“Over my dead body”

Published 23rd August 2017

When in 1966 I became head of my Chambers, I resolved to make it entirely non-discriminatory. Indeed my Chambers was known scornfully as the “United Nations”. But we had no women members. Our Clerk, whose views were even then utterly old-fashioned, declared “A woman comes into these Chambers over my dead body!”. After 5 years he was reluctantly retired. Not long after that we had our first female applicant for pupillage. When she attended for interview, the whole of Chambers attended. It was a hot day, so we sent out for ice creams. The applicant had the by no means easy task of answering our questions whilst manipulating her ice cream. Needless to say, she passed with flying colours. She was the first of many women members.

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