Charlotte Proudman: Solicitor asked me for bikini photo in exchange for work experience
LinkedIn sexism row barrister also says her leg was inappropriately “rubbed” during mini-pupillage
Charlotte Proudman has revealed two shocking prior incidents that contributed to her decision to tweet a “sexist” LinkedIn message from a law firm partner.
Appearing on Channel 4 News last night, Proudman — who has become a household name since her explosive tweet of a screenshot of Alexander Carter-Silk’s message last week — told an incredible story about a solicitor who asked her for a bikini photo in exchange for work experience. She recounted:
When I was at university I sought legal experience in a solicitors’ firm, and I was asked by this solicitor to send in a bikini shot of myself before the solicitor would even consider giving me experience. When I asked whether that was a joke, it was laughed off and said ‘who knows?’.
Proudman, whose undergraduate degree is from Keele University in Staffordshire, went on to tell another story about a barrister who felt up her leg during a mini-pupillage. She recalled:
The second instance of sexism in my experience, again when I was between the age of 18 and 19, was with a barrister in a taxi on the way to court — again, another form of work experience. And the barrister in the taxi put his hand on my leg and began to rub it up and down.
Given the Mansfield Chambers junior’s willingness to out Carter-Silk, the lawyers she referenced must be feeling rather uneasy right now…
Since those incidents Proudman said she has “continued to face sexism, but thankfully nothing physical”.
During the interview, the family law barrister, who is currently working on a PhD in political sociology at Cambridge University, also demanded that Carter-Silk, the head of European IP at Brown Rudnick, issue a further, more substantive apology for his LinkedIn message (which, in case you had forgotten, complimented Proudman on her “stunning” profile photo). This is what she said:
The apology I received was an apology for the offense that I had taken, there was no apology for the message itself and no acknowledgment that the message that was sent to me was sexist and highly inappropriate in a professional context.
In response to this, Brown Rudnick has issued a further statement on the matter:
My Carter-Silk and the firm have promptly and sincerely apologised to Ms Proudman. We have also assured Ms Proudman that we are committed to gender equality and do not condone any words or actions that depart from that principle.