A London-based family and criminal law specialist has become the first practising female solicitor silk.
June Venters, founding partner of Venters, was one of just four solicitor-advocates to be made Queen?s Counsel (QC) by the new independent selection panel.
The other successes from just 12 solicitor applicants were family lawyer Mark Powell at Welsh firm Hugh James, criminal lawyer Niall Quinn from Woodfines in Milton Keynes and City firm Linklaters? co-head of litigation Christopher Style. Their selection brings the number of practising solicitor QCs to 12.
The 175 appointments ? the first since 2003, when selection was taken away from the Department for Constitutional Affairs ? saw the highest number of women appointed and a greater number of lawyers from ethnic minority groups than in previous years.
Of the 68 women who applied, 33 were successful; the previous high was 12 from 44 in 2002. Ten came from an ethnic minority group, up on the seven appointed in 2003.
Fiona Woolf, Law Society President, said: ?I am pleased that four solicitors have been appointed and I am sure the number of applicants and QCs from the solicitors? profession will increase as more solicitors become experienced higher court advocates.?
In an interview with the Gazette to be published next week, Ms Woolf said the selection was a big improvement.
But she added: ?I?m not sure that I would perpetuate a QC system. I would prefer specialist accreditation ? for example, having specialist family or energy lawyers.?
Ms Venters said she was pleased to have received the mark, maintaining the small number of applications from solicitors was down to a lack of confidence.