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7 LW Recommends 8 Power of Blogging 17 LW Comment 18 Why is telling your story important?
with Lady Chief Justice, The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan
24 50/50 by 2030 –
Gender in the Legal Profession Project
28 Federation of
European Bar Associations
COVER INFORMATION Photo: Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission.
Women’s Day 2022
29th April 2022
For the May 2022 edition
Editorial To submit editorial, please send to: info@LegalWomen.org.uk Editor-in-Chief: Coral Hill. Features Editor: Molly Bellamy. Sub-editors: Gillian Fielden, Tilly Rubens. Editorial Assistants: Charity Mafuba, Emma Webb, Enya Hood, Agnes Swiecka.
tomorrow a leader
19 Networking 20 An interview
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Today a reader, tomorrow a leader Coral Hill
love this quote from the American educator Margaret Fuller. Reading is a powerful form of acquiring not only knowledge but also a greater understanding of ourselves and our world. It is with this in mind that Legal Women runs its own blog so that insights can be accessed by all. This edition focuses on the power of blogging: what is its purpose and who reads them? Essay or pamphlet writing has a long and noble history; blogging is merely our modernday equivalent. Short writings or musings have always been powerful from the political and legal spheres to all manner of topical issues in society. The writings of Margaret Fuller, Mary Wollstonecraft or George Sands (Amantine Dupin) and many more caused cultural changes. Although these female authors are less well-remembered today their impact was enormous. Their writings literally changed the world because people read and were influenced by them. Let’s try the same thing for the legal profession. Tackling diversity means ensuring people feel included and can access the advice and tips they need. For many lawyers, this happens without them even being aware of that privilege. For others, reading blog posts is a great informal way to tap into advice or tips on what to do. You will find the reflections of an incredible variety of lawyers on our website: Career Planning (http://legalwomen.org.uk/ blogs.html#careerplanning). It is not a spoiler to highlight how many of the contributors had no clear career plan, and yet still became successful lawyers. They show you don’t have to put on a mask and follow certain conventions; you can find another way. Many of the blog posts are deeply inspiring. There are also those who realised being a lawyer did not suit them or felt ready to move on to another career – our posts on Career Changers (http://legalwomen.org.uk/blogs. html#anchorcareer) give insight into how women have made successful career-fulfilling moves.
MARCH 2022 inspiration on the if you can see it, you can be it approach, but this doesn’t mean you need to be senior in the profession. Often junior lawyers have fantastic insights into how to approach peer situations, such as, gaining a training contract, networking and so on. In all our posts, we include some ‘know how’ tips from women who have travelled before us. Wellbeing has come to the forefront for many of us during the pandemic and the legal profession is confronting how to help its members under strain. Sharing these blog posts is often a reassurance for readers that they are not ‘the only one’ as well as providing great suggestions on how to manage stress, sleep issues, time management and so on. It also satisfies a need to connect, a response perhaps to the enforced isolation we have all experienced. Do visit Blogs (http://legalwomen.org.uk/blogs.html) whenever you feel like dipping in, looking for quick insights on leadership, judicial careers, founding a business or reading our thoughtprovoking pieces in our LW Opinion section. Let us know your ideas or feel free to write your own blog post and send it to info@LegalWomen.org.uk. ■
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
What are the criteria for publishing? These have evolved as our publication has grown – we publish role models who are an
LW magazine is for everyone qualified as lawyers, solicitors, barristers, advocates, judges, legal executives and those working as paralegals, legal secretaries, advisers or recruiters, the list is endless. We welcome the many male champions as readers and contributors.
Our mission is to: ■ P rovide clear information on gender parity ■ Inspire practical initiatives to create real change ■ Promote innovation in leadership and practice LegalWomen | 5
Editorial Board We are delighted to receive advice from the distinguished members of our Editorial Board. Full biographies are available on our website. ENGLAND & WALES Christina Blacklaws Past Presdient of The Law Society of England and Wales. Christina is a multi-award winning published author, speaker and frequent media commentator on innovation and diversity and inclusion. Millicent Grant QC (Hon) FCILEx Millicent is a former President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (2017/18) and currently a member of the Institute’s Appointments and Scrutiny Committee. Millicent has worked to tackle diversity and inclusion on the legal profession and judiciary, contributing to the Preapplication Judicial Education (PAJE) Programme. She is the only Chartered Legal Executive to be appointed an Honorary Queens Counsel. She is chair of the Knights Youth Centre, an independent youth work charity. Janem Jones practised for many years as a partner and senior partner in a West Wales firm where she specialised in Family Law, Education Law and Criminal Law. She now works as a consultant for Williams and Bourne as an experienced advocate. Sally Penni MBE is a barrister at Kenworthy’s Chambers, Manchester, whose practice encompasses Criminal (including Cyber Crime) and Employment Law. Sally is a Bencher at the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn, Founder of Women in the Law UK and regular broadcaster of the highly acclaimed podcast. NORTHERN IRELAND Karen O’Leary leads Caldwell & Robinson’s Family Law practice. Qualified to practice in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, and Wales, Karen is regularly consulted by government and state agencies on legal matters from other jurisdictions. She is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL). SCOTLAND Alison Atack Past President of The Law Society of Scotland. Formerly, Alison was a member of the Regulatory Committee and convener of the Client Protection Sub-Committee. She was a partner at Lindsays.
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Volunteer positions at Legal Women Currently, all of us are volunteers to get this publication going. If you would like to be involved in: ■ s ourcing and checking copyright on images ■ working on events and following up funding opportunities ■ writing content for social media, blogs and magazine features Feel free to email info@LegalWomen.org.uk with brief details about yourself. ■
LW | Recommends BOOKS Rodham Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld | Goodreads Hilary Rodham Clinton’s life reimagined as if she had decided not to marry Bill Clinton. No spoilers but she still goes into politics! Curtis Sittenfeld has a deep understanding of modern society and envisages the impact of sexism in an insightful way.
Erika Cheung She is now the co-founder and executive director of Ethics in Entrepreneurship, a non-profit with the mission of fostering ethical culture and systems for stakeholders in start-up ecosystems. MOVIES
This book was selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo for a series published by Penguin celebrating pioneering books depicting black Britain. Written by the barrister, Nicola Williams, who is profiled in this magazine. The novel follows black female barrister, Lee Mitchell, defending a financier on fraud charges. Great story which has been optioned for a TV series.
TED TALK Erika Cheung: Theranos, whistleblowing and speaking truth to power TED | Bing video The founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, an American former biotechnology entrepreneur, has been convicted of criminal fraud and is facing a sentence of many years in prison. This TED talk is from Erika Cheung, one of the key whistleblowers who prevented the processing of thousands of patients samples with faulty technology. Erika, who holds a degree in cellular and molecular biology and linguistics, was one of the scientists employed.
Duchess of Argyll This TV series looks at the public shaming of the Duchess of Argyll in a 1963 court case. It turned her private life into a media circus, and arguably, she was the first victim of revenge porn. There were many lurid facts in the case made public in a long judgment from the court and, sensationally, her husband made public a Polaroid picture of the Duchess, wearing only her signature string of pearls, with a mystery “headless man” in her Mayfair flat.
Without Prejudice Without Prejudice by Nicola Williams | Goodreads
PODCASTS Learning Our Time’s Fables By Law Commissioner Professor Sarah Green Professor Green gave the 2021 lecture in the series established by Next 100 Years after the legendary legal pioneer Dame Rose Heilbron QC. The lecture explores through a masterful series of ‘fables’, ‘how work patterns and their organisation are going to change for the long term and the importance that the diverse range of women’s voices are central to shaping those new patterns.’ You can watch the recording of the lecture on the Next100Years site Lecture Series – next 100 years or use the written version. ■
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Power of Blogging
Regional Employment Judge
ady Chief Justice Keegan from Northern Ireland explains that the judiciary in the whole of the UK are acutely aware of the need to improve diversity and have had considerable success in the lower courts but it still needs to feed through to senior positions (page 20). By publishing blogs, profiles and interviews with the judiciary, we hope you will consider if it is appropriate for you and gain some ideas of different routes to acquiring the skills needed. On this page you can gain insight from Joanna Wade, a Regional Employment Judge. In our next edition, we will also be looking at the role of lay members of FirstTier Tribunals, hearing from Eileen Flanagan and Ann Crighton on their experiences. ■
Joanna Wade MBE
oanna Wade MBE recounts her career in the Judiciary, which has relied on a varied prior working experience; starting with the excitement of shaping the Crisis Open Christmas, then working in policy, before running her own firm, to now witnessing the many catastrophic employment relationships, as a judge. Starting out It all started with the judicial oath: ‘I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will’. How could anyone not well-up when speaking those words? I had not expected to feel both the pleasure and the privilege of being a judge, but I feel them most profoundly. ‘Judging’ was not particularly in my game plan, in fact throughout my career I was ambivalent about whether I wanted to be a lawyer at all. I had always been an arts person and changed to law midway through my university degree because I suddenly realised what a powerful tool for social change it was. Administrative law was riding high, and I was strongly committed to changing the world for the better, a modest ambition for a 20-something year old! Although I enjoyed my training very much, I never felt like a proper lawyer because I always saw it as a tool rather than as an occupation in itself and I tried several times to escape but found myself typecast. It was also a world
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Power of Blogging
I knew; my main occupation for many years was as a volunteer running the Crisis Open Christmas shelter for homeless people, I never quite made the break. Maternity Alliance One of my more significant bids for freedom was the move from the private sector to work for a charity, the Maternity Alliance, reasoning that I could take my foot off the accelerator a bit and enjoy walking to work along the Regent’s Canal. The plan failed miserably in that the charity relocated further away and I became hooked on employment law! The European Court of Justice had just decided the famous Webb case and, naive feminist that I was, I had never before realised that rights for working mothers were an absolute core issue. I threw myself into policy work, writing and training on maternity rights and emerged with an MBE! Slightly on a whim, I applied during this time for a job as a fee paid ‘Chairman’ in the employment tribunal. Although there had been women judges since Dame Elizabeth Lane became a judge in 1962 (albeit more than 40 years after women were first allowed to practice as lawyers), it was still slightly unusual for younger women, and lawyers from unconventional backgrounds such as the voluntary sector, to be appointed. No one in authority saw the irony of my being appointed as a fee-paid ‘part time’ Chairman, and appointed I was, in 1998. We became ‘Employment Judges’ a few years later, and as we all agreed, at last our parents understood what we did! Founder of law firm There followed seven happy years in my own ‘boutique’ firm, which I founded with Camilla Palmer QC (Hon), specialising in maternity discrimination and developing a body of know-how in indirect discrimination. Then, one day, I realised that I did not want to litigate anymore; I wanted to bring resolution to disputes and I wanted, crass as that may sound, to be involved full-time in serving the public and delivering good quality justice. I was appointed to a salaried role in 2008. Salaried Judge I am so glad that I did not bail out on the law earlier in my career because being a judge is definitely the best legal job that I have had. I worked 80% of full-time hours for 10 years; jobs which are not client facing lend themselves very well to a variety of different patterns and so I enjoyed a good work/life balance as never before. It really is a privilege to be able to be guided only by fairness and justice, and as a qualified mediator I was involved in the early days of judicial mediation which is also very rewarding. I have always found my colleagues to be supportive and respectful; I decided that it was important to be openly gay, partly (obviously) so as not to have to be secretive about my life, but also in the hope that I could be a role model for aspiring new judges. The Judicial Appointments Commission works hard to improve diversity in the judiciary and I am pleased to have played a small part in that, very mindful of the fact that not all ‘protected characteristics’ are apparent, but all must be protected. Appointment as Regional Employment Judge 2019 felt like the right time to try something new and I was successful in being appointed to act as Regional Employment Judge (‘REJ’) in London Central, the substantive role following in 2020. This job has knitted together many of the experiences that I have had across my working life, starting with the terror and excitement of bringing shape to the chaos of the Crisis Open Christmas, through running my own firm, to the many
catastrophic employment relationships which I have witnessed as a judge. The main lessons from all this are ‘don’t panic, it’s not as bad as it seems’ and ‘the more you respect the people you work with, the more they will respect you’. Luckily the latter is not hard because I work with some exceptional colleagues (18 salaried and 37 fee paid), all of whom are deeply committed to delivering high quality justice.
“…air traffic controller, sitting in a tower, making sure everything lands safely”
I have compared being REJ to an air traffic controller, sitting in a tower, making sure everything lands safely. Sometimes I think that I’m not a very good air traffic controller in that we have quite a few near misses most weeks, but then I have never sat in a control tower. As the leadership judge, I work in conjunction with the administrative staff employed by HMCTS and together we try to ‘land’ hearings efficiently and according to plan, and to respond to the hundreds of interlocutory applications we receive every week. Unfortunately, administrative and judicial resources are a little too scarce at the moment and this puts our system under considerable strain. However, I am pleased that we are currently able to offer hearings in mid-2022 which is not too bad, and we have more judges being recruited over the coming year. Quite a bit of my time is spent recruiting and training new judges and non-legal members, and I also deal with complaints and respond to the many last-minute crises which inevitably pop up. Of course, COVID was a seismic crisis in many ways, and at London Central we had to learn almost overnight to run hearings remotely. The judges responded brilliantly and we have found remote hearings to be very successful, good for most cases and better for some although there will always be a benefit to in-person hearings in the right situation. Being a judge is an immensely rewarding experience and I would encourage you all to think about applying. There is a profound sense of coming home, being able to deliver justice to people who need it which is what the law is all about; the youthful me would never have guessed that this job was the one I had always wanted, but so it has turned out to be. ■
Joanna Wade MBE
Regional Employment Judge, London Central
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Power of Blogging
THE UK MAGAZINE FOR
ALL WOMEN WORKING
IN LAW | SEPTEM BER 2021
eadership means different things to different people and, as we have seen in the pandemic, its requirements can change. Our blog series is intended to give an insight into different types of leadership and how to acquire those skills. You can see our Leadership posts here (legalwomen. org.uk) and also refer to our feature in the LW September edition (pages 16 to 28) looking at leadership from many different angles, from Presidents of Law Societies to barristers; those in law firms to in-house lawyers.
