THE UK MAGAZINE FOR ALL WOMEN WORKING IN LAW
Visibility at the Bar
Smart Working LegalWomen | 1
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Contents 5 Foreword
ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey SALES DIRECTOR Karen Hall
7 LW Recommends
STUDIO MANAGER Lee Finney MEDIA No. 1860 PUBLISHED May 2022 © Legal Women Magazine, Benham Publishing Ltd. LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Publishing. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us. DISCLAIMER Legal Women Magazine welcomes all persons eligible to join our community regardless of sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation.
13 Profile: Christl Hughes MBE
14 Visibility at the Bar
18 Reflections on IWD 2022
All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not those of Legal Women unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance.
21 Judicial Careers
Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified legal advice.
COVER INFORMATION Photo by Alberto Terribile on Unsplash.
Copy Deadline 31st July 2022
For the August 2022 edition Advertising Anyone wishing to advertise please contact Catherine McCarthy before the copy deadline. 0151 236 4141 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
24 Smart Working 25
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Foreword MAY 2022
nniversaries are powerful in reminding us of the debt owed to early Legal Women and to remind us how recent this history is. Certainly, work in law today would be unrecognisable for some of these pioneering women who fought to get an education, be admitted and to practise law. Katie Broomfield, a barrister and historian, marks the centenary of Ivy Williams, the first female to be admitted to the Bar a hundred years ago this month. Her article Visibility of Women at the Bar reflects on the importance of these images being apparent in our professional environments. I was delighted to meet Katie when she held her ground-breaking exhibition at Lincoln’s Inn revealing photographs and some of her research about these extraordinary women. Its impact was striking as it was displayed in the Old Hall where there are imposing oil paintings of male lawyers from the preceding centuries. Today’s issues are sometimes more nuanced, such as, retention and progression but some of the blatantly dismissive views of women are simply more hidden from view. We must also recognise that overlaps of different characteristics (intersectionality) can create further barriers and Molly Bellamy shares insights and advice from five legal women and in our August edition will discuss the policy implications. Our new section on Smart Working will introduce all aspects of navigating work, from networking and presentation to fitness and switching off from ever-
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.
present technology. Smart Working includes having time for other interests. A repeated theme by so many of the successful women we interview is the importance of a full life; it makes us better lawyers. Feeling connected with others is often key to confidence in your approach to work. We invite readers to contribute ideas for groups which should feature in Communities (legalwomen.org.uk). It lists national and local groups. Some associations are long-standing with prominent websites, others have an excellent social media presence, but they are not always easy to find. If you spot one not listed, please let me know. All the groups welcome newcomers. What suits you will depend on your interests and location but reach out and if you can’t find what you want, start a new group. Consider setting one up or connect with a Women in Business group. You can also obtain support through the social media accounts and the many online meetings that are being held. We would love to hear what events are happening so please do write or send photos that you are happy for us to share. ■
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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 PODCASTS The Legal Mind LawCare, the mental health charity for lawyers looks at how the legal mind works and offers mental health and wellbeing tips for lawyers. Fantastic feedback from listeners. The Legal Mind on Apple Podcasts
BOOKS Re-education Kate Kellaway’s book Re-education. She gave up a well-paid job as a journalist to retrain as a teacher in her 50s. Have you ever thought of throwing in your job and having a complete change of direction? Re-educated: How I changed my job, my home, my husband and my hair: Amazon.co.uk: Kellaway, Lucy: 9781529108002: Books The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker In a retelling of one of the great stories of antiquity, Pat Barker’s book The Silence of the Girls recounts the Greek tale of Homer’s Illiad from the perspective of the Trojan’s captured women slaves. In an infectious moment towards the end of the novel, two concubines contemplate the absurdity of Ajax saying silence becomes a woman. It is a saying which they have been brought up on, but which suddenly prompts them to dissolve into laughter... “after that moment of shared laughter we were friends”. Pat Barker shows compassion for the female and male characters caught up by the ideals of imperial Athens; an empire built on the back of slaves; extolling the virtues of courage and honour and the ideal of woman, as silent. As Sophocles says, “a modest silence is a woman’s crown.”
