On Friday we reported that reality TV star Katie Hopkins had used the legal profession as an example of an area of life that is free from working class names. “Well the lawyers I work with, I can’t think of a single Charmaine, nor a Kylie,” said Hopkins on ITV’s This Morning, having revealed that she won’t let her kids play with children with names that she perceives as lower status.
In response to our story, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) disclosed that there are 48 Charmaines and 36 Kylies working in the law firms it regulates. But how many of these Charmaines and Kylies are practising lawyers? And what about prevalence of these names among legal executives and barristers?
After some further probing, this is what we found out.
Although there are 48 Charmaines and 36 Kylies working in the nation’s law firms, there are only 21 Charmaines* and 13 Kylies listed on the solicitors’ roll.
Among legal executives, there are also relatively few Charmaines and Kylies, with just three of the former and seven of the latter holding membership of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).
Meanwhile, according to the Bar Standards Board’s Barristers’ Register, there is only one Charmaine practising at the Bar (Westgate Chambers’ Charmaine Wilson) and not a single Kylie.
Hopkins may be a snobbish, publicity-seeking Hyacinth Bucket throwback, but on the issue of class and the legal profession she may just have a point.
*The 21 Charmaines on the solicitors’ roll include two who spelt their name “Charmain” and one “Chamaine”.