Leaders: how do you become one?
Below are insights from Francis Ennis who talks about women in leadership roles, in relation to her position as Trustee for an important charity – The Homeless World Cup Foundation. ■
■ Deep fakes ■ Working in crim inal law ■ Making women visi ble
1 | LegalWomen Leadership
LW on Leadership
Leadership: view from Paralegals The Quick Read Paralegals are often brought in for specific projects but the variety in leadership styles was a clear issue for many. The more the paralegal feels part of the team and is brought on board by the leader, the more motivated they are and the more they are able to contribute. As business and technology develops involving new people often results in startling new perspectives. Paralegals reported demonstrating leadership by spotting ways in which the firm could develop (often technology or resource gaps). Initiative and having a wider view are fundamental leadership skills. Two paralegals who have shown this initiative by setting up networks give their views below.
Lotus Kimona Founder of T.P.N – The Paralegal Network What do you value as leadership skills? Integrity, humility and correction (flexibility to respond to ideas). Someone who acts with integrity in what they do as well as expecting you to do the same. I believe a leader is humble, recognising their mistakes and owning up to it when it happens and being able to admit when they are wrong. Also, recognising that their way may not be the best way! Finally, someone who can take constructive suggestions and give constructive suggestions in a respectful manner, bringing solutions and encouragement to team members. How are these skills nurtured / developed in staff? There are skills that can be developed in staff with the right policies in place and the right people in management positions. Management that can recognise the needs for each individual and can make decisions fitting for everyone. Allowing staff to grow and opening doors for opportunity within the workplace. Giving them responsibility to showcase their potential and work ethic. Do you think that the leadership skills valued by senior and junior staff are aligned? This depends on the company. From my experience, some are aligned and some are not.
o the best leaders have a natural ability, or can it be learned? At what stage can you demonstrate leadership skills, or if you don’t feel you have them now, how do you acquire these skills? LW asked a wide group of Legal Women these questions and more, to get an insight into what leadership skills are valued in today’s world and it’s clear that the old style ‘I’m the boss’ doesn’t create a work environment attractive to many, except perhaps the boss! Even then, the reality is that an autocratic style means the business is likely to take a nosedive in profitability due to missing out on new ideas and/or clients sooner or later. So,
listening to staff and actively creating the right sort of team you can lead, gives any business a competitive edge. The following pages capture the views of Paralegals, former Law Society Presidents, CILEX and its former President; lawyers working in Chambers, In-House, Third Sector (charities, public service etc) and private practice law firms. We would love to know your views; what leadership means to you and the extent to which it measures up in your workplace. Let us know on twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram or if you prefer not to have your name publicised email Legal Women confidentially. ■
Has the perception of leadership changed due to the pandemic (or during the recent past even if not related to the pandemic)? Yes, due to people working from home and being out of the office environment. If no proper measurements were put in place, then there is less support from management. Especially for those who had started training contracts and were being supervised over the phone or not much at all. ■
What do you value as leadership skills? ■ Respect i.e. self-respect and respecting others regardless of differences. ■ treating others with dignity, empathy and compassion. ■ Having a vision that will make a change, be achievable and is considerate of the wellbeing of the people they work with. ■ Passion for their role and team. ■ Diversity. ■ Ability to influence and motivate themselves and their team. ■ Transparency and honesty. How are these skills nurtured / developed in staff? ■ Training leaders on the values and importance of the wellbeing of their staff. ■ Listening to concerns and ideas of everyone regardless of the hierarchy. ■ Encouraging staff to bring ideas to the table and implementing them. ■ Being honest and giving constructive criticism. ■ Valuing the team for the strengths and ideas not individual backgrounds. ■ Implementing policies to make the workplace friendly enough for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. Do you think that the leadership skills valued by senior and junior staff are aligned? Yes. Has the perception of leadership changed due to the pandemic (or during the recent past even if not related to the pandemic)? Yes. I believe what we expect from leadership has changed. A leader is now someone who is flexible and emotionally more intune with their staff. A leader is not just required to supervise or set tasks but to come up with more creative ways of working and accommodating staff needs. ■
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rances Ennis, from a Scottish solicitors practice, talks about women in leadership roles, in relation to her position as Trustee for an important charity – The Homeless World Cup Foundation. Leadership “You’re in a promoted position. It’s time to stop learning and start leading”. This sentence, by a former senior colleague of mine many moons ago, has stuck with me ever since.
It’s stuck because it seems fairly fundamental to me that learning – about others and therefore about yourself, about both your chosen profession and the world outside it, must be the key to any personal or professional success, let alone leadership. What is the Homeless World Cup Foundation (HWCF)? HWCF supports national street football partners across the world. The players involved often come from backgrounds of homelessness, addiction or trauma. The Foundation arranges signposting, local tournaments, knowledge sharing, and training and development programmes to its partner teams. However, it is probably best known for arranging the Homeless World Cup Tournament, which brings together national teams from across the world. The tournaments typically take place in city centre locations, meaning that passers-by can drop in on their way to/ from work or shopping, or indeed make a day of it. The location 10 | LegalWomen
What makes a good leader? W
hile women have made up over half of practising solicitors since 2018, the profession continues to be led predominantly by men. The Women in Leadership in Law report from March 2019 found that the perception of unconscious bias was identified as the main barrier for career progression. One of the themes found was that women do not fit into the traditional image of a business leader, which can often hold them back. However, the perception of effective leadership is rather narrow, and does not always match up with the actual traits required to be an effective leader. As a junior solicitor who is also in a position of responsibility, I feel well placed to offer a helpful insight into what qualities actually make a good leader. I know how I would like to be treated by those who are more senior to me, and I endeavour to exemplify these traits myself. So, without further ado, please see below my top traits of what makes a good leader.
Mine Toufeq Co-founder of Legal Jargon, Deputy Chair of Association of Women Solicitors (London)
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Emotional intelligence It is vital for leaders to have a good understanding of the people and the company they are leading. Leaders need to be able to identify people’s strengths, which allows everyone to work together in a way which benefits the team as a whole. Leaders also need to understand a firm’s culture in order to motivate people in a way which inspires them. Leaders should not be frightened of asking employees what they would value, as this provides an all-important insight into your team’s culture. A team is likely to be filled with many different personalities. In order to lead a team on a long-term basis, leaders need to ensure that they do not outwardly take sides, and instead make all individuals feel at ease (unless the matter is particularly serious – see below). By being non-judgmental, leaders can ensure that they care for all the team, not just the most outspoken members. The confidence to make hard decisions Sometimes, a leader must face a difficult decision, and it is vital that they have the confidence to act. For example, if a partner in the team commits sexual harassment in the workplace, a leader should be willing to take appropriate action. This may result in negative consequences, such as the partner leaving and their associated workstream falling away, but is necessary to ensure that the team is properly protected. As leaders are often in charge of strategic decisions, they need to be open-minded. For example, the teams which have flourished most during the pandemic are those with a leadership team which was willing to consider flexible working and embraced the benefits this new way of working offers. Is legal knowledge necessary? A good leader’s skillset does not necessarily need to have direct relevance to the goals of their team, although this is likely to be useful to understand how the team functions. However, leaders will need to have the confidence of those working below them, and it may be that being a leader in their field inspires those below to trust their decisions. Does a leader need to be senior? Many people have leadership skills irrespective of their seniority. As leadership skills are transferable, these may have been built up in a previous career or through other activities. 18 | LegalWomen
However, leadership skills are generally refined through experience, and while juniors may have the requisite attributes, they need the experience and opportunity to demonstrate such skills – which usually doesn’t come until you are senior. One way to help train junior staff is to provide them with roles of responsibility. An important element of being a leader is leading by example. For example, the culture of a firm is often led by those at the top. If a CEO demonstrates an acceptance of discussing mental health, perhaps by discussing the difficulties they themselves have faced, it will give their employees confidence that they can speak up about their own mental health struggles. While a leader does not need to be senior, they should have the respect and confidence of those who are being led so that they can properly lead by example. Integrity Many people can be effective leaders, but to be a good leader, you need integrity. Leaders often chart the course of an organisation, and by acting with integrity, leaders inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Leaders who act with honesty and loyalty encourage their employees and often have repeat customers. How to support junior lawyers Junior lawyers want a leader they can learn from, who supports them and will actively encourage and trust them to try new things. Once a junior lawyer has proven themselves to be capable, micro-managing them is likely to be frustrating and may lead to a decrease in motivation and productivity. Juniors want to feel supported in a non-judgmental way to allow them the space and opportunity to become the best they can be in the workplace. A junior lawyer should know that they have the support of their leader, and that they can trust them and turn to them should something go wrong. It is the role of a good leader to provide them with that environment. Do the skills required remotely differ from those in the office? As all of the above skills listed are soft skills, a leader possessing these skills should be able to fit into any situation. A good leader should therefore be able to lead regardless of whether they are working remotely or in the office. However, leaders should consider if any of these skills are hampered by working remotely, such as communicating with your team, and should actively work to counteract that. For example, if a leader normally speaks to everyone in a team to ascertain their workload, but is unable to do that online, they should make sure that they implement a different method for ascertaining how busy everyone is. ■ Suzanna Eames, Vice-Chair of the Junior Lawyers Division and a Family Associate at Farrer & Co.
There was an historic moment in 2018 when the Presidents of the Law Societies of England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were all women for the first time. (L to R: Christina Blacklaws, Alison Atack, Eileen Ewing).
View from Former Presidents
The Quick Read Being a leader requires empathy and strategic thinking. The lack of alignment with junior staff often arises from a lack of communication and support. Leaders who live the values of the organisation attract good talent, those recruits in turn contribute and it creates an upward cycle of success. As a leader you have an opportunity to make your voice heard but listening to others is as important to your personal success and the success of the business.
Alison Atack Former President of The Law Society of Scotland 2018/2019 What should be valued as key leadership skills? Technical skills are an absolute necessity in a legal firm but critical –thinking skills required for leadership are just as essential. The best leaders know where they want to go, plan how to get there and persuade others to follow. There is an independence of mind and a vision of the future requiring analytical strategic skills, warning of potential problems/ solutions, listening and understanding the mood. A clear bluesky thinker who regularly takes time out to decide how to fight the battle before it even begins and persuade others to follow. It is not necessarily the senior or a manager in the firm but someone with vision, inspiration, motivation and who brings all components together making the whole more valuable. How are these skills nurtured / developed in staff? The Human Factor – Leadership focuses on one essential resource, the firm’s people, as diverse as possible; ensuring each one has the correct capacity to do the task. The Leader must be a good judge of all team members and know how to motivate, make eye contact, be seen and talk face to face at every opportunity. Leaders will ensure that the objectives are clear and known by everyone who needs to know, with a common purpose of managing excellent client service delivery and profitability, standing back from the detail. Help staff “buy in” by allowing consultation and involvement in the creation of the plan. Morale and well-being – maintain high morale, self-respect, discipline and confidence, limit undertakings for which the team members concerned are not ready or appropriately-trained. Leaders must also watch their own morale of course and radiate confidence. The Leader should know the team well and talk regularly to them to check their well-being and continued good mental health.
given to managing a legal firm e.g. cashroom, accounts, budgeting, professional regulation etc. Lawyers en route for leadership roles in some of the larger firms do have a training programme but it is not extensive and mostly comes after the decision to promote has been taken. Do you think that the leadership skills valued by senior and junior staff are aligned? I have seen many cases where they not aligned. This is essentially where leadership and the culture of the organisation do not reach out to the staff nor provide sufficient nurturing and training. Has the perception of leadership changed due to the pandemic (or during the recent past even if not related to the pandemic)? Leadership during Covid has inevitably changed without faceto-face meetings and team events. Usually one of the most important functions of a good leader is the ability to eyeball the team and discuss long-term ideas, look for signs of agreement, unhappiness, mental health and other health worries. However, everyone has adapted to virtual meetings and some people find it easier to voice ideas online rather than in a large Board Room setting. Good leadership would have in place a Disaster Recovery Plan in any event to deal with IT, communications, personnel, offices etc. but nothing would have prepared businesses for months of lockdown, illness, self-isolation etc. Globally, business including the law has been forced to find alternatives to keep going. There will be a legacy of the use of technology to facilitate flexibility and agility in the future Continued on next page
Training for Leadership – a good training regime is essential to nurture the future leaders of the Firm. In my experience this is not given any serious priority at the Degree/Diploma stage, at least in Scotland. I feel there should be more educational emphasis LegalWomen | 21
inevitably brings the issue of homelessness to the fore, with the professionalism of both the set up and the players really providing an opportunity to challenge public preconceptions. Football changes lives for the better. It’s that simple Involvement with a local street football team can give a player confidence, build trust in others and a sense of personal achievement. These all translate to other areas of life and often give players a springboard for obtaining employment, housing and personal security for them and their families. I heard one player once describing his local team as giving him something to get out of bed for every day. These regional teams are also often part of local inclusion programmes, including for LGBT+ players and girls and women, who are traditionally prevented from playing football in certain countries. Tournament team guide My interest in the Homeless World Cup Foundation began in 2016, when the tournament was held in my hometown of Glasgow. I volunteered to be a Team Guide for the Belgian team competing at the tournament, having spent a year at the Université de Liège as part of my degree of Law with French. The role of the Team Guide was to befriend the team, help with any practical issues (anyone know the French for “goalie gloves”?!) and generally make them feel at home at the tournament and city.
