A female barrister who slammed a male barrister for a chauvinistic comment has prompted others to speak out about prejudice they've faced in the profession.

Amy Rollings, a personal injury barrister at Nine St John Street in Manchester, tweeted about a conversation she'd had with a male opponent barrister who was channeling Jim Davidson:

Tweet

At the time of the exchange, Rollings had given a regrettably courteous reply to her male opponent:

Tweet Amy Rollings

But other barristers on Twitter were more forthright: 

Cox

Mogg

Twonk

Rollings revealed in a later tweet that it wasn't the first time she's been subjected to sexist comments at the Bar.

"All the years of studying, training, reputation building and graft were just leading up to finding a husband to keep you so you could give it all up, right?" said one of her followers on Twitter. "Exactly," replied Rollings, "I've just been killing time all these years until I found a husband!"

Rollings' tweet triggered a plethora of similar recollections about throwbacks at the Bar from female peers.

Some had faced snide comments about being a working mum. "When I first came back to the bar after mat leave," said Amy Beddis a barrister at 3PB Chambers, "I was chatting to a male oppo about my baby who was 6 months old and his response, in horror was - 'your baby is barely sitting up and you are back at work?'"

Eleanor Mawrey, a barrister at 9 Gough Square, said she encountered an old boy with this view: 

M

Rachel Chan of 42 Bedford Row revealed, "I had one male barrister on hearing my husband is a stay at home dad, asked 'is he a good house husband?'. This is just as inappropriate if I'd asked whether his wife was a 'good housewife'."

Another lawyer said, "When I was pregnant a solicitor told me that they 'thought I was a career woman' and pointed at my stomach. I said I am a career woman". She added, "Why can't people just shut the f*ck up?"

Mary Aspinall-Miles at 12 CP Barrister, hit back at one misogynistic barrister almost causing him to void his bowels in shock. Small victories:

Joke

"Not that long ago I had an older Male oppo who got quite snarky and asked why I wasn't at home making a pie for my husband." said Nadia Tawfik of Pallant Chambers. A particularly baseless insult as, "I've never made a pie in my life".

A number of male barristers were quick to condemn the archaic views held by their peers:

Harwood

"Well done, Amy, for calling out this type of behaviour" said Tom Russell of KCH Garden Square Barristers. "It has no place in modern life and I am ashamed whenever I read that our profession is associated with it". Gerard McDermott QC of Outer Temple Chambers said that there was "obviously a long, long way to go at The Bar".

However, there was a sweet ending to Rollings' story:

Tweet

To which James M Turner QC of Quadrant Chambers said "gloating near-compulsory in this situation". Katherine Allen, a partner at Hugh James told Rollings that winning the case "was the best response ever". Sarah Clarke QC said "I thought when I got Silk that would be the end of male chauvinist opponents talking down to me. Sadly I was wrong", adding "only way to deal with them is to beat them in Court just as you did". 

“The tweet (inadvertently) started an important conversation with many other professional women who have experienced similar sexist comments", Rollings told RollOnFriday. "It is a conversation I had hoped we had moved on from a long time ago. Sadly this was not the first time a comment had been made along these lines and unfortunately, I doubt it will be the last. By continuing the conversation, we can shine some light on the issue”.

In February this year, another female barrister also took to Twitter to come up with a nine point plan to combat sexism at the Bar.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Dearie 09 August 19 07:53

Comments said to my face at work:

1. All the women are having babies, you'll be next (oddly, I had actually told this person after a similar previous comment that that was an inappropriate comment but in any case I was not going to have kids).

2. When X comes back from mat leave she won't be as committed or focused, its just not possible (said a man who had just had a second child but apparently no sense of irony).

3. Oh thank god, I thought you were going to tell me you're pregnant (when delivering news about timing for a work project).

4. The same comment as number 3 when I declined an alcoholic drink (because I was driving or, you know, just didn't fancy it but apparently women need to give an update on their sex plans if they don't want a drink).

