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Future not so silky smooth for female barristers

Future not so silky smooth for female barristers

BAD NEWS for the fairer sex, with new evidence that female barristers aren’t getting as much work as their male counterparts.Just three women from a group of 17 barristers were appointed to the…

BAD NEWS for the fairer sex, with new evidence that female barristers aren’t getting as much work as their male counterparts.

Just three women from a group of 17 barristers were appointed to the role of senior counsel (SC) by the New South Wales Bar Association last week.

Announced by president Michael Slattery QC, the three include Katrina Howard, Elizabeth Wilkins and Leonie Flannery.

A search of the Bar Association’s queens counsel (QC) and SC register returned 250 men, whereas only 19 women were listed. This meant that just 7.1 per cent of QCs or SCs are female, with the percentage of females in the latest appointments by Slattery sitting at 17.6.

Senior counsel appointments allow for the public identification of barristers whose standing and competence justify an expectation, from both clients and the judiciary, that they will provide outstanding service as advocates and advisers, according to the Bar Association.

Every year in July, aspiring barristers apply to the president of the Bar Association for consideration. The Selection Committee then considers their applications, taking into account the views of barristers, solicitors and members of the state and federal judiciary.

Joining the women as new SCs are Michael King, Andrew Lidden, Christopher Simpson, David Dalton, Ian Neil, Geoffrey Bellew, Gregory Nell, Robert Beech-Jones, Adrian Galasso, Nye Perram, Roger Hamilton, Andrew Bell, Richard McHugh and Mark Leeming.

Wilkins, who began practising at the NSW Bar on 6 November 1987, was appointed crown prosecutor in 1999. Her main areas of practice are criminal law and appellate cases. From 1994 to 1999, Wilkins acted as part-time president of the Commonwealth Medical Services Review Tribunal.

Beginning at the NSW Bar on 3 August 1990, Flannery was appointed as a public defender in 1996, with a focus on criminal law.

Howard began practising at the NSW Bar on 4 February 1993, specialising in intellectual property law, and more specifically, in the areas of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology patents.

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