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QC appointments among ethnic minority lawyers hit record high

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Over half of BME applicants successful this year

One hundred and nineteen barristers have been named as new QCs today, as the latest round of appointments marks a small but positive step for diversity at the bar.

This year, 18 black and minority ethnic (BME) lawyers have been awarded silk, the highest number ever. Given that 33 BME lawyers applied for the title, this means 55% received the nod. This is a notable improvement on the past two years’ success rates of 43% and 28%, though do note that in 2010 the stat was 60%.

The ethnic diversity of the bar’s upper echelons has been a cause for concern this year. Earlier this summer, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) released stats that showed just 6% of silks are from BME backgrounds. The report goes on to suggest that “this indicates an issue in relation to the progression of BME practitioners”.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

Gender diversity has been an issue too, so spectators will likely be pleased to find out that success rates were also up among 2017 female applicants. From 50 QC hopefuls, 32 were ultimately successful (64%), trumping 2016’s rate of 55% and 2015’s 52%. But men still continue to dominate. Of the 119 new silks unveiled today, 87 are men (73%), matching last year’s result and representing a slight decrease on 2015 (77%).

Interestingly, the total percentage of applications given the thumbs up by the Queen’s Counsel Appointments’ commission was down this year. Roughly 44% of applicants were successful, down half a percentage point on last year’s stat.

Aside from the emotional disappointment of not being successful, it’s not cheap to apply either. For the 2017 competition aspiring silks had to fork out £1,800, plus value added tax (VAT), to be considered. And if you’re successful? That will cost you a further £3,000, plus VAT.

A big congratulations to all those who have made QC.

Read the full list of appointees here:

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64 Comments

Old Baley's Courtroom 2 Rat

Finally, some of them will get paid. Merry Christmas everyone.

Anonymous

A ludicrous and outdated system long past it’s sell by date. Why in an age of equality do ostensibly rational, intelligent and educated people still want to have a badge of royal patronage?

Anonymous

Because said badge lets you charge more?

One of my previous employers instructed a land law QC who billed over a grand an hour. And that was just for the consultation. If you got it, flaunt (bill?) it.

Anonymous

Well that doesn’t speak of integrity … if people are sucking up just to increase their wealth exploiting the misery of others.

Anonymous

From the look of this list, and knowing many of them personally, it would seem that there is a political agenda to dilute the quality of the QC brand or many it was just a very inferior cohort this year.

Anonymous

“maybe”

Anonymous

QCs are just better liars and dishonest deceivers than other barristers. Oh and more expert arse kissers/lickers.

Anonymous

The Bar is all bollocks, end of story.

Rat catcher

“Old Baley’s“

Anonymous

Massive achievement for all of them. Congratulations.

Anonymous

Jealous ones be jealousers

Anonymous

Point proven

Anonymous

How many are masons?

Anonymous

73% at the most.

Anonymous

Beautiful.

Anonymous

So….

44% of all applicants were successful, yet:

55% of BME applicants were successful; and
64% of female applicants were successful.

So BME and female candidates appear to be over-represented in this year’s QC appointments’ list.

I look forward to seeing Legal Cheek’s analysis as to how we can cure the under-representation of white men, in future years.

BAME barrister

There’s no such thing as “over representation of women and BME” because historically they have been marginalised or excluded altogether.

Whitey posh men are still the most powerful group in most sectors.

#checkyourprivilege

Anonymous

With all due respect, Sir/Madam/Other,

You can take your privilege checks and shove them up your safe space.

BAME barrister

Spoken like a true white, middle class privately-educated male.

Trumpenkrieg

Spoken like an embittered chode with a persecution complex.

Anonymous

You assume my gender/race/class when you know nothing about me.

Yet I’m the bigoted one?

Ok then…

BAME Barrister

Am I wrong, though?

If not, my point stands.

Anonymous

Keep digging. That hole won’t dig itself!

Anonymous

White imperialist

Anonymous

Do Jews count as an ethnic minority?

Anonymous

In America, yes.

In UK, no they’re white.

Same for Hispanics.

Also in US “Asian” means “Oriental” rather than “South Asian” as in UK.

Anonymous

One of my friends works for a blue blooded landed gentry type firm, he says a lot of the aristocracy/gentry types still refuse to instruct Jewish counsel on their private client type matters.

Anonymous

I’m not anti Semitic but Jews are not white, they are a separate and distinct race with their own traditions and cultural influences which are vastly different from those of white British people. They cannot be considered white, given their own traditions forbidding marriage and procreation with white people.

Anonymous

Many in the Jewish community consider being equated as “white” people in itself a form of anti semitism.

Anonymous

You wouldn’t call an Arab white, so why are Jewish people white when they are of middle-Eastern origin? I can see why many Jewish people would consider being called white as anti-Semitic and another form of ethnic cleansing.

