One Essex Court has concluded a season of successful events focusing on life and work as a woman at the Commercial Bar. On Tuesday 13 March 2018 over 60 students attended a panel discussion and drinks reception at the Inner Temple, London. Emma Himsworth QC, Nehali Shah and Patricia Burns each spoke about their path to the bar and gave the attendees a first-hand insight into their experiences of their professional lives. This was followed by a lively question and answer session, in which the panel answered a wide range of questions, including what they wished they had known earlier in their careers, whether quotas had a role to play in recruitment to the bar and the bench, and what their most interesting cases had been. Attendees then enjoyed a drinks reception with barristers, pupils and clerks from One Essex Court, taking the opportunity to follow up on the issues raised during the panel discussion and ask advice about applying to the bar.

The London event followed similar evenings in Oxford and Cambridge earlier this month. In addition, the panel presentation and question and answer session from London was live-streamed on the web, so that students from across the UK (and beyond) could watch and participate by submitting questions for the panel.

2018 marks the third year that One Essex Court has run events aiming to inform and encourage students to consider a career at the commercial bar. These were prompted by concerns over the ongoing gender disparity at the commercial bar and the limited number of female applicants for pupillage at commercial sets. We hope that by running these events, more women will consider what we think is a fulfilling, rewarding and female-friendly career.