The profession should be proud of the way Fiona Woolf managed the furore surrounding her appointment as chair of the inquiry into historical child sexual abuse. Instead, there was a stony silence from her friends in the profession.

When you are down, something always turns up – and it is often the noses of your so-called friends. Well, shame on the generation of lawyers who have stood by and watched one of their number rise to the top against the odds of their gender, only to then be chewed up and spat out by a rampant press without so much as a word of support or comfort.

Woolf is no tame establishment figure. I have known her since she and I were trainees together. Then, we shared a pokey attic room in Gray’s Inn, and because she had studied at the University of Strasbourg, she was condemned to become the firm’s official language translator. It was the early 1970s and no one quite knew what to do with a bright, ambitious woman lawyer. She has come a long way since then and all on her own ability, integrity and hard work.

She has deserved better.

Christopher Digby-Bell, London W1