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Marc Mason, co-author of world’s first research into Sexuality at the Bar

Posted on: 3 October 2017
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Spotlight on…Marc Mason, co-author of world’s first research into Sexuality at the Bar

On 25 September 2017 Marc Mason announced the prelim results of the first research which sought to understand the career experiences of LGBT+ barristers.

Where?

The prelim results were launched at an event entitled “Sexuality at the Bar: An Empirical Exploration into the Experiences of LGBT+ Barristers in England & Wales”, co-organised by Westminster Law School, the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law, and 29 Bedford Row Chambers.

Who?

The research was undertaken by Marc Mason, Senior Lecturer at the Westminster Law School, in collaboration with Dr Steven Vaughan, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at University College London who presented their findings and engaged in discussions with a group of of invited panellists including Barristers and Law experts.

What?

The research project, the first of its kind, used a survey of 126 practicing barristers, pupils and students, and 38 interviews, asking them about the extent to which their sexuality has impacted on their legal practice and their experience in the workplace and exploring the role and function of LGBT+ support networks for barristers.

Using an open call survey collecting qualitative and quantitative data, the results show a variety of complex practices which govern whether (and when and how) LGBT+ members of the Bar feel comfortable being open about their sexuality as well as highlighting a significant number of LGBT+ barristers who have experienced work-related bullying and/or discrimination. The research also suggests an increasing role for Bar-specific LGBT+ networks and the value of LGBT+ role models, both at the Bar and in the judiciary.

Why?

The research project, the first of its kind, sought to understand the career experiences of LGBT+ barristers, asking them about

the extent to which (if at all) their sexuality has impacted on their legal practice, and to explore the role and function of LGBT+ support networks for barristers.

Speaking about his work, Researcher and Senior Lecturer Marc Mason said:

“We were delighted with the level of response to our research, as it has enabled us to generate some really fascinating and useful data around the way the issues of sexuality, and to some degree gender identity, are dealt with at the Bar. Whilst the Bar is a relatively small profession in terms of numbers, it is widely considered an influential elite and therefore diversity issues such as access and representation become even more important. We hope that the research findings will be useful to the profession and to those concerned with equality and diversity more broadly.”

 

Marc Mason (Left) with Dr Steven Vaughan (right)

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