In celebration of International Women’s Day, we want you to learn more about some of the incredible women in our Chambers.
In our second piece we feature Christina Chinnock.
Can you tell us about your journey to the Bar?
It was rather unconventional. Having worked previously in sales and in banking, I returned to education to complete both further and higher education whilst having two young children in tow. In fact, my first year at university started with caring for a 6 week old baby and 17 month old toddler! It was a challenging period but one that provided rewarding experiences. I started pupillage in Swansea and remained (save for a brief period in Pontypridd/Cardiff) until eventually moving to Manchester in 2014 and joining 9 St John Street Chambers.
As a woman, have you faced any particular barriers in your career? If so, how did you overcome them?
Having been told at the start of my first year in university by a (male) head of year tutor, with a rather disconcerting and judgemental expression, that he didn’t expect me to return after the birth of my child, my determination to prove him wrong overcame any particular barrier that may have been obvious at that time.
Since then, I cannot say that there have many barriers as such, only opportunities that as an individual, you either embrace in their entirety or have the freedom to choose to take a more ‘laissez faire’ approach. Much also depends on one’s individual circumstances. As a woman who was juggling a career at the Bar with four children, decisions had to be made in terms of balancing a home life with career progression at any given time, which will undoubtedly will have had some impact on progression. However, that was a choice I was empowered to make and it hasn’t prevented me from having a satisfying and rewarding career which I am proud of.
What progress have you seen at the Bar on equality?
We have seen positive moves toward achieving equality but there is still some way to go I suspect. In terms of women at the Bar, it is very pleasing that there are far more now in 2023 than when i started my career and many women hold judicial office and many more do both!
What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to anyone considering a career at the Bar?
It can be difficult and a rocky climb. Determination, resilience and the ability to adapt are essential qualities but I would strongly advise once you are here, to try and not allow it to negatively impact on your personal or family life. We can all fall into bad habits, looking after yourself (whatever that means for you) and your loved ones is incredibly important and making that time, in my eyes is really the key to a long and fulfilled career.
Can you tell us about a woman who inspires you and why?
Eliza Hamilton, the socialite and philanthropist who is often referred to as the ‘founding mother’ having set up the first private orphanage in New York in the 1800’s . She was tenacious, loyal, forgiving and altruistic, all characteristics I admire and endeavour to adopt in my daily life.