Five solicitors have been appointed to the Queen's Counsel as the list of 100 new appointments was released by the independent selection panel today.
This is the highest number of solicitors ever appointed as silks in a single round. It is a marked increase from 2013 when one solicitor was announced as a new silk.
All five solicitors practise in international arbitration at city firms, including the female solicitor appointed, Paula Hodges, who is head of global arbitration at Herbert Smith Freehills.
The other appointments include Matthew Weiniger, also from Herbert Smith Freehills, Nicholas Fletcher who heads the international team at Berwin Leighton Paisner, Matthew Gearing from Allen & Overy's Hong Kong office, and Constantine Partasides from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
The panel, which is now in its eighth round of appointments, received a total of 225 applications, of which seven were solicitors. One hundred silks were appointed in this year's round, which is the largest number for three years.
Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, welcomed the news that five solicitors had been appointed to the Queen's Counsel.
'It is a positive sign to see five solicitors appointed as silks this year, particularly as just one solicitor was appointed last year, and no solicitors were appointed in 2012.
'The announcement of these five solicitors' appointments shows that they have met the extremely high standards required across all the legal competencies: understanding and using the law, oral and written advocacy, working with others, and diversity and integrity.
'I continue to believe that solicitors have much to offer in these roles and, when appointed, add to the diversity of representation the Queen's Counsel requires. I would encourage more solicitors to consider applying in the next round of silk selections.'
The appointed advocates will formally become silks when they make their declaration before the lord chancellor at a ceremony on 14 April.
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