Exchange Chambers celebrates International Women’s Day 2019

March 8, 2019

To inspire conversation and raise awareness, Exchange Chambers celebrated International Women’s Day 2019 by asking barristers and staff to name women who have inspired them.

Here’s what they said:

“The only woman who worked on Merseyrail in the 1980’s. She had vivid dyed red hair and before seeing her I had no idea that women were allowed to work on the railways. It was really male dominated and the presence of that one woman made you realise that this was a job that was actually open to women.”
Rebecca Clark, Civil barrister

“One of the many women that inspires me is The Right Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE. Brenda Hale has broken down barriers for women throughout her whole career. From being the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, to becoming, in 2009, the first woman Justice of The Supreme Court. She now presides over that Court, and in the few years since her appointment, 25% of the Justices are now women.”
Carly Sandbach, Commercial barrister

“Mrs. Justice Yip is now making high profile decisions on the High Court bench, but 13 years ago she was teaching me about the Ogden Tables and drafting schedules of loss. From that point on, she has inspired me to strive to be the best barrister I can be.
In the years that followed I got the chance to work with her as her junior when she took silk. I tried then and still try now to emulate her work ethic, her analytical approach, her compassion for her seriously injured clients and their families, and her doggedness to achieve for them the best possible outcomes to their claims.”
Christopher Gutteridge, Personal injury barrister

“I feel privileged to have been brought up with a mum who taught me that anything in life is possible and the only thing that can hold you back is yourself. My sister is the most determined person I know and completed her masters with two children and a full time job and still managed to get her books published. It’s the strength and determination of my mum and sister that constantly inspires me to break the rules, to work hard, achieve my dreams and to laugh loudly everyday.”
Jo Stapley, Seminars and Training Manager 

“Which women have inspired me? Many, but in particular: my Nanas, who taught me the importance of resilience in the face of adversity, and my mum, who encouraged me to strive for the career I wanted, and who helps me to juggle that with my family!”
Catherine Knowles, Employment and PI barrister

“Michelle Obama is one of the most powerful women in the world who never forgets her roots. She provides stability and normality to her family in the most extraordinary circumstances. She makes it seem easy not to take life too seriously and when needed, to laugh at it. She is an everyday inspiration for young women everywhere.”
Jess Best, Seminars and Training Coordinator 

“One of the many women barristers I admire is Rose Heilbron QC, a true trailblazer. She was one of the first women to take silk, the first to lead in a murder case, the first woman recorder, the first to sit at the Bailey, and (perhaps best of all), the first female leader of the Northern Circuit. In a profession and a practice area dominated by men she excelled, and in doing so paved the way for others. What a woman!”
Alexandra Sutton, Criminal barrister

“At the moment it is Rowan, my 8 year old football loving daughter who provides daily inspiration to me. She is strong, intelligent and never gives in…. and she is clear that she is going to play for Barcelona by the time she is 20!”
Jonathan I’Anson, Chambers Director

Exchange Chambers has long championed equality and diversity at the Bar.

International Women’s Day been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognised each year on 8 March. It is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together governments, women’s organisations, corporations and charities. The day is marked around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences and marches.