GROUPS About – Noon Eleanor Mills, is the founder of Noon and better-known to most of us as an award-winning editor, writer and broadcaster. After being made redundant she set up this site specifically for women in midlife. It is intended to support women wanting to make changes midway through their life and is full of encouraging advice: ‘it’s never too late to be what you wanted to be’. LECTURES / WEBINARS Licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. Source: https://www.judiciary.uk/ publications/biographies-of-the-7-newly-appointed-court-of-appeal-judges-2018/
Law Pod UK Law Pod UK covers developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the United Kingdom. It is presented by Emma-Louise Fenelon (call 2015) and Rosalind English (call 1993), both at 1 Crown Office Row. Law Pod UK / The European Response to the War in Ukraine: A Legal Analysis (audioboom.com)
But by the same token, she subverts those ideals, which have a distinctly contemporary resonance, through the hiccuping laughter of the women.
Right Honourable Vivien Rose, Justice of the Supreme Court of the UK will give one of the Gresham College lectures, What Makes a Good Judge? Tickets are available in person and online. What Makes a Good Judge? (gresham.ac.uk) Hey Legal This is a refreshing multi-media resource which holds online events and publishes on YouTube. It is primarily aimed at the Scottish legal community but some of its content is of much wider application, from wellbeing to marketing issues, for example, what lawyers can learn from high-performing athletes, should lawyers use TikTok and so on. Hey Legal (heylegal-news.co.uk) ■
LegalWomen | 7
Five women’s stories T
he term intersectionality was brought into focus as a legal discourse by Kimberle Crenshaw in her work on critical race theory. Crenshaw was concerned about the discrimination of African American women being inherent in the structures of the American legal system. She defines intersectionality as a tool for looking at the ways in which race and gender intersect to create barriers and obstacles to equality.
The concept was enshrined in law in England and Wales by the implementation of the Equality Act 2010.1 This was an attempt to address this multifaceted issue through the justice system. The act lists protected characteristics identifying how intersectionality is affected by ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, culture, nationality, religion and disability. Intersectionality has become an international discourse today. Its influence and reach is visible in the policy documents of World Bank governance reports and International law. However my concern, in this first of two articles on the subject, is how the list of protected characteristics, enshrined by the Equality Act of 2010, gets played out in the everyday lived experience of legal women. So I sought the stories of five such women. “It's the look” said Julia reflecting on what for her was the main exclusionary factor of her experience as a legal woman: “Not looking a particular way”. Why are you wearing men’s clothes? Her female manager had asked during her training. They aren’t men’s clothes, she’d responded, but the way I look. I thought you were interested in the quality of my work. The look was raised again, and again. Then in 1998 Julia said: we won’t be having this conversation in January, because the new Disability Discrimination Act is out and, as I have rheumatoid arthritis and wear sensible lace up shoes, you won’t be able to discriminate against me anymore. A lesbian has to rely on the Disability Discrimination Act to wear the clothes she feels suits her personality! Fortuitous? It was not until 2003, that UK legislation was introduced to deal specifically with sexual orientation, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. At the end of her two years, Julia did not apply to join the firm. The manager took her to lunch and asked why not – as the quality of her work could not be faulted: “you are the only trainee solicitor we have had who has not applied at the end of their term”. “They may not have liked my look” laughs Julia, “but they seemed to admire my authenticity as I survived there for two years”.
