Five solicitors are among the 100 Queen’s Counsel appointments announced today by the independent selection panel.
All five are from City firms and all practice in international arbitration. The only female among them is Paula Hodges, head of global arbitration at Herbert Smith Freehills (pictured).
Matthew Weiniger, partner in the firm's international arbitration team, is also among the five.
The other three are Nicholas Fletcher, who heads the international arbitration team at Berwin Leighton Paisner; Matthew Gearing from Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong office; and Constantine Partasides, arbitration counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
The panel, which is now in its eighth round of appointments, received 225 applications, up from 183 the previous year.
Of this year’s successful crop, 18 were women (43% of the 42 who applied). Last year 14 of the 26 women who applied were appointed. The number of successful candidates who declared an ethnic origin other than white rose to 13 of the 32 who applied, a jump from the three appointed last year (14% of the 21 who applied).
Employed advocates fared better this than last year when none of the three who applied was appointed. This year, two of the six who applied were appointed.
Five of the eight applicants who declared a disability were appointed. In 2012-13 no applicant who declared a disability was appointed.
Broadly, 69 of the new QCs practice in civil law; 32 in crime and five in family, though some practice on more than one category. The youngest successful applicant is 36 years old and the oldest is 68.
The appointments are made by the Queen on the advice of the lord chancellor, Chris Grayling, following consideration by the independent Queen’s Counsel selection panel. They will formally become silks when they make their declaration before the lord chancellor at a ceremony on 14 April.
Chairman of the selection panel Helen Pitcher described the selection process as a ‘rigorous and demanding one’.
Confidential assessments are collected from judges, fellow advocates and professional clients and applicants are considered against five competencies – understanding and using the law; written and oral advocacy; working with others; diversity and integrity.
Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said the appointment of five solicitors was a positive step 'particularly as just one solicitor was appointed last year, and no solicitors were appointed in 2012'.
The full list of QC appointments is available here.