Women in Law – what needs to change

2nd December 2019

This year marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 that paved the way for women to enter into the legal profession.

In a series of articles we look at just some of the issues facing women working in the legal sector…

As a ‘Woman in Law’, what would you change about the profession, the industry, the system etc?

Hannah Parsons

Hannah Parsons

DAS Law

Principal Associate Solicitor

In general, I think that ‘the law’ now encompasses so many different types of career that there is a place for most career aspirations, certainly more so now than when I started on this path 20 years ago.

I would however like to see more role models amongst the judiciary and senior management, and also at board level of legal businesses. It would be a huge incentive to women entering the profession to be able to point to more and more success stories.

Sometimes it is about the lack of opportunity to gather relevant experience that holds women back from being able to apply for some of those positions, and a concerted review of how that experience gap could be bridged would be time well spent in my opinion.

Kerry Blomerus

Kerry Blomerus

Blake Morgan

Senior Solicitor

In general I would like to see more women in the judiciary and senior management, and for this to be celebrated throughout the industry. The fact that in 2018 we had our first female President of The Supreme Court, the wonderful Lady Hale, is a reflection of how far the profession has come since its first female was called to the English Bar in 1922, but it’s clear that we are still some way from becoming a gender equal profession.

In my 12 years of working within the legal industry I have seen change in female leadership and the confidence in women speaking up about gender bias and wanting a change. I would like to see the industry becoming more transparent in pay between men and women, and, for the industry to be a reflection of people within society. Not just that of women, but also, ethnicity, social background and sexual orientation.

As lawyers we need to be able to sympathise with our clients and understand their needs by expanding the diversity throughout the industry and by making it more accessible for everyone to come into the profession. This will provide a more rounded industry.

Penelope Heighton

Penelope Heighton

DAS Law

Senior Associate Solicitor

Mentoring and supporting younger women coming through the profession is so important. Besides flexible working, women need female role models/mentors to gain the confidence to aim for more senior positions. I am lucky to have a female team leader and head of department to inspire and encourage me.

I also had a working mother whose mantra was always ‘It’s not the quantity but the quality of time’, so thanks to her I have less guilt than many of my working mother friends whose own mums stayed at home whilst only dad went to work.

The important thing is to respect everyone’s choices but for there to be more options to choose from. Any disparity needs to be talked about openly and honestly. We have a women’s network at DAS UK which does a fantastic job in ensuring this happens and women can feel informed and supported, while the company is also actively considering how to assist more women to progress to senior positions.

Finally, of course, men also need to be on board to support equality in the workplace and at home!

Women in Law – balancing the LPC with work

Emma Peacock, Trainee Solicitor in DAS Law’s Catastrophic Injury team, discusses how she completed her LPC training while also working as a paralegal.

November 2019 Learn more
Women in Law – the dearth of female partners

Despite the fact that women account for 61% of law graduates, only 28% of private practice partners are female. What can be done to improve this figure?

November 2019 Learn more
Women in Law – the impact of flexible working

A mere 52% of solicitors at law firms work flexibly, compared to 66% of other UK professionals. Is flexible working a right and is it vital for encouraging more women into the industry?

October 2019 Learn more

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News Women in Law – what needs to change

In the latest of a series of articles, we ask women in law what they would change about the profession, the industry, and the system.

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News Women in Law – balancing the LPC with work

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