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Gender representation at the Bar Chambers High Net Worth

In this Legal Topics article from the Chambers High Net Worth team, the gender representation across our rankings for the Bar are analysed.

Published on 1 October 2021
Written by Katherine Hughes and Ann Shanthakumar
Katherine Hughes
Ann Shanthakumar

Gender diversity at the Bar

According to the Bar Standards Board’s Diversity at the Bar 2020 report, women now constitute 38.2% of practising barristers, up 0.2% on the previous year. The proportion of female QCs increased from 16.2% in 2019 to 16.8% in 2020, illustrating the difference in gender diversity at different levels of seniority within the legal profession. 

Bar rankings in Chambers High Net Worth

Chambers High Net Worth ranks the top professional advisers to High Net Worth Individuals and organisations globally. Chambers High Net Worth 2021 includes Bar rankings for the following practice areas: 

  • Art & Cultural Property 
  • Traditional Chancery 
  • Financial Crime 
  • Tax: Private Client 

The percentage of women ranked in all the Bar sections has increased from 19.7% in the 2018 edition to 27.2% in 2021, still considerably below the percentage of women practising at the Bar.  

While this increase is clearly to be welcomed, women are still significantly under-represented in these rankings when compared with the BSB figures for the profession as a whole. 

% of Women barristers ranked in all High Net Worth Bar sections

The total percentage of women barristers ranked in Chambers High Net Worth Bar sections are listed below. As the data shows, we are seeing a year-on-year increase since the 2018 edition of the legal rankings. In our efforts to support the furthering of diversity within the legal market, we are encouraging diversity stats to be included within our submissions process for the Chambers High Net Worth guide.

• 2018 Guide: 19.7%
• 2019 Guide: 20.9%
• 2020 Guide: 22.2%
• 2021 Guide: 27.2%

% of Women barristers ranked in all High Net Worth sections to 2030

Forecasting shows that, at current rates, it will take until 2026 for  women barristers to be represented in Chambers High Net Worth at the same rate as they are in the wider market. It also predicts that it would take until the next decade for the rankings to split evenly between men and women, at current rates. We are committed to increasing representation of women and are keen to make the rate of change faster which is why we have implemented new sections in our submissions process to help drive the need and awarness of diversity and inclusion within the legal market. We encourage submitting firms to demonstrate their commitment to furthering diversity within their practice, which ultimately will be to the benefit of the wider market.  

What is the Chambers High Net Worth team doing to address gender diversity in our rankings?

One way the team is attempting to improve gender diversity is through encouraging sets to highlight women barristers in their submissions. We are also committed to representation of women in our research interviews.  

Last year, the team set a soft target of interviewing a gender- balanced split of lawyers in markets where it was possible to do so without unreasonably limiting the overall scope of the research. For 2022 research, we have developed a system of tracking how many male and female lawyers our researchers invite for interview and how many they end up interviewing.  

This will allow us to track whether we are interviewing a balanced split of male and female barristers, and, if not, whether the issue is with who our researchers request for interview or with sets substituting the female barristers we request for male colleagues. We hope to be able to provide a breakdown of this data next year. 

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