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A court lawyer might not be the most intuitive choice for this role. But at the time, I remember being very conscious of being comfortable and privileged in my corporate ivory tower, and I wanted to expand my horizons. Naively, the biggest question in my mind at the time was how I could apply my professional experience to the role of team guide. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that applying my skills to help others was only one, very small part of the process. The huge learning curve for me was that I had more to learn from the players than I could ever possibly reciprocate. There were so many memories that have stayed with me; as a volunteer I was given 5 days of 8-hour shifts, but I very quickly found myself staying with the team and coaches until the end of the day and joining players’ social events. One of the most striking parts of the tournament experience was walking around the athletes’ village and stopping to chat to people; some were players, some coaches, some volunteers. But you never knew who was from what background. There were no labels or invisible social structures. It sounds toe-curlingly clichéd but everyone was equal. It was a real eye opener for me of my own preconceptions, that I didn’t even realise I had. Many players have experienced trauma in their lives that very few of us could ever understand. Watching them play with so much pride and being cheered on by thousands, is the most incredibly moving, humbling and joyous experience, and almost impossible to translate to paper. Team guide to trustee The year after the tournament in Glasgow, HWCF advertised for several trustee positions and, having seen what the organisation did, I jumped at the chance. However, as with the tournament, I quickly found myself well out of my depth at the first Board meeting. I was… the only lawyer!!! No-one spoke ‘lawyer’. No-one thought ‘lawyer!’. Many on the HWCF Board are from social entrepreneurship, charities and the arts backgrounds. None of these disciplines are interested in my well-honed ‘worst case scenario’ lawyer default position! I quickly realised that much of my initial time on the Board should be spent listening and learning from the more experienced Board members.
It can be unnerving to be surrounded by Board members whose focus is on growth, or vision, or creativity. As a lawyer, there’s not much room for any of these when you’re analysing utilisation and realisation. But that is exactly why it’s important to be around people who approach a problem completely differently from me. Operating in a purely legal and commercial environment lets you see the world in a very specific way, one which doesn’t reflect how most of the world operates. And putting my cynical lawyer hat on, seeing how Boards operate in practice allows me to give better advice to my clients. What is abundantly clear is that the success of a strategy can never be down to just one Board member. It must always be following discussion amongst the Board, and with the incredible HWCF office team who are at the coal face. The decisions made are invariably reached after consideration of everyone’s views on what’s important and why. Challenges It will be no surprise to hear that the last two years have hit HWCF hard. We have been knocked off our strategic goals. There has been no flagship tournament for the last two years which greatly impacts global visibility for the organisation. Operations by, and with our partners have also been halted or restricted because of the pandemic. This is particularly galling given that the same pandemic has greatly increased the challenges faced by the players. Funding remains an ever-present factor for us as an organisation. We have sensible and resilient reserve policies, but the pandemic has hit us strategically and operationally. As an organisation we could be better at shouting about our incredible achievements, and accordingly, not shying away from asking for donations/sponsorship etc. With 1.2 million lives changed, $364m created in social capital, improvements in health, education and equality, the HWCF is a phenomenal organisation. I am proud to be a part of it. Anyone wanting to find out more about HWCF can go to https://homelessworldcup.org/ or follow us on social media. ■
Head of Litigation & Regulation at Bellwether Green
LegalWomen | 11
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Career Planning 30 years in and ‘out’ in the law M
aggie Hammond, lawyer and academic presents a reflexive account of her career … both in and ‘out’ in the law.
How it started I think with hindsight I had little choice but to join the legal profession and/or teach law. Many of my family were lawyers and those that were not, were working in education. All were political1. Some were lawyers and teachers – like me now. I grew up in a family where criminal law, crime and justice were discussed a lot. I was ‘accused’ of having developed an ‘overindulged sense of right and wrong’. They were right. I was in youth CND and the anti-league. I wanted to change the world. Childhood in law I used to read and discuss briefs, prepare cross examination questions, and take notes in court. School holidays involved a lot of sitting around in courthouses, going on errands with or for the court police sergeant, and sometimes serving tea to counsel in their private tearoom. I watched both my parents in court and many of their friends and colleagues. For these reasons, and many others, I wanted nothing other than to join the legal profession of which I knew too much. I knew I was different and would not have been accepted. Maybe not ‘bright’ enough and certainly not conventional enough to do well. Activism In my gap year (early 80s), before a modern history degree, I lived at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (for many cold months) to stop nuclear proliferation. My first degree followed, and involvement in student politics. We campaigned for NUS (the National Union of Students) to have a National Women’s Officer (the first was Julie Grant, who went on to be a barrister). It was part of what we called at the 12 | LegalWomen
Maggie Hammond time ‘liberation’ or ‘single issue’ politics. I spoke on lesbian and gay2 issues at the National Conference in front of thousands. The NUS held the first conferences for ‘single issue’ groups. I attended the women’s conference and lesbian and gay conference. I organised International Women’s Day events and a lesbian and a gay student activist conference at my institution. I became its first elected women’s officer. I was a pioneer. Backlash Then clause 28 hit as well as the AIDs crisis. Things started to change for our fledgling lesbian and gay community3. I was told there was a risk my grant (from my local authority) might be in breach of ‘the clause’, which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. I was ‘out and proud’. My intended careers (police, army or PE teacher) were fraught with risk on discovery, and I knew I could not ‘pass’ as straight. They were scary times and what ‘could’ I do next? Pride After my degree, I moved to London for work (the late 80s) in the hope that I might find work, despite my sexuality. There were difficult times for our community, with huge discussions around being ‘out’ or ‘outed’ at work (there was no employment protection for lesbians and gay men) and the risks or obligation to ‘challenge’ by ‘public displays of affection’ (also known as ‘holding hands’). I joined Lesbian and Gay Pride to be part of it. I became the first woman Chair and the first woman to lead the march through London (twice). I was less scared to be more of me, but not completely open at all times to everyone. For many of us, we were back to living different lives. ‘Lies by omission’ as we used to call it, or self-protection, by keeping work, home (and for many) their ‘pretended’ families in different places or hidden. First career I used the skills I had learnt as a student union officer to get a job at South Bank Polytechnic as it was (London South Bank University or LSBU as it is now). The job was as its first advice
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worker. While there, I took a professional qualification in advice work. My fees were paid. The course was law. I got a distinction. It wasn’t easy, but it was how my brain seemed to work well. It was somehow familiar – even though it was not a crime. Oddly it was housing (landlord and tenant) and all the statutory regimes that really fired me up. It was like all my brain was working, like it had been at the end of my degree. It felt like things were coming together.
LSBU After spells of teaching elsewhere and further studies (my LLM), setting up another business, I decided to begin my Professional Doctorate at Portsmouth University. This did not work with my part time in-house lawyering. There were not enough parts of my part-time left. I looked for a full-time teaching post to compliment my doctoral studies. I joined London South Bank University in 2016 as a full-time lecturer in law.
Conversion On advice, I converted my degree into a law degree part time over 2 years (CPE) while working full time at LSBU. I took a second job, as a warden in halls of residence, to help cover the costs, reduce travel time, make me stay in and work and help me save up for a deposit for a home of my own. I grew the Student Advice Bureau in the student union and was seconded to the University, where I became an Assistant Registrar and assistant to the Secretary and Clerk to the Governors. I was not convinced I would be accepted into the legal profession or into a trainee position in private practice. Again, on advice, I started the part time LPC (Legal Practice Course) while working at South Bank University. I worked on many interesting ‘legal’ projects with solicitors. I was beginning to believe I could do it – that I was clever and could be ‘acceptable’ enough to join the profession and become a solicitor.
Reflection So, it all comes full circle sometimes. I am a lawyer who teaches in higher education. Looking back on the above I feel both exhausted and proud. I am concerned I took so little time to acknowledge my own achievements. I do want to acknowledge my maternal grandma, who gave me her name, and collected all my business cards with huge pride to ‘keep up’ with my ‘great successes’. I am lucky to have had people at work who encouraged me to do more than I thought I could – thank you Lynn Gander. I am pleased I was able to give up on rejecting law, to follow my ‘natural’ instincts, become comfortable with being me, and use all of my collected experiences to get to where I am now. My ‘overindulged sense of right and wrong’ has helped me to help others and to change a bit of the world. To end where we started, with crime. Some good advice from Donna Tartt. She says: ‘…it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counsellor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.”’ ■
Trainee I got a final promotion in higher education to become the Head of Student Services. Brimming with self-confidence, I left my first career and a great job at LSBU to become the oldest trainee solicitor in the city (Taylor Johnson Garratt (‘TJG’).) The contrast between organisations was mind blowing. There was free tea and coffee. We had administrative support. I had use of 2 secretaries. There were whole firm parties. At one Christmas party, I led my fellow trainees in dressing as the 1966 England football team for a 1960s themed ball at the Savoy. I was trying to fit in and not. Change It was also the mid-1990s and AIDs in our community. I lost friends and wanted to make things better. I became the secretary of Pink Angels – a charity which raised money for AIDS charities through lesbian and gay venues in Islington (now largely closed). I was ‘out’ at work in my firm, and this was a challenge. I did and do look like the lesbian ‘we had all been warned about’ and they hated my shoes. Nonetheless, I asked, and the partners allowed our print room to help with Pink Angels publicity. This was brave, commendable, and given the times unexpected. I was incredibly well trained at TJG. I had changed because of being at TJG and emerged as a newly qualified solicitor. Self-employment After 7 years in private practice as a property lawyer and licencing advocate (at Lewis Silkin and Winkworth Sherwood), I left to set up my own business (in-house lawyer and freelance advocate) to fit in with childcare and create some balance. I also started teaching the LPC in the evening at South Bank University. I had kept in contact with the staff, and this got me my ‘in’. I had always enjoyed ‘teaching’ colleagues in private practice. I had admired some of the staff who taught me at university. I wanted to be good at it. I wanted to be as good as them. I wanted to be able to speak with no notes, like my grandad had done at political rallies years before. Yet again, it felt like coming home. Like this is what I was meant to learn to do next.
London South Bank University 1. Jim Hammond, my paternal grandfather. A miner’s leader and Communist. – Jim Hammond (trade unionist) – Wikipedia – Treading Orwell's road to Wigan | The Orwell Foundation 2. We did not use the current term ‘LGBTQ +’ 3. It was a new phase in the community of men and women organising together
Want more on Career Planning? If you would like to see more career planning posts you can find them here Blogs (legalwomen.org.uk) We have senior civil servants in the Government Legal Department, private practice as solicitors and barristers, working for banks and the third sector. If you would like to contribute a post, please contact us at info@LegalWomen.org.uk We would be delighted to hear from you whatever your stage of career. ■ LegalWomen | 13
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Founders Female-led businesses are growing in all sectors and our blog series is intended to give examples of others who have set up law firms, giving insight into challenges and some top tips to keep in mind. Here we feature April Bingham, co-founder of Bellweather Green and on the opposite page Deborah Watson, co-founder of Coote O’Grady.
pril Bingham is head of the Corporate section and cofounder of Bellwether Green. She talks here about how a little glamour and a lot of networking can help you on your way to success! A little glamour... It seems most likely that my decision to pursue a legal career resulted from watching far too much LA Law and Ally McBeal during my formative years. Dramatised law in the 1990s was big on budget, hair and glamour. The forerunners of Legally Blonde. My parents were massively influential too, although their business was hair, not law, it certainly had the glamour! Most importantly, they afforded me the sense that running a business was rewarding and within reach if I was prepared to put in the effort and cared enough about outcomes for clients. I spent a lot of time in my parents’ salons, helping out for pocket money as soon as I was old enough. When one of their team stepped out on the salon floor, “game face” had to be on – even if, as in my case, it was just to sweep the floor. Clients wanted to see things being done with dynamism and they wanted to be listened to attentively. For me, these lessons map perfectly onto other professional services, including law. Learning to network By the time I was qualifying as a corporate solicitor, I wanted to have my own firm. I loved the idea of making something of my own, from the branding through to the service delivery. Having trained at a medium sized Scottish firm where there was a very energetic and inspiring ‘noughties’ (2000s) social culture, there was a sense that anything was possible. I revelled in the prospect. There was also huge workplace camaraderie and I made lifelong friends. Early on, I was taken under the wing of a solicitor who had come to law later in life. She was a natural business developer and taught me a lot about networking. She helped me get over my newbie awkwardness and showed me how to be engaging and memorable. There was no pressure on me to win work at that stage in my career so I was able to use the time building my confidence and the beginnings of a network (which would later become so important). Co-founding a firm Far too often, I’d play my own version of fantasy football – fantasy law firm. Imagining how my legal pals might all work together one day and in what roles. A sort of Emma Woodhouse but for professional services. As it transpired, the most 14 | LegalWomen
important of these characters became my husband with whom I co-founded Bellwether Green. Another two pals joined us within a year and over the next decade a further four former colleagues joined the ‘Rams’, as we are apt to call ourselves. My colleagues at BG, whether friends who became colleagues or colleagues who became friends, bring home to me on a daily basis the importance of working with people you trust, respect and have fun with. In my view, work (of any kind) should be embraced as part of living – not just something you do to live. Of course, our business requires two things: talent, and people who need that talent. Looking back at the time we founded BG, I was either youthfully arrogant or totally naïve about how hard-won legal work is. Fortunately, I had a few clients to begin with but it took years to build a strategy and develop my network to one which consistently delivered the calibre and volume of clients I wanted my team to be servicing. Developing a network will inevitably sometimes be trial and error but, for meaningful results, it is essential to plan and focus. Paradoxically, having a family helped me with this. As each of my three children arrived, my time for business development shrank and I was forced to work out the most effective use of that time. The more focused I became, the better and more frequent the work-wins appeared to be. Patience and resilience are also key. Co-founding a business has been enormously fulfilling and lots of fun. I hope that my husband and I can show our children how to both apply and enjoy themselves in whatever career they pursue. Co-founding with your life partner is not for everyone and of course there is virtually no delineation between our business and family life but I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have done it any other way. Having someone who will supportively, yet fearlessly, challenge you is invaluable. That ethos has spread across the firm and I hope it will remain a strong feature among the leaders in our business as we continue to grow. Lastly, it turns out that neither the law, nor hard work are necessarily all that glamorous but, as a founder, you can create a little glamour as you go. ■
Head of Corporate & Co-founder at Bellwether Green
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what is different and why does it matter?
ounding partnerships can take many different forms. Here, Deborah Watson pays tribute to two founders who present the core values they established in a womenled business, employing some of the highly talented professionals who want flexible or reduced-hours work. Coote O’Grady was founded in 2016 after co-founders Caroline O’Grady and Stacey Coote identified a gap in the market for legal spend management services.1 Having worked together as Legal Operations Directors at AIG in 2014, Caroline and Stacey knew their skills complemented each other and in starting their own venture they could create a business that not only saved companies millions on external legal spending, but with an internal culture that focused on a flexible work-life balance around their young families and where business performance and results were measured not hours spent in the office. Women-led organisations and flexible working conditions As with all new businesses, while establishing Coote O’Grady™, Caroline and Stacey faced various challenges along the way, but at all times they remained focused on staying loyal to the initial values they created. Caroline and Stacey received no external funding to start-up Coote O’Grady, making cash flow one of the initial early challenges but bringing in part-time and flexible workers meant they were able to recruit some really talented people at a lower cost than full-time employees. As cofounders, Caroline and Stacey were committed to not only being a women-led organisation, but also to offering employment opportunities to women who had struggled in the past. During the initial recruitment drive, Caroline and Stacey were alarmed to find how many professionally qualified people, especially women with young families, were struggling to get part-time roles in the legal sector. This further cemented their desire to drive a flexible working culture within Coote O’Grady™ – as women shouldn’t have to end their professional career just so they can do the school run, nor should they have to take a role they are overqualified for just to be able to get part-time work.