5. We have this great new piece of work but it means some travel so we won't offer it to X as she's just back from mat leave and won't want to leave her kid (to which I suggested they let her make that decision).

Imagine if men were constantly asked about their plans to have kids?

Anonymous 09 August 19 08:24

The problem with these comments is that we don't know if they happened as described, especially since the people accused are not named or given the chance to respond.

This story was on Legal Cheek yesterday and the people tweeting the accusations were roundly and in some cases very incisively criticised before comments were closed.

Anonymous 09 August 19 08:30

Its a good issue to shine light on. I actually find the way the accusations are made and the way that only men seem to be accused to be more sexist than the original comments.

Alex 09 August 19 08:35

I agree with BOB - if you reverse the statement and say the same thing to a male crim barrister it is perfectly acceptable. The point is that crim barristers don't earn as much, it's got nothing to do with sex or gender.

Dearie 09 August 19 08:40

Oh FFS.... so its all made up because these 'leetle wimmin' can't be trusted unless they are also nice people?

Anonymous 09 August 19 08:49

We don't know Dearie.

In the interests of balance, can you say 5 not nice things that females have said to you, rather than just males?

Anonymous 09 August 19 08:56

anon @ 8.24 - you must be a very good lawyer, insisting on evidentiary proof every time you hear someone recount an anecdote. Either that or you're a total bore at parties

BOB 09 August 19 09:01

Agreed Alex.

Also a woman can marry a woman (now at least), so offendee shouldn't really have assumed "banker" meant a man.

Hugme 09 August 19 09:05

This story is a honeypot for tedes.

Everyone in temple knows there are a bunch of bazzas so old school they’re trapped in amber. 

Saying otherwise makes you look like a plum. 

Anonymous 09 August 19 09:11

anon @8.56 - I just like to hear both sides of a story and get my facts right before passing judgement. Sorry you find that boring. Doubt you're a good lawyer.

Anonymous 09 August 19 09:14

Also a lot of bazzas and sozzas with an anti-male agenda, sometimes unconsciously so, Hugme.

Saying otherwise makes you look like a bigger plum.

Anonymous 09 August 19 09:22

The barrister who tweeted the nine point plan faced heavy criticism for her tweets, which were accused of being sexist.

Anonymous 09 August 19 09:47

I am a (male) solicitor. I told one of my mates at work that it was my mother's birthday and I had forgotten to send her a birthday card. His response "give it to me, I'll be seeing her later". 

So of course I was mortally wounded and fainted with a fit of the vapours with the back of my hand on my forehead (or maybe we both laughed heartily, one of the two).

anonymity tede 09 August 19 09:50

So if people pass on an anecdote of sexist behaviour without naming the perpetrator, its unreliable because we haven't heard both sides of the story.

 

And if they do name names (e.g. to regulators, not just the press) they are overreacting and 'jokes like this shouldn't ruin people's careers'.

 

Basically keep schtum either way.  No-one (no man) believes any sexist tale.

MT 09 August 19 10:03

Meeting with a client and his personal lawyer. Also present were me and my (female) colleague.

After some discussions, the client tells my colleague her shade of red lipstick is "particularly tarty". His personal lawyer laughs and says "yeah totally!" and he looks at me as if I was expected to also find it funny and join in at the expense of the one woman present. I just sat there and glared at them for a few seconds before saying "No." and moved onto the next item on the agenda. Some people, seriously...

 

Anonymous 09 August 19 10:23

Alleged perpetrator, anonymity tede!

Correct on both counts. Allegations against anonymous people where they're not given the right of reply are unreliable. And peoples' careers shouldn't be ruined by jokes. Doubt many people would argue otherwise.