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Julia had already encountered the look barrier at University where the barrister teaching the course pronounced to the group You’re not going to make it to barrister unless you change into the acceptable version of yourself... “Then there were my northern vowels…” continues Julia who comes from Wigan. “Is it the same for a young lesbian woman starting out today?” “I think sexual harassment, comments about appearance, and the violence that goes with it hasn’t changed much”. “So what would you advise?” “Be true to yourself!” she grins. The look was experienced differently by Darlene. “I’m very conscious of my appearance. I never feel as though I can have a day where I just don’t bother, or go into work looking ‘less than’. A white woman might – she could go into work dressed casually and people might just think ‘Oh she looks like a bit of a bohemian today’ but for me it would be ‘Oh she looks scruffy!’ Dressing ‘less than’ Darlene Waite is not an option for a Black woman. I was in court once, and I could not have looked more like a lawyer than I did: I was wearing a smart suit, sitting with my briefcase on my lap, fine tuning my arguments, in preparation for my case representing a landlord whose tenant had not been able to pay her rent; when a woman came up to me and said, ‘Excuse me are you my client Mrs Pocket?’ ‘No I’m not!’ I said, and she realised slowly I was her opponent in court”. “What did she do?” “She opened the door to the court for me when the case was called, and I walked past and took my seat”. “You blanked her?” “Yes. I wanted to let her know, so that she would not do it to other black women. Not everyone is as confident as I am...”. “It was a racist affront?” “Well, the only difference between her appearance and mine was the colour of my skin!” “So what is your advice to younger women who may encounter similar prejudice from white educated women?” “To have something in your toolbox!”
I first saw Christina at a Legal Women event, where she had come as a speaker. She looked self assured and poised as the audience settled into a hush, she was smartly dressed and smiling. She bore no visible sign of a disability, the subject of her talk. Christina has a genetic condition called Stargardt's Christina Warner disease, which causes blindness. It is a rare degenerative condition, triggered in her adult life after she had qualified and practised as a barrister. In our chat, she recounts her initial difficulty in coming to terms, as a previously able-bodied woman with this growing disability. “At first, I was living my disability in secret. For example, when I went out with friends for dinner, I’d look up the menu in advance and memorise it, turning the pages and pretending to read the menu in the restaurant”. I ask her what has been the most exclusionary aspect of her disability as a legal woman, and she responds that it is managing people’s perceptions; the ignorance of people’s response when they learn about her disability, even amongst the most educated. One acquaintance confessed that if they were losing their eyesight, they would want to kill themselves. “How does disability as a discourse fare in relation to race and gender, not having an international movement behind it such as Black Lives Matter and #Me Too?” “We’re always a footnote, though we too have a history of oppression. For example, in eugenics and the curtailing of reproductive rights for disabled women; and again in the way disabled people were targeted by the ‘ugly laws’ at the turn of the twentieth century, banned from the streets of New York so as not to offend public sensibility”. “So what do you do in the face of that history?” “I surround myself with people who understand, like other lawyers with disabilities. I’m part of ‘bringing disability to the bar’, for example, and a member of the association of disabled lawyers, which caters also for disabled students through mentoring schemes. I’m also on a disability panel for the bar council”. “So you’re an activist and advocate...?” “Yes”. “That must generate its own energy...?” “Networking does. There are exciting things happening in the legal profession, like a greater understanding for accessible buildings, for example, retractable steps so wheelchair users can access the building. Remedies which make it possible for us to keep our dignity and independence”.
scheme and have an assistant. But discrimination is often covert, in the form of public ignorance and bigotry, and no amount of legislation can prevent that”. “How do you think this activism takes strength from other historical movements, such as the women’s movement in the 1970s, or the LGBT and critical race movements in the 1980s?” “Something exciting is happening on that front. The Oscars 2022 awarded best picture to Code And Troy Kotsur, who received the Oscar for Supporting Actor for the film, signed his acceptance speech, which was a special moment. There is a campaign – WeThe15 campaign – highlighting that 15% of the world’s population is disabled. I sense a real movement away from the stereotypes of what a disabled person is… there are better representations of disabled people today. And humour is important, I crack jokes a lot!” “What has been the best thing since learning about your disability?” “Coming out of the disability closet... that was liberating”. “In what way?” “Being able to ask for help when I need it. Now, I wait for friends outside the restaurants and they’re happy to come and find me... usually I have no idea what the menu is”. Nothing has changed much for Ann. She may look older, she grants, but does not really feel older – except perhaps in relation to ‘getting tired sooner’. “Actually there are a few advantages to being over 60. You get the oyster card and free travel” she states playfully. “I took early retirement from Ann Crighton the CPS but could have continued until I was as old as Richard Attenborough – as age discrimination is illegal. My only regret is not setting up my own business years ago”. Ann recounts the age barriers and obstacles to equality in the legal profession as affecting mainly younger women. She highlights an absence of thought in relation to child care responsibilities which fall predominantly on young women; and in relation to women of menopausal age, whose skills and experience get lost to the profession if inclusive structures aren’t in place to facilitate flexible working hours. A more inclusive culture is needed to encourage retention of women, she says. “Once you come out of the marketplace it’s hard to get back in!” “But what about other people’s perceptions of you in your work, as an older legal woman?” “Well, I find it’s like being a doctor”, she says mischievously, “age is an advantage, because my clients see me and think ‘she must have lots of experience’”.