Being women-led remains a core value at Coote O’Grady™, having leaders who understand the challenges of making work and family life compatible drives the beliefs from the top and both Caroline and Stacey have set an example to others in the organisation on how to make this work. Coote O’Grady™ have just recently expanded its senior leadership team and commitment to being women-led with the addition of two new (female) Partners and continue to grow its team of legal spend management consultants. Coote O’Grady provide award-winning legal spend management solutions, technology, and consulting on all legal spend management issues, combining real expertise with a personalised service. ■
Head of Marketing | Partner Coote OʼGrady™
1. Legal spend management is the practice of controlling outside law firm spend. Legal Spend Management enables businesses to track legal spending, keep on top of budgets, capture and track savings, and perform analysis all in realtime, giving the client a useful business tool rather than just a means of checking invoices.
Procurement Leaders Award In the early days, by leveraging historic relationships, Coote O’Grady won some big contracts which helped with initial growth and to establish a strong reference portfolio that helped win future business. Coote O’Grady also won the prestigious Procurement Leaders Award that helped grow the presence of their business in the legal spend management world. The partnership between Caroline and Stacey has continuously strengthened, even though they are based at opposite ends of the country, Caroline in the North East and Stacey in Essex. The pair’s qualities and strengths complement each other making it a winning combination for both business growth, and on a personal level, to reassure each other if and when any business challenges arise. As a small independent business, Caroline and Stacey focus on steady growth – doing the right thing for the business, its clients and employees without the growth and profit pressures experienced in larger organisations. In building strong partnerships with each other as well as both their clients and their clients’ law firms, Caroline and Stacey have managed to take Coote O’Grady™ into the business it is today – an organisation that is loyal to its original values yet provides great customer service over and above what is contracted for and has grown by over 70% against all odds during the pandemic. LegalWomen | 15
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aw is a high stress career so how do we also take care of our wellbeing? Our Wellbeing Blog gives several different perspectives and tackles issues such as, mental wellbeing, stress awareness, menopause. Our May 2021 magazine can also be accessed at pages 20 to 28 looks at what is on offer for all lawyers through Lawcare and other resources. It also focuses on the impact of the pandemic and bullying. All these articles are relevant and can be found here Legal Women May 2021 by Benham Publishing Limited. The latest post by Helen Pamely is about identifying stress signs. You can find the full blog here Helen Pamely (http:// legalwomen.org.uk/helenpamely.html) but below is an example exercise.
Stress Signature Exercise Why not try the below exercise? This acts as a great de-stressor as well as providing the groundwork for learning to tune into ourselves and identify our own Stress Signature.
Recharge in nature
Top 10 tips for reconnecting with nature
1. Take a deep breath through your nose to the count of four, allowing your stomach to expand. Pause for two seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of eight. Repeat eight times. 2. If you notice tension in your body, try nonjudgmentally to notice this but not get caught up in it. Gently return your concentration to the breathing exercise. 3. Then ask yourself the following question: what thoughts, feelings, emotions and bodily sensations are in your present-moment experience right now? 4. Allow a couple of minutes simply to sit with this question. 5. Allow whatever arises in response. Don’t try to push it away or grasp onto it; just let it be.
Get up early to watch the sunrise – a few minutes peace at the start of the day can set you on the right track.
Leave your curtains open a bit a night so you wake to daylight – this helps with setting a healthy sleep rhythm.
5 Walk or run without headphones, listen to the sounds around you – a lack of distraction helps to ground you in the present moment.
6. When you feel ready, open your eyes. 7. You may wish to note down any particular insight you gained into the thoughts, feelings, emotions and/or bodily-sensations noticed. Helen Pamely is a Partner at Rosling King LLP, Wellbeing Consultant, a Coach and a Psychotherapist. She is in the process of completing a MA in Mindfulnessbased Psychotherapy (www.therapywithhelen.com ; Insta: @helenpamely). ■
Reclaim your lunchbreak and get outside whatever the weather – leave your phone at home. A break outside away from your desk gives you perspective and improve your productivity.
If you live near the sea, a lake or a lido try cold water swimming which is proven to help diminish the ﬁght or ﬂight response – but do research it ﬁrst!
Try forest bathing – walk slowly through a wood and forest and just ‘be’, taking in the atmosphere with all your senses.
Go out at night and look at the stars – it’s a great way to calm a busy mind and connect with the world.
9 Grow your own vegetables, plants or ﬂowers in a garden, balcony or just a pot on a windowsill. Gardening is proven to beneﬁt your mental health.
Take every opportunity to watch and be around animals – no matter how small.
For emotional support call
0800 279 6888
Access online chat, email support, factsheets and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk @LawCareLtd
Company registration no. 3313975. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1061685. In Scotland No SCO39335
16 | LegalWomen
Have your morning coffee outside, see how many birds you can spot – this acts as a form of mindfulness, allowing you to be quiet and still for a moment.
“History is rectified” F
amously, a jury at Bristol Crown Court acquitted the Colston Four of criminal damage for tearing down the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. The prosecution argued that criminal damage had been committed and that Colston was “irrelevant”. The Barristers for the defence argued collectively that the legacy of Colston was “vital to deciding the case”. Edward Colston was a seventeenth century slave trader who left a legacy of circa £70,000 to the city of Bristol. It was argued that the existence of the statue in situ was in itself criminal. Sage Willoughby, one of the defendants, declared that the not-guilty outcome had ‘rectified’ history.
This reappraisal of events or ‘rectifying’ history has also been evident on our screens, first with the series Impeachment, about the corridors of power and palaces of justice of 1998 America. The drama unfolds from the perspective of the women involved in what was unjustly called, ‘the Monika Lewinsky scandal’. Lewinsky herself is a producer of the film, and in some sense is no doubt seeking redress for the unforgiving global spotlight on her at a moment when, as one character puts it “the internet has been invented”.
Credit: Poster for ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’ (FX Networks) https://www.showbizjunkies.com/tv/impeachmentamerican-crime-story-official-trailer/ “Where were the feminists?” asks one commentator on the BBC Women’s Hour programme reviewing the drama – possibly in the knowledge that Gloria Steiner, editor of feminist magazine Ms and spokesperson for what is often referred to as ‘second wave feminism’ movement, made a statement at the time in support of Bill Clinton, whose policy on women’s issues was ‘progressive’ compared with his counterpart in the republican party. This perceived wrong that Monika Lewinski was exposed to without support from feminists, reflects a current day sensibility. Our experience of ‘naming and shaming’ of ‘hate mail’ and the ‘global spotlight’ is linked to our experience of a 21st century worldwide impact and the inability to remove items from the internet; it is historically specific to our time. The complex discourse of power-relations that now circulates like common sense, has emerged over the past 40 years or so, in relation to a Foucualdiani1 notion, further theorised by feminists, of how power works and how it diffuses in the everyday. Another perceived wrong is the drama A Very British Scandal featuring the famous Edinburgh divorce Argyle v Argyle in 1963. The unhappy marriage of Heiress Margaret Sweeny and the Duke of Argyle, with the ‘spouse on spouse’ spite of an aristocrat couple, is reminiscent of Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf for its dark marital angst. What is different to the Albee play, is the emphasis on the woman as a victim of ‘slut shaming’, a term that has evolved
with the advent of the internet, but which fits this account with sharp retroactive insight. This piece focuses on the way in which the woman (and only the woman), in a fairly well-matched battle between a couple, is subjected to public shaming after the verdict. As creator and writer Sarah Phelps informs us in a credit, “The following day intimate details of the case made headlines around the world. The first time a woman was publically shamed by the UK mass media”. Credit: https://www.imdb. The patriarchal character of the com/title/tt14220870/ 1960’s justice system towards Margaret Sweeney is clear, and a brief interview with the Duchess of Argyl herself, 27 years later, gives her the last word. As with Impeachment, there is a sense in which a felt wrong committed against the women at the heart of these 20th century ‘scandals’, is being rectified by the female writers and directors, in the same way as the Colston Four claim their acquittal is History rectified. Esteemed historian of slavery, David Olusoga, spoke at the Colston trial saying the statue “represents the most important artefact of the changing relationship in this country to our slavetrading history”2. Similarly, these dramas are artefacts of the changing relationship of this country to a patriarchal history. ■
Academic and visiting lecturer The University of Law
A longer version of this article is available online with full referencing. 1. Foucauldian notion of power: The main text for Foucault’s seminal essay on governmentality, where he talks about how power works, can be found in the 1991 edition of The Foucault effect: Studies in governmentality : with two lectures by and an interview with Michel Foucault. University of Chicago Press. 2. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/davidolusoga-edward-colston-black-lives-matter-britain-georgefloyd-b1987625.html https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/ edward-colston-bristol-black-lives-matter-people-davidolusoga-b1987447.html LegalWomen | 17
Junior Lawyers Division
Why is telling your story important? My mentors shared their stories which was invaluable to my career
have been lucky enough to have had mentors from my first paralegal job all the way to my current position as Associate. Mentorship helped me learn and understand the area of law I work in and what it takes to succeed in it. It has also helped me find my way through to the right job that will give me the progression I want. My first paralegal position was in a large firm, in a department I had no previous experience working in. Completely new to working in a large team, having previously worked one to one with a partner in a high street practice, was a baptism of fire. Lots more people requesting my assistance, more questions to answer and more work than I could cope with. An associate and managing associate mentored me during this time. They helped by sharing example documents, sharing stories, and having regular catch-ups. By explaining the situations, they had been in before and of mistakes they made, I had inside knowledge in what to look for, how to prepare and how avoid it in the future. I had a thought process born from years of experience (my mentors) before completing each piece of work. Not only did it help me produce great work, it meant that I gained their trust and confidence to carry out tasks that weren’t usually given to my level of post qualification. I learnt that mistakes do happen and most of the time there is a simple solution, which is invaluable when you are starting out in your legal career. When I moved firms on qualification, I knew what I wanted from my career and knew the benefits that a mentor in a senior role would give me as I start out in this firm. I wanted the knowledge and experience of someone in the firm in the same department who had been through the process of promotion that would be able to help with understanding the requirements for progression, be able to give an insight into internal dynamics and an insight into the individual characters of the lawyers I would be working for. I spoke to our equal opportunities partner about getting a mentor who was separate from my immediate local team. They arranged a senior associate in 18 | LegalWomen
another office who had been in the firm for a few years. I now have regular catch-ups with my mentor where we discuss my current workload, any queries I have in relation to the work I am doing and my intentions for promotion. In between my regular catch-ups I can talk to them whenever I feel I am struggling with workload or if I need to ask a technical question. I can utilise that experience, so I am prepared going forwards. My mentors have always been lawyers within the firm that I have been working in at the time. Whilst they may have worked in the same firm the advice and support, they have given me has never been restricted to that firm. Honest conversations with my mentors have always been beneficial, from sharing their experience that related to mine through to putting me in contact with lawyers, they know in other firms, who have then offered me jobs and opportunity to get the role that I want. What I have learnt is that there is a place at every stage of your career for a mentor, someone to share their experiences of when they were in your position, how they dealt with adversity that you may be facing, and what is required when going for promotion (i.e. what are the partners really looking for and who is going to making those decisions). As junior lawyers we can often feel the need to be perfect at everything that we are asked to do and so forget that we are learning as we go. Whilst supervisors are there to check that what you are doing is correct, there is a place for mentors at all stages, to provide that unfiltered open conversation that will ultimately help with your career goals. ■
Associate at Mills & Reeve LLP and Executive Committee Member of Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society
Junior Lawyers Division
Networking Alisha Liu, a lawyer qualified in China and Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme candidate in England and Wales talks about arriving in the UK and reviews some of the differences between the two jurisdictions, particularly networking.
arrived in the UK in 2019 to receive a common law education and I am now a Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS) candidate and in the process of getting qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales. I am qualified in China and practised at a top tier law firm in Beijing before coming to the UK. I wanted dual qualification, because I believe my practice experience in China is unique and useful for some clients in the UK legal market. Compared to many British law firms with long histories, law firms and the legal market in China are much younger. This ‘young’ legal market has kept learning from the mutual one in the West. However, because of cultural differences between the two societies, the legal markets also vary. As a qualified Chinese lawyer, I would like to highlight some of the differences in the networking culture. In the UK, there are many law societies and professional groups for people to join which support their careers. For example, for young professionals, there is the Junior Lawyer Division of the Law Society, and the London Young Lawyer Group. These groups organise various networking events to support juniors at the start of their career. There are many other networking events to join for lawyers at different stages of their career. In addition, depending on the type of networking event, there is generally an opportunity for people to walk around and network with new contacts.
