Lawyers aren’t very happy with latest piece from the LinkedIn row barrister
The latest piece of journalism from sexism row barrister Charlotte Proudman has sparked a very negative, and very public, reaction from a number of high-profile lawyers.
Findlay Stark, a criminal law lecturer from the University of Cambridge, where Proudman is studying for her PhD, said that it was the same article “over and over again”, while a barrister described the piece as “terrible written advocacy”.
— Findlay Stark (@findlaystark) May 12, 2016
All law students should read this. A classic example of how not to argue. Terrible written advocacy: https://t.co/xn9NM56jYk
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) May 12, 2016
The criticism comes as junior barrister Proudman — who has suffered an extraordinary amount of abuse since she famously tweeted a senior lawyer’s sexist private LinkedIn message to her — resumes her career as a columnist with a piece in The Telegraph entitled ‘Sexism is rife in law – take it from me’.
In it, she claims that she is “all too familiar with the demeaning comments that can be made by male lawyers and judges to women”, and that sexism is “undoubtedly a contributing factor” to the high level of female barristers leaving the profession. Drawing on her personal experiences, she continues:
I have been referred to as a ‘young lady’ and a ‘good girl’ in front of clients, and other lawyers — to the point where one male senior law professional took it upon himself to ask me: ‘And where have you been young lady?’
This paragraph, in particular, drew intense criticism from the legal Twitterati. Anonymous practising barrister and blogger the Secret Barrister claimed it “reads like satire”, while solicitor-advocate Defence Girl said it made her laugh out loud.
Other digs include comments from criminal silk Mukul Chawla QC, who agreed the article is a “classic example of how not to argue”, and family barrister Alison Burge who said Proudman “could do with taking the SAT test on spelling, punctuation and grammar”.
I think both Ms Proudman and the Editor could do with taking the SAT test on spelling, punctuation and grammar…..
— Alison Burge (@AlisonJBurge) May 12, 2016
In defence of the article — which may have been written quickly to meet news deadlines — family law barrister Zoe Saunders has agreed with Proudman that sexism is still a real issue at the bar. She added:
There are still real issues with men / women being specifically requested for cases.