The recently appointed solicitor commissioner to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), Alexandra Marks, has called for solicitors to be given a helping hand in becoming judges; after expressing scepticism about targets.

Speaking during an interview, Alexandra Marks, said she believes targets “tend to become de facto quotas” and that the JAC should only select the most meritorious candidates.

She went on to criticise the ‘short-termist’ attitudes of law firms for not supporting partners and senior solicitors in seeking judicial roles; arguing that solicitors with the broader perspective of judges serve clients better and bring prestige to the firm.

She said: “The old model of billable hours and keeping noses to the grindstone 24/7 is not how to get the best out of top players and keep them.

“A fee-paid judge’s role, on the other hand, enhances an individual’s skills, builds confidence and is good networking. Clients are genuinely interested and impressed.

“You should start thinking about it in your late 30s or early 40s, perhaps running a fee-paid role alongside your work in the law firm.”