Many Chinese lawyers, however, tend to join various business groups or political groups. Compared to the less dynamic networking culture of law societies in China, these business or political societies are intensely active. This brings a lot of business opportunities to the lawyers. In China, the most frequent practice is to have meals together in restaurants. Whereas in the UK, it is usual to take clients out for a drink to a pub, in China the ‘alcohol table culture’ is the preferred way. A group of people, some strangers, and some acquaintances, go to a restaurant together and talk about their business for many hours! One explicit advantage is that you can communicate with people in a closer, and more thorough way. However, it is necessarily small-sized, and it takes up a lot of one’s private life. ■
Foreign Legal Advisor (Qualified in China) In future editions we plan to include networking tips. Lawyers at all stages of their careers can find networking daunting but often its purpose and process is misunderstood. We would like as many ideas as possible, so do please send in any questions you want addressed or any approaches that work well for you.
However, in China, the culture is quite different. Firstly, the law societies in different cities adopt a more regulatory role rather than a supporter role. They have regulatory powers in a similar way to, for example, the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Standards Board. Secondly, there are fewer events held by such law societies, and lawyers tend to be far less active as professionals than they are in the UK. In terms of the networking culture, the UK law groups are perhaps more resourced. LegalWomen | 19
An interview with Lady Chief Justice, The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan LCJ Keegan
n September 2021, the Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan was appointed Lady Chief Justice in Northern Ireland; the first woman ever to hold this post. Her career started in 1994, when she was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland and appointed Queen's Counsel in 2006. During her career at the Bar, she served as Vice Chair of the Bar of Northern Ireland, Chair of the Young Bar, Chair of the Family Bar Association and Chair of the Bar Charity Committee. She was a long-standing member of the Bar Professional Conduct Committee. In October 2015, she was appointed as a High Court Judge, together with The Honourable Madam Justice McBride; the first two appointments of female lawyers to the High Court in Northern Ireland.
Another challenge, was that I wasn’t quite getting work that I wanted, that male counterparts were getting, particularly criminal and commercial work. This has changed because of the discussions around briefing practices. As I progressed, I worked on cases in civil, family, judicial review and some criminal. I wanted a challenge and that’s how I became a high court judge.
Lady Chief Justice Keegan, was appointed as a Coroner in July 2017 and was the Presiding Coroner from September 2017 until September 2020. She was assigned to hear Judicial Reviews from 2017 until 2020 and was the Senior Family Judge in the High Court of Northern Ireland from April 2020 until her appointment as Lady Chief Justice. During her tenure in the Family Division, she was also the designated Northern Ireland judicial member of the International Hague Network of Judges(i).
What is your view of gender parity in the legal profession? A milestone which was very important for me was in 2015, when I was appointed with Madam Justice McBride. There’s been a growth of female lawyers being appointed to different judicial posts. We need to do better on that. The profession is made up of an equal proportion of men and women but there is an attrition rate of women leaving the profession, after seven to fifteen years in practice. This needs to be tackled so that there is space to have time out and then return to careers. It is essential to have a pool of female lawyers in higher levels of practice as QCs or partners, from which to select for progression to the judiciary. In 2021, women represented 50.3% across the whole of the judiciary. This needs to continue into senior positions.
What is the significance of being the first female in this role? It is personally very significant for me; a great honour, a great sense of achievement and a big responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously and grasp the challenge it presents because I want to build on that and hopefully provide some inspiration. I think the bigger achievement is reflected in the reaction of wider society. It is a signpost to young women, as well as men, that they can achieve the highest office. This is important feedback I have received from people in the profession, particularly young women. I did not come from a legal background. I went through a very good education system. I hope I am a template for hard work, resilience and ambition. You need all of those and often some luck or good-timing and that all coincided and got me where I am today. Putting aside the legal profession, the wider societal issue is that it is important in all professions, that roles are not only open to both genders, but can be seen to be held by both genders. What challenges did you experience? A challenge when you start in a profession like law, is that you start without a notion of what it actually entails. When I graduated, I was told it was overcrowded and if you don’t have connections, you won’t get too far. I was told certain areas of law implicitly formed a hierarchy. I decided to keep my head down and work hard and took on whatever cases came to me. Northern Ireland has the benefit of being a small jurisdiction. It is more specialist now, but before you could practice in lots of areas, and this gave me a broad set of skills.
20 | LegalWomen
A further challenge was the low number of women at the Bar. When I was called, there were sixteen men and four women. It was male-dominated and there were no female high court judges and very few female silks. That changed in the 1990s and 2000s. We are in a better place now for gender parity.
There is more openness and transparency now, explaining to candidates that no one-size-fits-all model for a judicial role and that everyone interested should apply. It is a notion of transferable skills, which you can take from one area to another. Judicial office is not just academic ability but involves many other issues, such as fairness, personal qualities, management skills and a general ability to understand our society. No one should be discouraged from applying regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, your ethnic background, community background or disability. It should be a level-playing field. What processes would assist with gender parity in the profession? I am interested in continuing with support for mentoring for women in law. I was involved in this whilst I was at the Bar prior to becoming a judge and I thought it was very important. Mentoring and peer support have been effective in different roles not just in law. Women don’t tend to have networking structures that men have, although that is changing. Mentoring even informally is important. The Law Society is continuing to work on this. It is refreshing that men are mentoring women and vice versa. I’m interested in reverse mentoring as used in a commercial environment. Young women mentor senior executives and point out how the meeting was held, and provide feedback to the senior executive.
We all need mentoring, but legal mentors or role models were scarce during the 1990s in Northern Ireland. I looked further afield and saw that women were progressing in England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland and in the Supreme Court in USA. However, I had family mentors, not professional women, but they gave me advice and support. I had one professional woman in my family, my aunt who was a teacher and became the school principal. I do not think I realised at the time, but I think that did inspire me to think ‘I can do this’. I do not underestimate the power of home mentors, those below the radar, not titled but in their quiet way, they did as much for me as the superstars in the legal world. What changes would you like to see in the judiciary? I want to build on the work of my predecessors and promote openness and transparency of the judiciary by reaching out. It did seem a mystical profession but now it is more open, and I think that’s good. There is a need to look at how we could do things better. For example, digitalisation has evolved, and it’s made us realise that we can conduct business in different ways, and it’s cost effective and efficient. We are learning from that. Digitalisation is also good for those who have caring responsibilities and are barristers and solicitors. It removes the necessity to travel to court if case management hearings etc. are remote. It’s good for gender parity. Do you think there is an impact on judicial decisions by virtue of being a female justice? I think being a judge and a woman, you bring your own experiences. I get a bit worried that women are categorised as a homogenous group because all women are different. We underestimate that very many men are understanding of equality issues and of feminism. I think that the understanding is different and the confidence the public have in the judiciary is different due to greater involvement of women, but not actual decisions. I would suggest my background in family law makes a difference to how I approach things. I have an understanding of the vulnerability of people that may be hidden and the importance of communication of decisions in an accessible way. I was always aware of maintaining the dignity of the people in front of me and letting them understand what was happening. This gives particular skills in managing difficult cases. What have been the most significant developments in your career? My legal career has been categorised by quite an early ascent throughout my time at the Bar. I was junior counsel for twelve years, taking silk at 35, which was due to getting very high-end work dealing with children in the higher courts. After nine years as a Silk, I was keen to find challenges in other areas of law and this prompted me to apply for the Bench. This did lead to completely different areas of law, for example, dealing with the law as a coroner. One significant case in my career was quite recent and concerned a substantial highprofile inquest which was a year-long. It dealt with an historical event from 1971 where multiple deaths occurred in West Belfast. Clearly, there were many complex and delicate issues to grapple with, given the political context and the issue was to find a resolution after all this time. I managed to progress it through strong case management and a will to finish it. It was a significant accomplishment for me and I’m proud to have written and issued that judgment within a reasonable time(ii).
Do you have any advice for our readers if they are interested in joining the judiciary? First, there is no substitute for hard work. I got where I am through hard work, running cases that others didn’t want to do. You must put in the groundwork. For younger people in the current climate, you need to distinguish yourself. Look at growth areas or expertise which others don’t have. For example, areas such as social media issues and data protection. Get involved in a topic that suits you and acquire the expertise, write articles, research it, attend lectures on it. Those are the academic-type issues. In terms of the fuller picture, I would say there are number of things that you need, when seeking to become a judge. You need to get over fear of failure. There will be disappointments in the profession but that should not stop you from applying again for judicial office. You need resilience if you want to apply, and you must persist. Equally, there has to be self-reflection as well and you may realise that judicial office is not for you. The ultimate touchstone is having confidence in your own ability. You will have lots of people that critique you and undermine you when you start, but you need to follow your own path. You do have to develop a thick skin; it does pay off. It is a fantastic career and a privilege acting in life-changing decisions. I loved the Bar because I had great freedom, great friends and no-one should underestimate what a great career it is. Being on the Bench is different because you are employed, so you must adapt if coming from the Bar. Decision-making is down to you which can feel more isolating than practice, but it is compensated for by having really good colleagues, as I have. I’ve adapted and love my judicial career thus far. Given the hard work required, do you have advice on wellbeing for lawyers? Work life balance is crucial. There’s an issue that because you have to work very hard, you can become one-dimensional and burn out unless you take breaks. If you are not happy and healthy in your life generally it will impact of your work life. Young people need to be careful in the current world not to be too accessible, given that you can work remotely, go to conferences at all hours all over world, email is constantly on etc. You have to turn off technology. It’s particularly difficult for young women managing a career and children. Proper maternity provision and childcare support is essential. I think the Bar and the professions have got better on this. The final word It is great that young people are reading this. I remember going to lectures and saw people I thought were way ahead of me and thinking, if I can relate to this person, then I can make a step in terms of my own career. It gave me drive. I hope I have offered inspiration to others or at least encouraged women to think about various possibilities. ■ (i) L ady Chief Justice The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan | Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (nijac.gov.uk) (ii) Ballymurphy Inquest | Judiciary NI Jointly written by Coral Hill and Bhini Phagura, Solicitor, Rayden Solicitors.
LegalWomen | 21
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Digital AP1: five things conveyancers need to know HMLR
announced the landmark decision to mandate all register applications to be submitted digitally from Autumn 2022, the first of its kind. The change is being implemented to reduce requisitions, resulting in a faster and smoother overall process. It will however involve preparation as firms undergo this significant change to their current method. With a little under a year to have all firms transition to submitting digital AP1s to make changes to the register, it may feel like there is plenty of time begin switching processes in your firm. With the deadline announced and a clear path to further the digitalisation of the conveyancing process, firms should be on top of the key challenges they need to overcome during the transition.
