Law Society wants more women to apply for QC

by Sol Dolor10 Mar 2017
The New Zealand Law Society is urging qualified women barristers to apply for Queen’s Counsel appointment.

“We know that fewer women than men apply for appointment as Queen’s Counsel. Last year, just 23% of the applicants were women, and that proportion has been relatively constant over the last three years,” said Kathryn Beck, the Law Society’s president.

The ratio is despite women accounting for 28% of all barristers. Among Queen’s Counsel, just 18% are women.

“There are many outstanding women lawyers who are leaders of the profession but who have not taken the traditional career route to that rank,” Beck said.

According to Beck, there are many reasons women are underrepresented among Queen’s Counsel.

“Candidates can no longer be drawn from law firms. The actual application process can be daunting. Women often miss out on opportunities to gain experience in litigation. Moves towards equitable briefing policies are something we need to promote,” she said.

Applications for the appointment opened last month, and the Solicitor-General will not accept entries after 27 March.

“I would encourage all women who are experienced barristers who meet the excellence criteria to actively consider applying to become a Queen’s Counsel. I would also like to see others encourage them to take that step,” Beck said.

“The theme of International Women's Day on 8 March was 'be bold for change'. I hope we will see that manifested in applications this year. There are still just under three weeks to go until the chance will be gone for another year.”

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