 

 

Mr. Kevin Robjent posts 09 August 19 12:24

Many, Lawyers, Barristers and QC. Have, achieved their Goals,as same as the Men. My,humble opinion,was to say,to the Respective and Respectful Lady's. Is,they should Stand Tall and Proud. They, amongst Dinosaurs and Old School, resentment,is and has made their,path much harder. Yet,the Ladies, amongst all,rigmarole and negative feedback,by a minority,of disrespectful Men. Who, believe they are Superior,to their opposing Women Counsel. But, quite the Contrary,they had a much easier path. Along,with no one trying,to push them out and having to constantly,deal with Derogatory remarks,and a few Self centered and ignorant, disrespectful Men. Ladies,stand Tall and Proud. You, should oust these people,and then move on. But,at every opportunity, when you,will immenently meet them. Ensure,you are,at your Best and Kick,their ass,at Court.They,will soon,appreciate and hopefully understand, simple logic and respect.Hats,of to ALL Ladies.

Anonymous 09 August 19 12:38

Well I think we can all agree with that, Kevin, thank you. Hats off to ALL ladies. And to the humble comma.

Anonymous 09 August 19 15:55

A selection of Kevin's other offerings:

 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Profile/kevinrZ9478ZO?fid=6c7cfc9f-21c6-4090-a10b-2e5b239274cd

Anonymous 09 August 19 16:48

Rachel Chan felt that it was inappropriate for a male barrister to ask if her husband was a good househusband, and that it would be inappropriate for her to ask the male barrister if his wife was a good housewife. Ok. The question is, would it be inappropriate to her if a female barrister asked the same question, and would she publicise the comment in the same way.

The Manchurian Candidate 10 August 19 10:03

I wonder what the women of Saudi Arabia or Africa think of your dedication to fight for the right of.... What exactly? 

Anonymous 10 August 19 10:51

Anonymous 09 August 19 08:24: "The problem with these comments is that we don't know if they happened as described, especially since the people accused are not named or given the chance to respond."

 

Interesting that you've failed to make similar challenges on every other story on RoF. One would almost think that you're obsessed with attempting to discredit sexual harassment or sexism claims by women only...

Anonymous 10 August 19 14:47

That is a false accusation 10.21. False accusations are very common in matters relating to 'sexual harassment'. People know this, that's why they get nervous when claims are questioned.

In this case, although the claims are unsubstantiated (you say challenged), even if true, the wsy they have been made reflects more poorly on the accusers than on the accused.

Anonymous 10 August 19 20:16

Unlikely the tax silk would have spluttered and gone pale when the BSB was mentioned in relation to him allegedly saying Mary Aspinall-Miles must be 'married to a banker' to specialise in crime.

As others have said, the comment isn't sexist, and isn't something the BSB would be interested in. The tax silk would have known that Aspinall-Smith was joking.

Anon 11 August 19 15:12

"Imagine if men were constantly asked about their plans to have kids?"

They are.  It comes up in normal human conversation all the time.  I had a business lunch on Wednesday and clearly recall asking the (male) partner if he and his wife were finishing with just two kids.  Its just you (and many other women) have severe selection bias because you are hypersensitive about it (and not unfairly so).

Anonymous 11 August 19 17:21

Heh @ Mr Evidence learning the trick of multiple upvotes.  Prove us wrong - demonstrate just one instance of where you've called for evidence on a rof story on another subject.  Just one will do.

Anonymous 12 August 19 11:24

Heh at another false accusation, 11th August @ 17.21. False accusations are very common in matters relating to 'sexual harassment'. People know this, that's why they get nervous when claims are questioned. Unlike your obviously multiple downvotes, the multiple upvotes are from separate people who agree with the comments.

It is irrelevant as to where else I have commented and/or requested evidence on other stories - its none of your business, it doesn't get away from the existence of a series of unsubstantisted claims against men. You can't handle this, so you attempt to attack the person questioning the claims. 

Anonymous 12 August 19 12:25

Some of it is hypersensitivity. Some of it is anti-male rhetoric. Little of it is fair.

Anonymous 12 August 19 18:31

We're just asking for evidence that you aren't solely obsessed with this topic, Mr Evidence. If you refuse to provide evidence, then it looks awfully like you are fabricating your claims to care about evidence.  Surely you understand the importance of being able to substantiate your claims?  It's not personal - it's just important that any claims are fully substantiated.

