women make the cut in this year’s QC round

Contrary to popular perception, the bar is not such a bad place for mothers. Or so says Rebecca Sabben-Clare of 7KBW, one of 88 barristers to be made up in the latest silk round.

This round, she says, is the first time “a posse of mothers have been so successful”.

Certainly, the figures do not lie. Alongside Sabben-Clare, three of her peers – Samantha Leek of 5 Essex Court, Sara Masters of 20 Essex Street and One Essex Court’s Emma Himsworth – are all mothers and all made the cut this year.

“We were all the same year of call and we’ve all taken silk,” Sabben-Clare comments. “It sends a good message to women at university thinking about the bar.”

Although many would testify that flexible working should be no barrier to promotion, there are signs both in the UK and further afield that men still rule the roost.

A recent survey revealed that although around twice as many women than men have been called to the Paris bar in recent years, there has been little change in the proportion of women reaching the top ranks of the profession.

In this year’s silk round, of 214 barristers who applied for QC status 40 were women and 23 of these were successful.

While it may not be quite walking on the moon, if this year’s round convinces more women with children to put themselves forward for silk, it may be a considerable leap for womankind.