“Are there any other barriers you encounter in your legal work?”
“Obviously reasonable adjustments have to be made for those who are employed. For example, I underwent an Access to Work
“Less social mobility in my view – I was from a working class background. In those days people got a grant to go to University. LegalWomen | 9
I believe many young people today are too scared to take that debt on for their education. This lack of social mobility throws us back into the past. Did you ever read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist?”
same... an Asian Pakistani woman who wears the hijab will encounter very different barriers and obstacles to equality, than a women or man from another minority ethnic group – and we need to bring that conversation into the mainstream”.
“What about Black Lives Matter and the #Me Too movements... have they helped to bring that conversation into the mainstream?”
“It just does not make good political sense not to have a more equal society... Have you read The Spirit Level?” “Of course!” “So who is voting to keep this I’m alright Jack system in place? Did you see that film?” “You are the first Asian, the first Muslim and only the 7th woman to become President of the Law Society of England and Wales – that is quite an achievement!” “Well, it will happen formally in October this year but there is quite a challenge ahead of me”. Lubna Shuja
“You will be very visible as a public figure, how do you feel about that?”
“I am quite a private person and I’ve thought about this long and hard because when you become an office-holder you are going to have a public persona and you will naturally come under scrutiny”. “The first Muslim woman?” “Yes”. “You said at one point that you had thought about removing your religious identity from your social media profile, but then you thought no. Can you say why?” “Because I think there is sometimes a negative perception of what being a Muslim is ...and who Muslims are... and about Islamaphobia. And I felt I wanted to be a positive role model. To break down some of the misconceptions that are out there”. “What response have you had to the appointment so far?” “So far, it’s been very positive – much support”. “What kind of support?” “People reaching out to me, saying it’s good to see an Asian in a role of seniority in an institution which has traditionally been perceived as white, male and elitist – but which is not that in reality”. “So what can you do about this misconception?” “Well, I will be visible. I will be there. This will help break down that particular misconception – though perceptions are changing. But we do need to see diversity at senior and President level. It is precisely your point about intersectionality isn’t it...everybody’s experience is different, we want the legal profession to understand experiences of inequality are not the 10 | LegalWomen
“I think both movements have shone a light on very important struggles and challenges and brought those issues to the mainstream where they were not before. And yes, I think that this in itself is a tremendous achievement, but I don’t think it stops there... the histories of Black people and people from South Asia are very different. But again in relation to intersectionality, data collected from reliable sources shows that 52% of the law profession are now women: 20% of women are from ethnic minority backgrounds, as opposed to only 15% of men – which means the number of ethnic and minority Black and Asian women from intersectionality backgrounds coming into the profession, outnumber the men – but we know too that these women and women in general are not progressing to senior levels in the profession. That’s the next conversation to be had”. Conclusion What we can immediately glean from these stories is an affinity between the women telling them, and common themes that weave in and out of their lives – the way they look, the way they sound, and how they act. Something else only touched upon, but also very important, is how class plays an important role in the experiences of these women. We are not there yet but such strong voices and opinions can only help highlight how far we have come, but also how much work there is still to do to dismantle the barriers and obstacles that prevent all women finding true equality in society.
Molly Bellamy A second article in the August edition will focus on how Intersectionality functions as a term of reference in the policy literature of the legal sector, and the law.
