Sarah Langford featured on cover of Counsel magazine, “Called to the Baa!”

4th June 2021

Counsel Magazine June21 Cover

3PB’s barrister-author Sarah LangfordSarah LangfordCall: 2005 features on the cover of this month’s Counsel magazine, after an interview with Chris Henley QC, former Chair of the Criminal Bar Association, about the parallels between farming and farmers, and the law and barristers, and the dilemmas of combining young children with continued practice at the Bar.

As the feature explains, Sarah Langford’s brilliant first book “In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law” was published in 2018 and her latest book is about farmers, farming and the countryside. The working title is “For a Love of the Land” and is inspired by her young family’s move to a cottage in Suffolk and their regeneration of 200 acres of adjacent land. It set her thinking about the parallels between farming and farmers, and the law and barristers.

In the interview, Sarah is also asked about women at the Bar and commends the Western Circuit Women’s Forum report which she says “contained a great deal of statistical data as well as anecdotal experience about why and how many women have been leaving. There has been an enormous culture shift in the last couple of years, a really positive one. So many more discussions are taking place, articles published, professional groups being formed addressing these issues, to encourage women back. This would have been inconceivable even a few years ago. I think the #MeToo movement has allowed women to say things they would previously have been censored or punished for.”

The Counsel feature says that it is perhaps an indicator of how bad things have been that it is considered progress, which it unquestionably is, just to begin to talk about the huge barriers women still face in pursuing a career at the Bar particularly in crime. The attrition rate for women in the 8- to 12-year call bracket continues to be appalling. Sarah however believes things will improve. Role models are emerging, chambers are introducing policies and structures to encourage and ease a return to practice.

“If you get (women)  back, they will stay for 30 years. The best chambers are much more forward thinking about parental leave, rent breaks, even loans. A woman in my chambers (Lucy Hendry QC, ed) took ten years out and has just become a QC. These role models are so essential. We need to see a wave of women like this. There is no single way of doing it, with support we have flexibility to paint our own picture.”

The aspiration of her new book is to open up an important conversation, to improve empathy and understanding for farmers and where our food comes from, to promote a better sense that we are all connected, and our everyday choices have consequences. Sarah said : ‘Farmers know you…are asking them to go beyond crop yields, and want to dig into the emotional side of them.” She will look at the countryside’s cultural capital, as well as its natural capital, like “fell farmers who feel as hefted to the land as their sheep do. But do you drive people who have a cultural rural connection away because they are not farming in the way you want them to?“

To read the full article from Counsel magazine, click here.

If you wish to contact Sarah Langford about this or any professional matter, please email her clerk Stuart Pringle on stuart.pringle@3pb.co.uk or call him on 01962 868884.