Anonymous

Are you taking within or outside the Labour Party?

Anonymous

The Jewish community is hardly underrepresented at the Bar (at either Junior or QC level) or in the judiciary. It cannot be equated with BAME.

Anonymous

I remember being at a BSB training event and hearing a Jewish QC telling the group that he refuses to disclose his religion on any monitoring forms from anyone/thing because he’s concerned that they could be used for alternative more sinister purposes at some future point if there was a more radical form of government in the UK.

Anonymous

You mirin brah… fuuuuuarrrkkkk

Anonymous

What about any analysis of the appointment of white working class men to QC? They are not favoured and receive no support from the luvvies in the legal establishment.

Anonymous

That’s probably because they have too much integrity to participate in sad group initiation rites.

Anonymous

QC – an English hazing ceremony for the greedy and socially ambitious white middle merchant classes.

BAME barrister

The privilege goes with being white, so no need to carry out such research.

Wakes wakey!

Anonymous

There is a further argument that the privilege is not purely a matter of being white but also extends to the perception of class. At my chambers the only non who’re ethnic minorities were educated at Eton and Westminster, hardly representative of your standard BAME.

Anonymous

“Non-white” (auto spell)

Trumpenkrieg

Oh right, so you are confirming that white privilege is basically unscientific woo?

Anonymous

Oh FFS! White working class men don’t want to be barristers, they want to grow up and make real money being footballers or drug dealers who employ and fund less rich and more “aspirational” “social superiors” barristers.

Anonymous

It’s only the craven middle classes that “aspire” to be barristers. Much better becoming a solicitor at somewhere like Macfarlanes and you’ll make much more than a top commercial silk.

Anonymous

It does seem a truth universally acknowledged that most QCs come across as having something to prove.

Anonymous

One I know did it cos solicitor daddy didn’t pay her any attention and favored his other daughter over her.

Anonymous

Is that the one who seeks out older men and has a “thing” for asking them to change her nappy?

Anonymous

I thought she was now in the CoA???

Anonymous

“Much better becoming a solicitor at somewhere like Macfarlanes and you’ll make much more than a top commercial silk.”

No. You won’t.

And all you’ll be is a solicitor.

Bad advice. Very bad advice.

Anonymous

And what is “wrong” with being a solicitor?

Anonymous

Actually equity partners at macfarlanes take home 2million +, look at their accounts, no silk these days does that. Top Equity at US firms you’re oooking at 6-9million a year in some cases.

Anonymous

One of my best friends is proper aristocracy, family history going back to Norman Times, trained for the Bar and was a tenant for a few years at commercial Chambers . He couldn’t stand it, in his words “full of jumped up pushy middle class oiks who don’t know their proper place”, he said he wasn’t prepared to suck up to people who were socially inferior to him.

Anonymous

Sure. Totally believable.

Anonymous

Just a thought.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a children’s TV series called “Playbus”.

One of the characters was a string puppet of a black girl called “Lizzie”.

I found an episode on YouTube and saw that the puppet was voiced by the actress Liz Watts (who is white).

Questions:

1. Was this wrong?

2. Does the fact that it was some time ago provide any mitigation?

3. What steps should the BBC and Liz Watts take to provide recompense for those who are offended?

Anonymous

I should have thought the answer is obvious? They should now be prosecuted for hate crimes fined and imprisoned for at least 5 years.

Anonymous

The levels of Muslim and black people at the Bar is atrociously low. Given that the ranks of the judiciary are filled primarily from the bar, the government really ought to set up a commission to investigate.

Anonymous

Why is it that lawyers always inflate their importance in society? Most people pray to go through life without ever needing a lawyer. Lawyers have high levels of marriage failures, are often plagued by depression and mental illness, have dependencies of all kinds, they rarely have good family relationships yet they carry on as if the world could not function without them. Reality check please!

Anonymous

Isn’t in incredibly sad and ironic that this so called ‘BAME Minority’, is starting to become the majority?! As we progress further into our society of political correctness, we now feel inclined to choose those from ‘Bame’ irrespective of how credibly reputable the other white candidate is, in case we are classed as ‘racist’. It is now White people who are unrepresentative and treated like, frankly, shit, because obviously if you’re white you have genetic privileged and don’t deserve anything.

Anonymous

Yeah, you whites can’t even get a half decent British Royal any longer … wait until you have a non-white King or Queen ruling over you.

mhm...

mhm…

Anonymous

It was a weak list. Too many plastic arbitration Silks from law firms, who have never done proper court work. I have no issue in principle with people taking Silk solely off the back of arbitration work, but their appointment should be limited to appearing as a QC in arbitrations. (A bit like learning to drive on an automatic car and having your licence limited to driving an automatic.)

Anonymous

Hear, hear …

Anonymous

I was once led in a long courtroom trial by a silk who does mainly arbitration work, he was absolutely fu(king usless…

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