Natalie Bird’s journey from sixteen-year old school-leaver in Margate to lawyer in the Highlands and Orkney Islands
rowing up in what is known as ‘the most dangerous major town in Kent’ with the second highest child poverty rate in the South of England, it was never going to be a conventional route into the legal profession. Leaving school at 16 to get a job and earn money was the only option. Law degrees do not come cheap, so when I did finally save up enough money to get myself through University, I had to overcome my first hurdle – convincing a university to allow someone with no ‘A Levels’ to study with them. What followed was probably my first test in using my powers of persuasion – convincing a professor at the University of Kent to meet me face to face and give me a shot. After completing my law degree, I was fortunate enough to obtain a scholarship from the Inner Temple who funded my place at the University of Law where I completed the Bar Vocational Course to become a Barrister. It seemed inevitable that I would choose to practice in the criminal area of law. My upbringing was always going to shape someone who was non-judgmental. My career choice was a way of life. I wholeheartedly committed to the long hours, long commutes and hard work that came with the job. And I enjoyed every second of it. My natural personality is of someone who cares. I care that we live in a democracy. I care that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I care about second chances. It was when I was in my late twenties that I took a moment to reflect on how fortunate I was. My life could have been very different. I had married a commercial fisherman. A man who shared my lust for life. We chose to foster teenagers, a very particular kind of fostering scheme. We remanded young offenders. Young offenders were remanded to our care, rather than face imprisonment. I have strong opinions on children and prisons. It turns out I care about third, fourth and fifth chances too. As my mid-thirties approached the decision to have children of our own was reached. I chose to cross qualify as a Solicitor to provide a more balanced work and home life. When our first child arrived, my natural need to care and protect reached a whole new level. I believe children should be children for as long as possible and I knew immediately that we needed
to relocate. I have always viewed change as a positive thing and embraced it. The Scottish Highlands beckoned!!! I cross qualified to practice as a Solicitor in Scotland. I now focus on guardianship, executries, trusts, wills and powers of attorney. I am a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. This area of law has allowed me to find a new way to continue to protect, whether it be protecting those who have lost capacity, or protecting those who are no longer with us and cannot speak for themselves. I live on the far north coast, with stunning coastal scenery, white sandy beaches, rugged mountains and remote fishing villages. It is a wild but beautiful location with truly spectacular scenery. My half hour drive to work follows part of the North Coast 500, a route many people choose to visit as a holiday. My firm’s head office is on the Orkney Islands, so when I am not having my usual drive, I am often taking the ferry to Orkney instead. So, in my mid-forties, I find myself again, taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am. My 5-year-old daughter has four children in her class at school, and my 8-year-old son has five in his class. They are truly free, albeit slightly wild. I’ve found an area of law that allows my beliefs and passions to be at the fore.
Barrister (England and Wales), Solicitor (Scotland) Director, www.DandHlaw.co.uk
Natalie’s drive to work on the North Coast 500, Scotland. LegalWomen | 11
Are you ever too old to train as a lawyer?
was 32 years old when I finally qualified as a solicitor many moons ago, having taken a circuitous route which involved a round the world trip and a Master’s Degree. Thirty-two at the time seemed ancient when compared with my colleagues from school and university who mostly had qualified by their late twenties. However, having recently finished Kate Kelloway’s inspiring book Re-education, about giving up a well-paid job as a journalist at the FT to retrain as a secondary school teacher in her late fifties, I wondered whether more women were considering retraining as a lawyer later in life. The most recent statistics from the Law Society show the average age for men to qualify is 30 and 29.5 year for women. There were 105 women who qualified at age 40-44, 59 women who qualified in the 45 to 49 age range, 35 in the age range 50 to 54 and just 8 brave souls who qualified aged 55 or over. While there are no shortage of excellent schemes to encourage women who have left law to return to the profession mid-career, there seems little support for women who want to train as a lawyer later in life. The Law Society run a wellestablished course for those who have had a career break (www.lawsociety. org) and Reignite Academy also run a dedicated programme to help women returners (reigniteacademy.co.uk). Nikki Alderson, a corporate and executive coach who works specifically with women lawyers (nikkialdersoncoaching.com) says: “I genuinely believe that age should never be a bar but women 40+ may feel less attracted to the law unless they feel they have a good chance of getting to a leadership position if they are starting the ‘race’ later.”
