The Head of Chambers sponsored female members of chambers to take part in the Women’s Forum. We were delighted to attend the Temple Women’s Forum Garden Party last week. This annual event was kindly ran by the Temple Women’s Forum, an organisation set up in 2012 with the view to supporting and encouraging women practitioners and judges throughout their careers at the Bar or in the Judiciary. The event, however, was not just about the Bar. It was a celebration of women in all areas of the legal profession, including barristers, solicitors, in-house lawyers, judges, legal academics and students, proving a wonderful opportunity for networking across these different areas. Attendees enjoyed music, canapés and speeches from The Right Honourable Lady Justice Macur DBE, Her Honour Judge Deborah Taylor and Rachel Langdale QC.
Chambers used this opportunity to allow members from all different stages of their career to attend and network with other legal professionals. We had a wide cross-section of members in attendance, including interns, former interns, pupils and those in their second six. They have recounted their experiences below.
Katie Hand, former legal work experience:
“I was invited to attend the garden party after completing a work experience placement in the previous month, and the event gave me the chance to see various members of Chambers again, whilst talking to others in different professions of law and stages of training. The evening was both incredibly enjoyable and useful, as I received much advice with regards to pursuing a career in law. The event was fantastic and I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended.”
Dinuka Kottegoda, foreign qualified lawyer:
“The Temple Women’s Forum Cross-Profession Networking Garden Party provided a great platform to meet and network with other legal professionals. The most unique feature being that it was not limited to barristers. It was an open forum Solicitors, legal administrators, students and foreign qualified lawyers could meet and mingle. I was grateful, that, as a foreign lawyer, I was given the opportunity to be a part such an event. It was directly designed to help support women in the legal field by networking and sharing experiences. I met Christine Kings, Director of Outer Temple Chambers, whom I have thereafter kept in touch with via LinkedIn. I also met another foreign qualified lawyer whose sister I was able to help with the QLTS. Learning from and helping others in this way was the purpose of the event and in my experience, I believe it was achieved and a success.”
Mina Heung, foreign qualified barrieter, second six pupil:
“I really enjoyed the Temple Women’s Forum Cross-Profession Networking Garden Party and thought that it was a great way to meet new people. Everyone was very friendly and willing to offer advice and interesting stories about their experience in the legal profession. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to meet so male female practitioners in one place. I am grateful for the experience and look forward to next year!”
Claire Watt, legal intern:
“This was a great insight into what life at the Bar will be like. I was able to meet lots of other female legal professionals and ask questions about the Bar that I wouldn’t normally be able to do in an interview environment. It was reassuring to see so many women who have made successful careers in law and I have been inspired by their ambition. It was also interesting to meet the very supportive Andrew Langdon QC, who took the time to ask me about my legal studies so far.”
Amrit Dhanoa, first six pupil:
“Attending the networking event was particularly enjoyable as it provided an opportunity for women and men across the legal profession to interact and share their experiences. As a first-six pupil, it was a worthwhile opportunity to speak to a number of different individuals within the profession and hear about their experiences of entering and working in the legal sphere. As somebody just starting out their career at the Bar, it was comforting to see the supportive and collegiate atmosphere that exists.
It was encouraging to see so many women attend and as The Rt Hon Lady Justice Macur DBE said in her welcome address, the glass ceiling that once existed as women tried to work their way up the profession, balancing the joint challenges of career development and raising their families, has now been shattered and women have rightly earned their place at the top of the legal profession.”