On the 15 June 2023, His Majesty The King appointed Dame Sue Carr as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
Carr is the first ever female Lord Justice of England and Wales to be appointed since the post was created 755 years ago. When discussing women in law, Justice Carr can certainly be considered a trailblazer with her impressive career spanning three decades.
The legal profession has traditionally been dominated by men but over the past 20 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women pursuing careers in law, with women now making up the majority. Despite this progress, there is still a significant gender gap in the legal profession with women still facing barriers especially when it comes to advancing their careers.
According to recent statistics from the Law Society of England and Wales, women make up 53% of all solicitors in the UK. However, according to a 2022 Solicitors Regulatory Authority survey, this number significantly drops at more senior levels, with only 35% of partners in law firms being women.
The gender gap is even more pronounced in the Judiciary. According to a 2022 Judicial Diversity Survey conducted by the Courts and Tribunal Judiciary, only 18% of Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel) in England and Wales were female.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender gap in the legal profession. One of the biggest is unconscious bias, which can result in women being overlooked for promotion and not being taken seriously. Other factors include a poor work life balance and taking career breaks to raise families.
Here at RHL Solicitors, we pride ourselves on equal opportunities with around 77% of our lawyers being female, and approximately the same proportion being in the senior positions, including our Managing Director, Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods. We hope that the appointment of more senior female lawyers within the Judiciary will continue to improve opportunities for women in law and continue to chip away at the glass ceiling.
Congratulations Justice Carr on your appointment from all at RHL Solicitors!