For International Women's Day 2022, Susan Grocott QC outlines some of her positive work experiences.

My name is Susan. I am currently a Vice-Chair of the Bar Council Ethics Committee and a member of the Legal Services Committee. I am a Silk practising exclusively in family law and also a part-time Judge sitting on family law as a Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge. I am Chair of my Chambers Wellbeing Committee and Chair of the Manchester Family Law Bar Association. I have held numerous other posts within Chambers including Head of the Family Team.

As a young child I was entitled to free school meals. I attended state schools and was the first in my family to attend university. I still speak with a pronounced Northern accent. I have found little or no barriers to achieve what was my childhood dream of becoming a barrister save that my practise area was heavily influenced by my first senior clerk promoting me as a woman to undertake family work. It was more a greenhouse than a glass ceiling.

I had avoided studying family law to prevent such stereotyping and I am conscious that this would have been less likely to happen in my current Chambers which I joined as an established family practitioner. Today of course, young barristers tend to choose their intended practise area when applying for pupillage rather than practise in all areas, as I did as a junior practitioner.

Notwithstanding my own experience I am and remain fully conscious of the reported experiences of others who have felt dissuaded from a career at the Bar perceiving the same to be an elusive dream, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

In my role as Chair of the Manchester Family Law Bar Association we are looking to encourage young people to consider a career at the Bar, particularly children in disadvantaged areas by visiting schools. Our Committee members are from diverse backgrounds and we hope that by showcasing their achievements we can break down some of the perceived barriers. After all, before I came to sit my A levels the UK had a female Prime Minister. Why should it have even entered my mind that a woman may be disadvantaged at the Bar?

Susan Grocott QC is a barrister at Deanscourt Chambers.

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