Brick Court Chambers’ Sarah Ford is one of seven new star silks interviewed by The Lawyer this year.
Called to the Bar in 2002 Sarah Ford is the most junior female barrister to take silk this year. She joins a growing but still comparatively small number of female silks, and an even smaller number of women to attain the accolade of QC at 15 years’ call.
“I benefitted from the fact that chambers’ policy on maternity leave is so supportive of women coming back to work,” Ford says. “In my recollection Brick Court has never had a woman leave to have children and then not come back.”
Ford has three young children and says support from her colleagues and clerks, and also the flexibility afforded her by her practice area helped her reached her new, senior position.
“I have a relatively broad practice comprising EU and competition law as well as some public and commercial law,” she says, adding that her time has been increasingly occupied by high-value competition follow-on damages claims in recent years.
“The areas of law I practice complement each other nicely – one case could involve public law challenges in a commercial context or a piece of commercial litigation that raises EU points.”
On stepping up to silk, Ford says she expects a brief period of respite.
“The past few years have been the busiest of my career. Apparently, taking silk is an opportunity to step back a bit and take stock so I’m hoping it might be a bit less frantic in the short term.”
Ford’s application for QC was supported by two unled appearances in the Supreme Court in the Robertson v Swift consumer protection case for the Office of Fair Trading. She also appeared unled in the Court of Appeal on behalf of nine airlines acting as interested parties in the high-profile Air Cargo litigation.
“It’s a landmark moment when you appear alone but it’s a gradual progression,” she says. “You realise that without noticing the change you’ve got what is approaching a silk’s practice and you recognise that the nature of your practice is changing,” she says. “You think – I can do this. It’s kind of like a coming of age.”