1. Paper forms are disappearing From November 2022, paper forms for applications to change the register will be made obsolete. With around 80% of the industry still submitting some sort of paper form, whether a scanned PDF or documents sent through the post, there’s a long way to go. If your firm currently populates a paper form or PDF from the matter within your case management system, you’re going to require a new process because you will not be able to submit any other way, except digitally. What does this involve? There are two options available to firms, either setting up a new digital process with HM Land Registry’s DRS directly or by working with an integrated specialist software supplier that uses the Land Registry’s Business Gateway. At InfoTrack, we’ve been providing an integrated digital AP1 service since 2016. 2. Get familiar with validations Validations are a way to reduce the risk of a requisition being raised by minimising incorrect or incomplete information being submitted. By including validations, HMLR caseworkers can process applications quicker and more easily, with less risk of questions or additional document requirements. Paper forms don’t have validations set within, so traditionally people have been able to submit any information they prefer on the forms. To minimise the risk of requisitions, firms will need to familiarise themselves with the standard requirements and validations required by HMLR. This will differ depending on the type of transaction and will be a key part of the process of adopting digital AP1s. If you don’t understand the validations in the digital systems, it could slow down submitting your AP1 and result in more requisitions, overall slowing down processing of applications. 3. Consider your requisition management process Requisitions are undoubtedly a pain point for firms when processing the AP1s. While we can’t eliminate them completely, there are way you can reduce how many are raised and improve how they’re managed to make the process less of a burden. Many firms still manage their requisitions manually, whether using a large whiteboard system in the office to manually diarising reminders for key dates. This process carries an ongoing risk of missing deadlines. The transition to digital AP1s will require firms to reconsider how they manage their requisitions and how they will move to a new process. Whether managing requisitions, cancellations,
early completions, or registered AP1, a system that provides transparency across all applications within the firm is essential. Missing key dates delays transactions and cancellations will result in loss of priority, so getting on top of your process to avoid potential issues early will ensure a smoother switch to submitting your AP1 digitally. 4. Evaluate your AP1 draft and approval process Post-completion teams within firms can often involve various team members preparing drafts while others submit. Firms will now need to review their current process and how they can migrate to a digital process as well. What to consider when reviewing? Users need to know where to find and access drafted applications within the firms so submissions can easily be managed with no disruption to workflow. Currently, the Land Registry’s DRS doesn’t allow multiple users with different login to review the same applications. Firms will need to find a way to review applications made online, whilst ensuring they do not duplicate or lose data, which would obviously cause serious delays. 5. Start training now We’re confident that moving to a new digital system for AP1 applications will improve the accuracy of submissions, help reduce requisitions, and ultimately speed up the process but, you can never be too prepared. To get ahead of the deadline, firms must ensure their teams are prepared for the migration to completely digital AP1 applications. Ensuring users are trained on the system, familiar with the new digital process, and up to speed on the changes that will affect how they submit will put you in great stead to make the process of moving to digital applications simple and hassle-free. We know from experience that this takes time, so we’d urge all firms to start organising themselves around the new digital approach sooner rather than later. Bonus tip: Be prepared for changing fee calculations The Land Registry has also announced a raft of fee changes that will be applicable from January 2022. This will affect all firms and systems will need to be updated for quoting, accounting, and how fees are calculated. Currently, the HMLR fee bands are not synced with firm calculators, meaning users will have to review a table in the practice guide to manually determine which fees will be applicable for files that are now being onboarded. This could cause difficulties related to reconciliation and billing if fees are different when firms lodge the AP1 later down the line. This is going to involve preparation work by firms to ensure they are ready for the fee changes and already accounting for the changes on all new matters. We know that changing your processes can feel like a challenge, which is why our post-completion experts at InfoTrack are happy to help any firm looking to make the switch now. Ensuring your firm is aware of the changes that are coming in 2022, you can be prepared to instil processes to make the migration to digital AP1s as hassle-free as possible. To find out more, talk to our post-completion experts. Visit www.infotrack.co.uk/digitalap1 or call 0207 186 8090. ■
LegalWomen | 23
50/50 Gender Project
50/50 by 2030 Gender in the Legal Profession Project IBA/LexisNexis RoLF
ignificant progress has been made in recent years to pursue gender parity in the legal profession. More than half of all law school graduates and trainees are female, but a notable disparity endures when it comes to representation at the most senior levels of the profession. The role of the legal profession and lawyers is integral to every society. From law makers to law enforcers, from legal advisors to human rights defenders, it is critical that a gender balanced voice emerges at all levels. On 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day, the International Bar Association (IBA) launched ‘50/50 by 2030’ a groundbreaking, longitudinal study into gender disparity in the legal profession, in collaboration with LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation (LNROLF). This nine-year initiative seeks to facilitate an informed and effective gender policy blueprint to benefit all legal sectors globally. In support of the project launch, IBA President, Sternford Moyo, stated, ‘We need a global legal profession that not only understands and appreciates the need for diversity and gender equality but will take action to ensure their realisation. We cannot continue to have so few eminently qualified and capable women denied parity in senior roles.’ By providing empirical evidence of entrenched barriers and assessing measures being taken to correct the imbalance, we can draw up a blueprint of best practice across different legal sectors. The project will cover sixteen jurisdictions, chosen
Gender representation across the legal profession 24 | LegalWomen
to run alongside a decade of action for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 5 on Gender Equality. In 2021, a pilot study was carried out in England and Wales, seeking statistics and information about work being done to promote gender equality across four legal sectors. The following groups were asked to partake in the survey: 1. Private: Top 200 Law Firms1 and top 20 Barristers’ Chambers2 2. In-house: FTSE 100 Index Companies3 3. Public: Four departments employing legal professionals in the UK public sector: – Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – Government Legal Department (GLD) – Serious Fraud Office (SFO) 4. Judiciary: Judicial Office Seniority in the four sectors was determined as follows: ■ L aw Firms: Partnership level and above (with specific information also sought about representation at executive level); ■ Barristers’ Chambers: QC level; ■ Corporate (in-house legal teams): Senior management level, GC, Board Members; ■ Public Sector: Senior Civil Servant level (SCS1 and above); ■ Judiciary: Senior members of the judiciary – High Court and Court of Appeal
Female lawyers overall
Female lawyers in senior roles
50/50 Gender Project
Our findings – in summary ■ 9 5% of respondents have gender parity initiatives in place. Organisations perceive that specific gender policies are either very or somewhat effective in promoting women to senior positions in the profession. ■ Unconscious bias training is perceived to be the least effective means of increasing the number of women in reaching positions of seniority, however, it is the third most popular approach taken. ■ Flexible working arrangements are the most popular measure to increase the number of women in senior positions – more than half of respondents consider this to be very effective. The average length of time this policy has been used indicates that this was the case pre-pandemic. ■ Training and coaching women for leadership positions is somewhat effective, but best used in conjunction with other policies to maximise impact. ■ Quota setting is the least popular policy to adopt but is either very or somewhat effective.
Popularity of gender balance initiatives across the legal profession.
Flexible working is the most popular initiative, the one perceived to be the most effective initiative and the one in place the longest (6.6 years on average).
Our report on the pilot study in England and Wales will be available shortly, but in the meantime, more information about the project can be found here: https://www.ibanet.org/genderequality-in-the-legal-profession. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Director of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute commented: ‘The law needs good women at the most senior levels; for too long women have been denied justice in aspects of their lives because the law was created from a male perspective and embedded in the fiction that the law is neutral. I know from my international work that this is a global issue. We need more female lawyers at the top. More senior partners in law firms, more senior judges. The discourse on any subject is improved when it involves diverse voices. This is the route to real justice.’
Unconscious bias training is widely used but perceived to be the least effective of all the initiatives.
Quota setting is the least popular initiative but is perceived to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very effective’.
Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, IBA Vice President and Partner at law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, Spain, said: ‘Despite good intentions, we still don’t reach the most senior positions across the legal sector mainly due to discriminatory obstacles placed in our paths. The legal sector cannot afford this contradiction and should lead by example. With the benefit of raised general awareness around discrimination, it is time for increased action.’ The IBA regards diversity and inclusion, bullying, sexual harassment and mental wellbeing in the global legal profession as issues of utmost importance. Our efforts have raised awareness and made a positive contribution, but more needs to be done. We will continue to advocate on these issues with key stakeholders to ensure positive and constructive progress in our pursuit of a balanced and healthy profession. ■
Legal Director at the IBA 1. https://www.thelawyer.com/top-200-uk-law-firms/ (excluding firms with offices only in Scotland) 2. https://chambers.com/guides/uk-bar/leading-sets 3. https://www.hl.co.uk/shares/stock-market-summary/ftse-100
Respondents who voted that their gender initiative is “highly effective” in relation to the number of years that the initiative has been in place.
The public sector has the strongest women representation both as a whole, and at a senior level (64% overall, 57% senior level) and has been implementing gender initiatives for the longest period of time.
LegalWomen | 25
6 telltale signs it’s time to change your
legal practice management software – By Julian Bryan, Managing Director, Quill
s it time to switch your legacy practice management software? Nobody likes change. And when it comes to your practice management software – there’s a lot at stake. Many law firms hesitate to change legal software providers because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive.
a few years in that you’re paying for a lot of features that are “nice to haves” or ones your team rarely use. Perhaps it is better to find a supplier that allows you to pick and mix solutions for more flexibility. Have a look at Quill’s flexible pricing and available add-on boosts for inspiration at www.quill.co.uk/legal-software/pricing.
But what about the benefits of growing, evolving and progressing your practice? Let’s take a trip down memory lane… ask yourself: why did you invest in a practice management system in the first place? You must have had high hopes for it: you thought it would improve productivity, streamline procedures, help you go paperless, keep you compliant and support your revenue goals. Remember those days? Now, ask yourself – do you still want the same things for your business today? Of course, you do!
Telltale sign #4: Your software is clunky to use and needs a facelift There’s nothing worse than struggling to get to grips with a system that’s supposed to streamline the day-to-day and help you to multitask. We all know slow, bulky systems with an outdated interface will be rejected by your users and ultimately slow down adoption. Adding insult to injury is the fact that many practice management software vendors have raised their prices, yet this funding hasn’t found its way back into the actual software yet. If your system feels fairly clunky and old looking, then it’s time to consider moving to some of the newer kids on the block that are investing in a better user experience.
So, which do you prefer? Taking on the challenge of switching to a better practice management solution, or carrying on living with the failing “legacy” system? To get to the bottom of this, it’s best to understand the telltale signs that your system needs a reboot. Here’s a helpful list of six tell-tale signs it’s time to make the switch. Telltale sign #1: The cost of your software has risen, but its features don’t stack up With a number of independently owned software companies now acquired, your current vendor may be going through a number of management changes, which will often lead to a slowdown in research and development and worse still – costs increases. That’s bad news for you as a customer, as you’re paying more for the same product. Adding “value add” services such as customer success teams, free webinars, and more ‘comprehensive’ packages only attempt to hide the fact that the core product you purchased is now costing you more than it did before. In the meantime, we all know that the legal industry is continually shifting – new rules, regulations and legislation are commonplace. The importance of an ongoing development roadmap is clear – evolve and comply; be stationary and don’t. In this situation, it’s best to consider turning to the independently-owned suppliers who are still clearly investing in improving their products. Telltale sign #2: Your team is still doing a lot of manual and paper-based work There are so many inefficiencies associated with a paper-heavy environment. There’s only ever one master copy of paper files. It can only ever be in one place at one time. Collaboration is harder if you’re working remote. And it’s a versioning and logistical nightmare. On top of this, there are all of the disadvantages that come with paper – waste of storage space, damage to the environment, information security risk, lack of transportability, higher costs and more. If your processes are still heavily paper-based – why? Would it help if your practice management software offered document management capabilities? What about submitting online forms? Options like allowing you to label and find matter files quickly, access document templates and legal forms, bundle everything for court and record time as you go are now available in newer document management systems and it’s well worth investigating. Take a look at our ‘How to go paperless in 2022’ guide and understand the benefits of ditching paper at www.quill.co.uk/ resources/ebook-how-to-go-paperless-in-a-law-firm-2022. Tell-tale sign #3: You’ve grown and your software hasn’t grown with you When you first started up your business or joined your practice, it’s likely you deliberately kept things small – your organisational structure, office space and software tools. As you’ve grown, no doubt you’ve expanded your staffing and moved to bigger offices. But what about your IT? After having just lived through a global pandemic, the world has changed – including our tech requirements which differ vastly from 18-plus months ago. For instance, cloud computing should be a no-brainer, but not every software supplier has made the switch! Alternatively – perhaps you were dazzled by a sales demonstration and decided you needed all the bells and whistles of a pricier practice management system. You may realise 26 | LegalWomen
Tell-tale sign #5: You are no longer a priority and receive little support after the sale First of all, when adopting a practice management system, it’s important you choose a practice management software vendor that can offer hands-on, interactive training and support. Some vendors are focused on closing the sale and then you never hear from them again. So what happens when you need technical, training or account management help? Should something go wrong or if you have a new starter seeking training, you’re reliant on helpdesk and customer support services and they’re not always responsive. Make sure to ask for references from clients or better yet – ask the sales team to call their support team during your demo! What you’re trying to ascertain is how the after-sale support wil be. Check out reviews on Capterra, speak with employees, read case studies and research credentials (ie. LSSA membership) before you place your software order. And don’t dismiss the power of your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.Read on for how Quil manages data migration and offers training and support at www.quil .co.uk/legal-software/legal-software-data-migration. Telltale sign #6: Nothing integrates seamlessly and you’ve been hit with hidden charges You could be using one system for performing AML checks, another for managing your documents, another for recording time, another for accessing legal forms, another for logging matter progress, another for bundling documents for court, another for billing etc… you get the picture. In fact, the point is there’s no one single picture – or, rather, complete oversight – of your work in process and financial positioning. Instead, there are fragmented images that have to be painstakingly pieced together to visualise the whole. Your staff will be entering the same data multiple times and singing from different hymn sheets. This wastes your valuable time, increases the potential for error and disconnects your teams. Moreover – you’re likely paying for these additional systems that aren’t always necessary! Bringing everything together – your systems, your data, your documents, your people – is the way forward. If your software doesn’t permit this – or it means you need to buy other, separate products – look further afield. Smart law firms use practice management software that addresses the pain points above and a whole lot more. For extra insights into how to operate your business the smart way, download our ‘Guide to the essential smart law firm technology in 2022’ (see side panel). Ready to switch legal software vendor? If these tell-tale signs match your relationship with your current provider, then why wait? Quill’s system is super intuitive and easy to use – if you can work a website page, you can work and navigate around Quill. Whether you are looking to unlock productivity, embrace a paperless approach, support remote working, or scale your business, switching to Quill’s cloud-based legal software is a gamechanging business decision that will reap rewards. Promise. If you are ready to make the switch, get in touch by emailing email@example.com. ■
Quill’s guide to the essential smart law firm technology in 2022 Discover what smart technologies to invest in, why to go paperless and how you can make the tools you already have at your disposal work harder.
Learn more: www.quill.co.uk/resources/ guide-to-the-best-legal-tech-toolsfor-uk-law-firms-and-lawyers-in-2022
3 Key Law Firm Trends for 2022 and 3 Key Legal Client Trends
here’s one thing that legal firms who are growing their revenues do more of than other firms: embrace cloudbased and client-centred technology. That’s according to research from practice management software provider Clio’s brand-new Legal Trends Report, which looked at technology adoption among firms.
In 2018, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Now, as shown in the 2021 Legal Trends Report, much of this change is client-led:
Following on insights from last year’s report, which showed significant levels of technology adoption among law firms, this year’s research indicates that new technology-enabled capabilities are part of a longer-term shift that will be further driven by consumer demand for more remote-enabled legal services.
■ 79% of consumers see the ability to work remotely with a lawyer as a key factor in choosing who to work with. ■ 67% said they would look for a lawyer offering both remote and in-person options when searching for a lawyer. ■ 58% want the option to have a consultation through video.
The Key Actions of Growing Firms The 2021 Legal Trends Reports observed that growing firms (that is, firms who had on average increased their revenues by 135% since 2013), had adopted cloud-based client-centred solutions at much greater rates than other firms. Overall, those firms who were growing were:
These are just some of the findings from Clio’s recent Legal Trends Report, which has been published annually for six years. Now widely considered the trusted resource for insights into the current and future state of legal, it comprises the aggregated and anonymised data from tens of thousands of legal professionals and surveys from both lawyers and consumers, Clio constructs a holistic picture of the legal industry today, and what the future trends are likely to be.
■ 41% more likely to use online client portals ■ 46% more likely to use online client intake and relationship management solutions ■ 37% more likely to be using online payment solutions Client-Led Change The increased adoption of technology also reflects a massive change in legal client attitudes and expectations.
