23.11.06

Day 38 (week 8): Sex discrimination?

Worrier came to visit today. Asked if I was free for lunch. Naturally, the Boss obliged and off we went to Chancery Lane. She wanted my advice. It seems that a particular member of Chambers has been picking on her. It started with him asking her to do a piece of work. When she returned it, he was highly critical and then asked for it to be done again. On returning the papers for a second time, he was even more critical. The conversation went along the following lines:
“When solicitors ask for your advice, they’re not asking for ifs and buts. They want an answer. Do you understand that?”
“Yes.”
“Have you always had problems being indecisive? Is it just in your nature?”
“No. Well, maybe.”
“How are you going to cope with court? You can’t afford to dither, you know.”
“I know.”
“Maybe it’s just a girl thing and I’m not quite getting it. Is that it perhaps?”
“Er, I don’t know.”

Anyway, she thinks she’s been discriminated against sexually and wanted to know what I thought.

Now, it seemed to me that he could certainly have phrased his comments more diplomatically but if you met Worrier, you’d know that he had a point although it certainly isn’t a girl thing. However, here was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up to damage a fellow pupil, potentially fatally. So, I told her I was quite shocked to hear that such things went on at all. Further, she should definitely not let it lie. To do so could in fact be counter-productive as the bullying may only get worse and if it did and she had failed to respond early on, her whole account might come into question.

It was clear that this was not what Worrier wanted to hear. In fact, all she wanted was a little reassurance. However, she’d come to the wrong person for that and by the time I was finished she was ready to complain to the Bar Council. I suggested that perhaps she might instead start with the Head of Chambers to show that she was not unduly escalating matters.

She thanked me so very much for all my help.

My pleasure indeed.

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