"Girlfriends of the Court"

Is the Bar an Old Boys Club?

In Barristers, Career, women on April 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

"When I grow up I'm going to be a barrister, like Daddy"

Back in the olden days (er, the early 1990’s) a group of women barristers approached the Victorian Bar Council about forming a Women Barristers Association. Some of our learned friends were enthusiastic about the idea, but others grumbled about ‘those feminists’ and wondered aloud whether there should thus also be a Men Barristers Association. The retort echoed through Owen Dixon Chambers “there already is a male barristers association, it is called the Bar!”

In today’s paper are two reports about people trying to do things differently at the Bar, both involving barristers’ clerks  Trailblazer Norman O’Bryan meets resistance”  and “Outsider finds Bar a closed shop for clerks”

So is the Bar an Old Boys Club?

  1. Hell yeah, it’s a boy’s club. I remember when I was in practice, an old fat barrister said to me during negotiations, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.” I really almost decked him.

    Female friends at the bar complain that they were constantly propositioned by old sleazes and that people made comments like that one above. So annoying.

    Then again, some of the best people I know in this world are barristers or ex-barristers – maybe it just attracts both the best and the worst of people?

    • I do believe the Bar attracts many rugged individuals who prefer to work to their own time/style; thus some are insulated from changed social expectations, especially expectations regarding those with ‘pretty little heads’! But surely the old curmudgeons must be moving on by now….

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