LW | Social Media Content Writers
egal Women is active on three sites, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. To produce good quality content and schedule posts is very much full-time work so we would welcome extra assistance to share the burden. Many thanks to our team Charity Mafuba, Agnes Swiecka and Emma Webb. This is a great way to keep up to date with the latest developments, build contacts and exercise social media as a business tool. If anyone has an interest in this please contact: info@LegalWomen.org.uk. ■
The 2021 Legal Trends Report is available to download for free at clio.com/ltr-legal-women. To learn more about how Clio supports growing law firms and how it can support innovation at your law firm, visit www.clio.com/uk. ■
Would you like to feature in Legal Women? To advertise in Legal Women, please call Catherine McCarthy our Business Features Editor on 0151 236 4141 or email catherine@ benhampublishing.com. LegalWomen | 27
Federation of European Bar Associations T
he Federation of European Bar Associations (FBE) enables local law societies from all the countries in the Council of Europe to meet and exchange ideas. Since 2017, there has been a marked shift in the leadership to include more women, beginning with Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) as its first-ever female President. Here we profile three of the women involved in leading the FBE who have overcome the glass ceilings of the European legal profession.
Silvia Gimenez-Salinas, Barcelona, Spain Silvia Gimenez-Salinas is First Vice President of the FBE, she works in her own firm in Barcelona. Her practice is in family law, children, separation and divorce, and the elderly. She deals with all kinds of disputes which arise in families, and recently worked on international cases where crises arise in families of mixed marriages. Silvia was the Dean of the Barcelona Bar in 2005 and became involved with the FBE. Since then she has always participated in the conferences and as a member of the commissions (in the UK we more commonly use the word committees). Silvia established the ADR Commission and worked tirelessly to encourage the members of the Federation to create their own mediation centres. The aim is that local and national law societies and Bar Associations train lawyer-mediators and assessors for the mediation process, essential for the changing nature of legal practice.
pillar of human rights. If these are not enforceable by promoting systems that can protect them, they disappear, no matter how much they exist in the letter of the law.” Silvia was born and educated in Barcelona. Her father gave her love of books and the law; her mother similarly inspired her by persevering in lifelong study. Silvia’s father was a co-founder member of the FBE and first President in 1992, Eugenio Guy Montalvo. Silvia has four children and during their early years, she concentrated on family life but also managed to develop her professional life. Silvia speaks Catalan and Spanish, French and English, though she would like to improve the latter two as the Spanish education system does not promote foreign languages. She regrets not having a greater education in languages. Izabela Konopacka, Wroclaw, Poland In May 2021 Izabela Konopacka became the fourth woman to be elected to the FBE Presidency. She joined the FBE in 2014 as representative of the Wroclaw Bar Association. She is a qualified attorney-at-law and a teacher and specialises in international family law and medical law. She speaks Polish, Russian and English, does both contentious and non-contentious work and is a partner in two law firms: KS Law and Lex Medyk Law. Izabela (known as Iza) was born and brought up in the city she loves and works in: Wroclaw. She has two sons currently in higher education.
Silvia told us: “the legal profession was born in the origins of legal conflicts, and this still exists. States have an excessive interest in legislating for all types of situations, and given this, the legal profession will always be necessary. Given the complex nature of regulation, the legal profession translates citizens’ rights and obligations, assessing and helping them in complying with them.” She continued: “The legal profession needs to know about legal services in other jurisdictions in order to understand law and justice correctly, as well as understand different legal systems and know who to turn to in other jurisdictions in order to assist their clients. Today, technology allows us to have much better knowledge and also reminds us that we need constant training.” Silvia is a strong defender of human rights and writes: “The foundation of our profession is the promotion and understanding of the rule of law. The protection of individuals is part of the rule of law. If the dignity of the person is not preserved and defended by the legal profession then our profession makes no sense. Human rights exist to defend the dignity of people. Access to justice is a fundamental pillar of human rights, and there must be systems which expand access, as much as the letter of the law defends human rights. Access to justice is a fundamental 28 | LegalWomen
Barcelona on the coast of north-eastern Spain, is the capital and largest city in Catalonia. It has a population of 1.6 million within the city limits and around 4.8 million people including the surrounding area.
Iza pioneered work on new technology, being appointed President of the FBE New Technology Commission in 2016. The Commission promotes the use of NT tools among lawyers by raising awareness of both benefits as well as risks connected with the development of LegalTech. She has organised conferences (such as the Legal Innovation Conference in 2017 attracting 350 lawyers), webinars, and international competitions. The “Future of the Law Firm” competition for young lawyers was not only innovative but also drew some of the best young advocates from across Europe to present their own interpretation of the future. The Commission produces reports for the membership and initiates debates in the FBE International Forum, for example, Internet platform providers, AI in the legal services sector, digitalization of justice and virtual law firms. Iza commented that there are many lawyers in Poland who are general practitioners but thinks in the future they will all be specialists in a given field. The work of a lawyer will be more challenging and rewarding at the same time as the NT tools will assist lawyers with many routine tasks such as analysis, research and contract review while at the same time the role of the lawyer will mainly consist in providing very specialist and bespoke services to clients, often from their home office. As a final word, Iza stated: “My advice to young lawyers is the same as the masters have had for ages: study, study and study, but not only law. Law as such is becoming more and more detailed and thus complex, therefore today even more than ever there is a need to develop knowledge and skills in other areas such as informatics, medicine, engineering and to combine those skills with legal knowledge”. Monique Stengel, Paris, France Monique Stengel is Treasurer of the FBE, taking office in 2018. Before she became Treasurer Monique was well known to members of the FBE as a former General Secretary and President of the European Association of Lawyers AEA – EAL European Association of Lawyers – Association Europeenne des Avocats _ European Association of Lawyers (aea-eal.eu).
Wrocław in the southwest of Poland Is the country’s fourth largest city. Its population is over 642,000 and is one of the youngest of many European cities, due to the number of universities, including the long-established and prestigious University of Wroclaw. There is an estimated student population of 130 000.
Monique is an independent lawyer working in Paris and is a member of the Paris Bar Association. Although she shares an office with two other female lawyers, she is a sole practitioner, as is common in this jurisdiction. She specialises in international private law, international transport law (road, air, sea, rail) and also in European family and probate law. Monique speaks French, English and German and has strong professional and family links to Austria. In her leisure time, Monique has been singing for years in a church choir which travels all over France to sing with other choirs, churches and festivals. Although many aspects of the future of legal services is uncertain, Monique tells us that her vision is of more alternative ways of assisting clients such as mediation and arbitration with more technical support and methods of communication. She adds that she hopes there will not be too much Artificial Intelligence! Her advice for future lawyers is to learn foreign languages, and to practice in international cases since legal practice is global and our clients are world-wide. However, it is also vital never to forget the human rights aspects of the legal profession. Monique has been Secretary to the FBE’s Human Rights Commission since 2015 and has worked on many human rights campaigns, defending the rule of law, access to justice and human rights in various countries in Europe, such as Turkey, Poland, Belarus, Afghanistan and Colombia. The FBE Human Rights Commission reviews and keeps a spotlight on jurisdictions where, for example, the rule of law is threatened, the independence of judges and lawyers is challenged, or lawyers are at risk of assassination for their work. Many members have joined international delegations and teams observing trials in Turkey and in Colombia. Monique comments that lawyers can help by being informed, exchanging information and working together to show our determination to protect human rights. ■ Interviews conducted by
Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon)
The May edition of Legal Women will feature interviews with the current President of the FBE and the first appointed female President.
Paris in Northern France covers an area of 41 square miles. The oldest part of the City is in the two islands, the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité. There is a population of 2.1 million in the city itself and 11 million including the suburban area.
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Our IMPROVED Building Regulations Cover L
ack of ‘Building Regulations’ consent is a common issue faced by conveyancing solicitors when dealing with residential and commercial properties. Conveyancers are faced with weighing up different options that they could advise their clients.
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Obtaining Building Regulations is timely, can be costly, and often homeowners don’t even realise they need it. It is possible to obtain regularisation and retrospective permission, but this is complicated and time consuming, requiring involvement from the Local Authority, who, in many cases, will not approve it anyway, due to the time that has elapsed since the works were carried out.
GCS’s Building Regulations policy is available to issue through our quick and easy to use online system GCS ‘Online’ and/or our smart, newly designed legal indemnity insurance ‘Pack’. Cover is instant and usually does not require us to approve the policy and thus, no delays.
Ultimately, it’s much quicker, easier, and more cost-effective to obtain legal indemnity insurance cover in this situation. This is where we, Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions (GCS), can assist and stand out in the market. Most “Building Regulations” indemnity policies on the market have restrictions that could prevent solicitors from providing their clients with the insurance cover they need, such as no cover if works had been completed on the property less than
Our free to use ‘Bespoke/Direct’ service is available for more complex risks or if the solicitor simply wants our office to issue a policy directly. Our team of friendly and knowledgeable underwriters are always on hand to provide support. To register for GCS ‘Online’, to request a GCS insurance ‘Pack’, to view an example list of our policies or for more information on how to issue our policies, please visit www.gcs-title.co.uk. To obtain a ‘Bespoke/Direct’ quote or for any further enquiries, please contact us using the details below. ■
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30 | LegalWomen
International Womenʼs Day
International Women’s Day 2022
his year’s theme is #Breakthebias. You can see some of the resources here from the campaign theme which says: Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Legal Women will run a social media campaign and would welcome your photos with similar poses (hands crossed in front), just send your photo with your name to info@ LegalWomen.org.uk Individual or group photos are welcome. IWD 2022 campaign theme: #BreakTheBias (internationalwomensday.com) ■
■ H ow can we, as lawyers, contribute to becoming more self-aware of micro-aggressions to eliminate them from our language? The moderator of the event is Lizzette Robleto de Howarth, International Programmes Manager, the Law Society. The speakers are: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
I . Stephanie Boyce President of the Law Society Tiffany Alvoid Attorney and International Public Speaker N atalia Callejas Aquino Partner at Aguilar Castillo Love (Guatemala) Andrea Accuosto Suarez Partner at SNAbogados (Spain) Emma Sutcliffe Partner, Simmons and Simmons
You can register for free here: Event summary – The Law Society.
Webinar event 8 March 15.30-17.00 The Law Society of England and Wales will be marking this by a webinar on 8 March entitled ‘Taking big strides: Eradicating micro aggressions to achieve gender equality in the legal profession’.
In Person and Online: Tuesday 8th March 2022 The Law Society of Northern Ireland is hosting an event where the journalist, Sarah Travers, will interview four key female figures who have smashed the ceiling in their chosen career. Each guest will speak about their career journey and how some of the challenges they faced have shaped the female leader they are today.
The Law Society will be focusing its international discussion on the topic of eradicating micro aggressions as a way of achieving gender equality in the legal profession. The speakers will discuss:
The guests are:
■ W hat are micro aggressions? What are some examples of these micro aggressions? What might be the specific impact of each? ■ To what extent are you aware of how often you and/or others around you use micro aggressions when speaking with or about others of another gender, race, etc.? ■ What are the risks associated with confronting micro aggressions?
■ ■ ■ ■
Lady Chief Justice, The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan Justice Minister for Northern Ireland, Naomi Long MLA The Attorney General for Northern Ireland, Dame Brenda King President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland Brigid Napier
The in person event is fully booked but you can attend online – Women in the Law – Breaking Down the Barriers – Online attendance Tickets, Tue 8 Mar 2022 at 17:30 | Eventbrite. ■
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Nicola Williams Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Barrister and author of Without Prejudice
was a little star struck to meet Nicola Williams in person. She was part of a panel of outstanding women speaking in Lincoln’s Inn which prompted me to create the Legal Women magazine. The event was a celebration of the centenary of women being allowed to qualify as lawyers and included remarkable role models from the Bar, CilEx, solicitors and the judiciary.
Back row L to R: Christine Blacklaws, Amanda Pinto QC, Master Karen Shuman. Front row L to R: Nicola Williams, Rt Hon Lady Arden DBE, Millicent Grant QC (Hon). Nicola exudes incredible personal warmth and is a consummate legal professional in her choice of language. Most recently she has been in the public eye due to her appointment as Chair of the Independent complaints panel (‘ICP’) run by the Portman Group. It is the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK and makes decisions based on complaints from the public, police and industry. Nicola says the role ‘hits a sweet spot’ of everything in her prior career. She has previous experience as a sitting member of boards, including the Association of Chief Executives, and has extensive experience of being a key decision-maker, not only as a judge, but in the role she held as the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces – the first ever Ombudsman in UK Defence. Nicola initially qualified as a barrister dealing with a mixture of civil and crime cases. This narrowed down eventually to defence of serious crimes only. She became a PCA Board member, a Commissioner at the IPCC (now IOPC), a part-time Crown Court judge and, worked as an Ombudsman, a role she fulfilled in both the UK and Cayman Islands. Nicola is also an author of fiction. She published her first book Without Prejudice almost two decades ago. It was recently chosen by Bernadine Evaristo, OBE and Booker Prize winner, as one of ten overlooked books which has been republished by Penguin. Penguin has commissioned a second novel from Nicola and the option for a TV series on the book has been bought. 32 | LegalWomen
Evaristo says the novel showed the tenacity necessary to achieve in the law, and I asked Nicola to describe some of the challenges she had experienced in the profession. Nicola emphasized that she is no longer working in chambers but nonetheless she notes the changes are striking since she qualified and they are changes for the better. For example, there are more women in senior and leadership positions. When Nicola began her first 6 months pupillage, the set she worked in had just taken on its very first female tenant ever, so there were not many role models available. Nicola does not ‘consciously remember having to pretend to be a man to succeed but it was kind of in the air’. Hopefully these days are largely gone, and Nicola adds ‘Law is hard enough anyway without having to put on a mask every day.’ The hours at the Bar are known to be punishing and Nicola remembers that it was extremely rare to have a whole weekend without doing some work on either the Saturday or Sunday. It means that there needs to be careful consideration of what suits your life; that includes thinking about childcare and responsibilities for older people. Nicola notes that this is important for everyone to assess but at the moment culturally ‘the burden still falls more on women’s shoulders than men’s irrespective of profession’. Nicola recognises there is far greater understanding about this impact on women’s lives but as with all society, misogyny is not totally irradicated from the legal profession. Without Prejudice clearly references some of the challenges a barrister might encounter due to ethnicity. Although Nicola left practice 20 years ago, she recalls some well-meaning campaigns encouraging people of colour to apply for silk and the judiciary, but they did not address the real issues. She says the current system of exams required for the judiciary is important so there is a clear objective stance; if you get through that stage then, regardless of your individual characteristics, you can be confident and everyone else knows, that you were in the top 10% otherwise you cannot progress to the next stage. Nicola had no mentors or sponsors as such in the early part of her career but certainly there were people she held in very high regard. ‘I could have benefited from a mentor and a sponsor’ and hopefully this is increasingly available for junior lawyers. ‘When I was appointed a recorder, there were two people who encouraged me; one became a mentor and I would consider her a friend now’. Nicola has no regrets of going into the law although she is clearly multi-talented. Originally, she had considered careers as a UN language interpreter or fashion designer but ‘Law won out and I loved to debate. Loved the language’. She credits her mother who had been a teacher in Guyana before moving to Britain with her love of language, as during her pregnancy, her mother reread the entire works of Shakespeare! ■
What is the ICP run by The Portman Group? 1. The Portman Group is funded by 14 member companies but has over 130 Code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies. 2. The Code of Practice for the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was first published in 1996. The Code seeks to ensure that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable. 3. Copies of the full decisions are also available: www.portmangroup.org.uk/icp/ An example of a case that Nicola Williams has to address is below. Tiny Rebel has an historic eight products considered by the Independent Complaints Panel.
