8th March, 2023

International Women's Day 2023: Joanne Connolly

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we want you to learn more about some of the incredible women in our Chambers.

Our first piece features deputy Head of Chambers Joanne Connolly.

Can you tell us about your journey to the Bar?

I was born and raised in Northern Ireland with no connection to law let alone the Bar. I was, however, keen on debating, public speaking and drama. When I arrived at University in Nottingham, these interests were funnelled into mooting and I was hooked.

As a woman, have you faced any particular barriers in your career? If so, how did you overcome them?

I have not faced any substantial barriers as a woman. I think I have benefitted from the legacy of successful, senior, female barristers before me breaking the ground and firmly establishing that gender was not relevant to success or commitment at the Bar. I have had the good fortune to be a member of two forward looking Chambers who always sought to support me through any challenges and never erected barriers.


Photo of Joanne Connolly

What progress have you seen at the Bar on equality?

A significant, welcome and visible increase in the number of women in day to day life as a barrister: in Chambers, in Court, as instructing solicitors, as Judges and in other senior positions such as Leader of the Circuit. The presence of more women shapes the culture, is a wonderful support network, if required, and encourages other women to choose a career where they can see women succeed.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to anyone considering a career at the Bar?

If you have satisfied yourself that you know what is involved and you think you would enjoy it and be good at it, then be confident and persist.

Can you tell us about a woman who inspires you and why?

Sylvia Earle – an American marine biologist and conservationist. A very able woman who used her considerable intellect to make a difference while still talking a lot of sense.

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