Anonymous 12 August 19 18:33

Hey Mr Evidence, can you provide evidence for your claim that false accusations are very common in matters relating to 'sexual harassment'?

Anonymous 13 August 19 07:16

The comment made to Amy Beddis may, if true, have been intended as a compliment. This is the problem when the person alleged to have made the comment isn't named or given the chance to respond.

Its important in general that people engaged in conversation don't take offence to comments made by males which would be taken as complements or not viewed as 'sexist' if made by females.

Anonymous 13 August 19 16:58

Yes Mrs No Evidence, 12th August @18.33. The comments previously flagged as false accusations are evidence.

Anonymous 13 August 19 23:15

He doesn't need to provide evidence, 12th August at 18.31 - he's not the one making unsubstantiated accusations. Its for you to prove that your allegations are true, not for him to prove they aren't. You've failed to do this, and failed to create a smokescreen to divert attention from the fact that the original allegations were unsubstantiated.

Anonymous 14 August 19 09:55

Christmas!  Is this what England has come to?  When did women become so sensitive?  I was raised exclusively by the strongest women England has/had to offer.  There has never been a doubt in my mind that they are unimaginably strong in the most gruelling of circumstances.

When did either sex become so ****ing precious?

Anonymous 14 August 19 17:04

He is the one making unsubstantiated claims Anon @ 16:58.  1. He's claiming that false accusations are very common and 2. he's claiming that he cares about evidence rather than being obsessed with discrediting claims of sexism by women. He can very easily prove 2 just by one single example of where he has demanded the same verification of just one other story on another topic.  It shouldn't be too hard.

I haven't made any allegations about sexist comments, so can't provide evidence. Hopey helpy.

 

Anonymous 14 August 19 17:07

Anonymous 13 August 19 16:58

Yes Mrs No Evidence, 12th August @18.33. The comments previously flagged as false accusations are evidence.

Which comments?  How does "flagging" prove they were false?  What number of comments are proved false compared with the total amount of allegations of sexism (relevant to determining the inference of commonality( and what are you sources for both numbers?

Anonymous 15 August 19 10:51

The comments previously flagged as false accusations, 14th August, 17.07!

If you don't know what 'flagging' means google it or look it up in a dictionary.

At least 50% of allegations relating to 'sexual harassment' are false. Sources vary, comments here are one source. As previously explained, it is for the person making an allegation to prove that it is true, not for anyone else to have to prove that it is false.

Sorry, but it is unclear what numbers you refer to when you say 'both numbers' - your comment is somewhat muddled.

 

Anonymous 15 August 19 13:09

It isn't that it is difficult for him to disprove the false allegation against him, Anonymous 14th August @17.04. It is, as explained, not for him to prove that the allegation is false, rather it is for the accuser to prove that the allegation is true. You've still failed to do this.

It is a false allegation that you haven't made any allegations about sexist comments. In actual fact you allege (falsely) that he is 'obsessed with discrediting claims of sexism by women'. False accusations are very common in matters related to 'sexual harassment'. Dopey hapless.

Anonymous 15 August 19 17:28

Anonymous 15 August 19 10:51: "If you don't know what 'flagging' means google it or look it up in a dictionary."

Apaz it means "Becoming tired or less dynamic.".  Nope, still doesn't prove anything.

Anonymous 15 August 19 17:32

@13:09: It's very easy for "him" to prove "he" isn't only obsessed about one topic. "He" just needs to demonstrate just one incidence of him complaining about evidence on a topic other than sexual harassment or sexism claims by women. Just one will do.

And heh at the pretence that you aren't Mr Evidence, 13:09.

Anonymous 16 August 19 01:17

Your points were indeed tired and undynamic @17.28, but look it up again - 'flagging' has two meanings.

Anonymous 16 August 19 01:20

And heh at Mrs No Evidence still making false allegations, @17.33. False allegations are very common in matters related to sexual harassment.