An example of the work of the Independent Complaints Panel is its review of eight Tiny Rebel products following separate complaints from the Metropolitan Police, Alcohol Focus Scotland and a member of the public. All eight products attracted complaints under rule 3.2(h): a drink, its packaging or promotion should not have a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel considered each product on its own basis and made a careful assessment of the overall impression conveyed by the packaging in each case. Five were found to have a particular appeal to children. The Panel was especially concerned by designs that featured cartoon characters, made prominent use of Tiny Rebel’s bear logo or were themed around products popular with children such as sweets and 99 ice creams. Following the Panel’s decisions Tiny Rebel are working with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service to resolve concerns with some of the products which have been upheld. Prior to all the ICP’s decisions being made, Tiny Rebel voluntarily chose to discontinue some of its products. ■
London Legal walk returns! Y
our favourite 10K walk is back! The London Legal Walk returns on 28 June 2022. We’re hoping to see as many of you as possible pounding the pavements for justice this year. Over 70 teams have already signed up and we hope you will too. Get your team together and sign up today https://rebrand.ly/LLST-LLW-2022. We need your help to raise £1 Million this year! This will provide desperately needed funding to free legal advice agencies such as Law Centres, Citizens Advice and other legal advice providers in London and the South East. Quote from Nezahat Cihan CEO of London Legal Support Trust: “We are excited to welcome as many teams as possible for the London Legal Walk 2022. The Legal Walk is not only a fantastic opportunity to raise much needed funds for the legal advice services, but it is also a great opportunity for team bonding, especially during a time when so many of us work from home. LLST remains committed to continuing to raise desperately needed funds for legal advice agencies in London and the South East. As the pandemic continues to dominate the headlines and impact our lives, these funds are needed more now than ever.” Raising as much money as you can, will make a huge real-life difference to people like Jenny*
(*name changed). Jenny was supported by specialist teams in a legal advice centre to remove her violent partner from her home and assist her in claiming the benefits she was entitled to, which were all backdated. Debt specialists also helped reduce her debt payments that had been racked up while she was paying for everyday essentials for her family on credit cards, as she had no other access to funds. This vital support from an LLST Centre of Excellence has improved her mental health, her financial situation and her family’s quality of life. It also meant she did not have to return back to her abusive partner, just to make ends meet. Are you ready to challenge yourself? If you’re looking to take on a challenge this year, how about seeing if you have what it takes to become a Spartan Warrior? You’ll tackle spear throwing, jumping over fire and climbing Cargo nets, all of course while wading through mud. If you think you’re tough enough, we have 5K and 10K places available that you can take part on your own or get a team together https://rebrand.ly/LLSTSpartan22. If you are looking for something gentler, we also have lots of other challenges, including Kew the Run, a fantastic 10K run through the magnificent Kew Gardens. Find out more on our website https://rebrand.ly/LLSTKewTheRun22. ■
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Make surgery your legacy S
urgeons save, extend and improve the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the UK every day. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease but supports innovative care for all ages across all specialties. Almost 5 million surgical patients are admitted to hospital every year in England alone so choosing to leave the Royal College of Surgeons of England a gift in your Will can have a direct impact on the future of surgery and patient care. LEGACY GIFTS: SUPPORTING THE EDUCATIONAL TRAINING OF SURGEONS Miss Phyllis Ann George FRCS (1925–2017) was a consultant general surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She was the first woman to be elected Vice-President of RCS England. During her career, she recognised that surgery was a team effort and that, for best results, fully trained teams of theatre and ward nursing staff were as important as the surgeons themselves. She was appointed to the consultant staff at the Royal Free in 1963, continuing with specialised thyroid and breast surgery, and showed a particular aptitude and clarity in teaching medical students and junior staff. She was elected president of the section of surgery at the
Registered charity no 212808
urgeons save, extend and improve tens of thousands of lives throughout the UK every day. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a charity independent of the NHS, safeguarding the experience, treatment and outcomes of each and every one of those surgical patients. Surgery is special, and there are few people whose lives have not been touched by it. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease, but supports better care for all ages, from minor day surgery, to life-saving procedures and emergency trauma care. Legacies are vital for us to continue to shape the future, making a real difference to the lives of new generations of surgeons and patients so that they receive the very best care when they need it the most. To find out how a gift in your will can play a crucial role in our work please contact the fundraising team. t 020 7869 6086 e firstname.lastname@example.org w www.rcseng.ac.uk/fundraising #surgerysaveslives 34 | LegalWomen
Royal Society of Medicine and, in 1979, became the first female member of RCS England’s Council. In 1988, she became our first female Vice-President. Miss George’s legacy for the educational training of surgeons echoes her commitment to the importance of teaching and her skill for it during her career. Her gift is supporting an e-learning project that takes the Future of Surgery team on a journey to explore the impact of technology on roles, the surgical team and the surgical environment. SHARING YOUR VISION Gifts in wills can be allocated to any area of College’s work; unrestricted contributions can be used wherever the need is greatest and many are in support of an individual project or area. Ultimately, we want to understand what our supporters would like their gift to achieve. All levels of support have a tremendous impact in maintaining and supporting the enhancement of surgical care for patients. To get in touch, you can email email@example.com or if you would like an informal chat, please call Nicola on 020 7869 6086. ■
MAKE SURGERY YOUR LEGACY
What is meant by a Single Source of Truth and why is it fundamental to the success of your law firm? “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” – Galileo Galilei.
any law firms continue to struggle with multiple sources of information, disconnected databases and inaccurate records, this has an extremely detrimental effect on profits and negatively impacts the service levels they can offer clients. Conversely, by organising their data into a single database held in the cloud law firms give themselves a platform for productivity that cannot be achieved in any other way. This single source of truth (SSOT) is important, it means your data and information sources are always up to date, relevant to business decisions and eliminates duplication of work and any version control issues. With all staff working from one system, data quality improves organically through daily working. It updates automatically without the need for manual verification, which is ideal for firms with remote or hybrid workforces, and with the physical office no longer needing to be the hub of a legal practice, such solutions achieve the best results and make a law firm bankable. With the latest key information always to hand, decision-making can be carried out at an optimum pace and the progress of keeping clients up to date regarding their matters made so much easier. The advantage of data being held centrally in the cloud is extensive. Valuable information is continually backed up and secured in case of the worst possible scenarios, such as power issues, device theft, floods or fire. When a law firm is impacted in such a way they can quickly retrieve missing information and reinstate systems and ensure business continuity. Whatever device you use, be it laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can access data when away from the office as though you were there. Therefore, the traditional office building has become less crucial as it has no bearing on your data and how it’s stored and accessed. Ask yourself this, how do you currently access information when out of the office, is it up to date? Do you waste valuable time re-inputting collated information further down the line? This whole process can be eliminated as you bring the office into the palm of your hand, able to locate and access files easily from wherever you are. You don’t need top of the range technology either, most connected devices will have the capability to access your virtual law firm as the device acts merely a portal to your information and systems the cloud with everything you require safely and securely stored and protected.
and maintaining a SSOT is no longer as much of a choice as a necessity for a practice to survive and subsequently thrive. The pandemic has accelerated a move to this remote way of working and has forged it into an expected discipline. It’s a bit like having a pocket law firm that you never leave home without. You remove the danger of being caught out without having the right information to hand. Adopting a single source of the truth eliminates problems and replaces them with the most reliable, accurate and productive way of working. It gives law firms the opportunity to become more streamlined, more costefficient and, when the time is right, scale-up with minimum of fuss and disruption to the business. More than ever clients need assurance, especially since the beginning of the pandemic, the traditional days and hours that firms operate are changing and clients now look to contact their lawyers at any time on any day of the week. The traditional 9-5 working day has gone as the lines of working hours blur. Technology now permits, almost encourages, a more fluid approach to working with improved response rates and accuracy of service as imperative to the client as ever. Technology has imparted this expectation upon legal professionals through their clients. Those who are unable to immediately draw on their client information when required now risk their reputation, missing out to their competition. A SSOT makes it easier to instantly share updates with your clients on their case at any point that collaboration or sharing is required. All parties can safely and securely access the same single set of data so that consistency and compliance across your law firm is always maintained. Long gone are the days of bulging paper files. The highestachieving law firms understand that robust relationships with clients come because of first-class communications, and it is these firms that leverage a SSOT to master their correspondence with clients and offer a market-leading service. Fully enabling law firms to achieve a single source of truth, LEAP, the legal practice productivity solution, occupies a unique position in the legal software market as it centralises a firm’s practice management and legal accounting systems, document assembly and management as well as many legal publishing assets all in one cloud solution and by bring a law firms client and matter information into one location – a Single Source of Truth – and by leveraging this truth, you provide your firm and clients the absolute trust and outstanding level of service that they deserve. ■
Generally, firms with a server who choose not to use the cloud, will need to purchase remote access software to enable hybrid working. Not only can this be significantly more expensive than working from a true cloud solution but less efficient and add unnecessary complexity in terms of meeting your IT requirements. The reality is the world is more fluid than ever LegalWomen | 35
Enjoy a career without limits, earning up to 75% of your billing. Taylor Rose MW is a top 60 law firm with over 30 offices nationwide and we are seeking legal professionals that are keen to work on a consultancy, fee sharing basis.
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Chloe Pinches @defencetocrime Me for the last three weeks applying for pupillage.
Book Review: Almost a Catastrophe by Janet Corke
anet Corke qualified as a solicitor in 1960 and three years later flew off to Malta with her civil engineer husband, Charlie Corke, and her young son, Nicholas (Nic). Several people, including me, prevailed upon her to write a sequel to an earlier book, “A Hidden Home in the Gwydyr Forest”, on the assumption that we would learn about her experience of practising law on the George Cross Island.
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But Janet was not qualified to practise law in Malta. Over the centuries occupied and dominated by various countries and organisations, including the Knights of St John, Malta had developed its own legal system.
UN Women @UN_Women
In order to bring Malta’s infrastructure up to date Charlie Corke was sent by his UK firm to assist in the construction of a power station to provide electricity and a desalination plant. Deprived of the ability to practise her profession, Janet found her time was fully occupied in adapting to a way of life without the comforts and appliances to which she had become accustomed at home.
Meet Laila Lutf AlThawr, also known as Yemen’s “Mother of Detainees”, who has mediated the exchange and release of over 1,000 prisoners and detainees. Learn how she works to #StandUp4HumanRights as a human rights activist: http://unwo.men/fp1050H8hMC @unwomenarabic UN Women Pakistan @unwomen_pak Congratulating Justice #AyeshaMalik for being sworn in as the first female judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
By the early Sixties the UK had emerged from post-war rationing, shortages and compulsory National Service to become the country of the Beatles, short skirts and then even shorter skirts, milk bars, coffee bars and motorways. There were greater opportunities for women, and the British Empire of earlier decades was gradually metamorphosing into the Commonwealth.
Paraffin cookers and fridges, geckos climbing curtains, racing to get the meat imported from Australia every 3 months to her freezer before it defrosted, and the ubiquity of flat bread and tomato paste in the Maltese diet took some getting used to. The discovery that there was no NHS (now firmly established in the UK) took her completely by surprise. Her first consultation with a doctor ended with the instruction to “see my secretary on the way out. She will give you a prescription and my invoice”. Janet soon learned to take money with her when she consulted the medical profession in future. Although she did learn to listen to good old-fashioned folk lore at times. Rum and hot water did the trick when Nic was suffering from a persistent cough. Fortunately, both Janet and Charlie had the gift of adaptability and Janet the gift of summarising the numerous instances of Maltese kindliness and generosity. Neighbours lent them space in their freezers, children included Nic in their games and on one occasion when she set off to walk several miles home pushing Nic in his pushchair because she had run out of money to pay for a taxi, the taxi driver directed her to the bus stop and paid her fare. This is an easy-to-read memoir written in an engaging style by someone with a gift for dialogue and acute observation. It can be obtained from Amazon or direct from the publishers, Artel Press www.theartelpress.co.uk/shop/ ■
Elizabeth Cruickshank LegalWomen | 37
Poppy’s second chance at love P
oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.
Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link www.dogstrust.org.uk/ccc where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email CCC@dogstrust.org.uk or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■
Who’ll keep her happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets – and make a dog-lover happy.
E-mail email@example.com Or call 020 7837 0006
Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.
A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®
Registered charity numbers: 227523 & SC037843
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© Dogs Trust 2021
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Helping the lawyers who help people
Sophisticated legal aid software Designed for legal aid practitioners in England and Wales our dedicated legal aid application helps to streamline the management of your legal aid matters and billing processes. This includes the generation of CWA monthly submission and integrated upload of Crown Court Claims.
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