As a result of the pandemic, many more institutions are now offering online courses and the aim of the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE1) is to increase competition and innovation among universities/colleges and so widen access to careers in the profession. The SQE is also intended to increase flexibility by making it possible for volunteering roles/placements through university to count towards the two year training period along with paralegal experience. Jordan adds: “My advice to women career changers is to always remember that everyone has distinct and special skills. Identify your own and stay positive. Seek out those allies to encourage you on this richly rewarding professional pathway.” There is also the need to celebrate the stories of older women retraining so that it becomes the new norm and encourages others to follow suit. Former Sunday Times editor, columnist and writer Eleanor Mills set up a new platform in March 2021 called Noon (www.noon. org.uk) which is all about helping women aged 45+ find their next chapter.
While there are no shortage of excellent schemes to encourage women who have left law to return to the profession mid-career, there seems little support for women who want to train as a lawyer later in life.
She adds: “That being said, there are so many initiatives to encourage women into leadership positions, through mentoring/sponsorship programmes or by highlighting female role models, there is certainly more support for those determined to succeed later in life.” Clearly studying law can be a significant financial strain and time commitment at a time in life where many women are already juggling a lot such as family commitments. The average costs for law school are also substantial and so perhaps it not surprising that many mature students may think twice before embarking on such a course. However Jordan Lancaster, who had a very successful career in academia, linguistics and translation before deciding to embark 12 | LegalWomen
on a legal career, says: “I don’t believe the time and commitment required for studies should act as a barrier to women career changers because there are so many options now for financing your studies and for studying part-time as I have done.”
Eleanor Mills says: “Our culture’s obsession with youth means the voice and stories of older women of all backgrounds go unheard, the wisdom of the elder female unsung.” The website tells the inspiring tales of one woman who became a stand up comedian in her late 50s and another who retrained as a doctor at age 48.
There is no doubt that retraining in law will not be an easy choice and require a lot of thought. However with the state pension age gradually increasing, the longevity of our working life means that there will be more opportunity and reason to consider a legal career later in life. If you need any further inspiration, the BBC News reported in 2018 the story of an American lawyer Betsy Finocchi who passed her bar exams aged 47 and then went onto run her own legal practice with her mother Gail Segers. However she was a spring chicken compared to her mother Gail who did not pass her bar exams until the age of 61 and was still practising at age 82!
Consultant, Russell Cooke
Christl Hughes MBE reflects on her roles working with legal organisations and law societies to improve Equality and Diversity
ighting discrimination has always been an important dimension for me as my Dutch Jewish grandparents successfully hid two relatives in the basement of their home in Utrecht during the Nazi occupation of the Second World War but, very sadly, many other family members died in concentration camps. From an early age, this made me acutely aware of the consequences of all kinds of discrimination and this is where my interest in equality stems from. Equality and Diversity Work I worked as a solicitor in private practice until 2011 and then moved across to work in the Third Sector, using my experience and expertise for voluntary organisations including chairing The Solicitors’ Charity and acting as Trustee and Secretary of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES). The Solicitors’ Charity (www.thesolicitorscharity.org) has been supporting solicitors during all times of crisis since 1858 and provides welfare and other support grants. It also assists people with getting back into work and access to advice on welfare benefits and managing personal debt as well as practical and emotional support. During the current pandemic and in its aftermath, the charity is making more funds available, widening the support provided and offering information and support to help any solicitor who has been impacted by the virus. During my time as Chair, the diversity profile of the board was widened and the application process simplified. GIRES (gires.org.uk) is a volunteer operated membership charity, started in 1997, whose aim is to give a voice and improve the lives of trans and gender diverse people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender. The charity contributes to policy development regarding equality and human rights for its members, including in healthcare and education. It delivers training and information to public and private sector organisations including advice on supporting trans and gender diverse employees and service users. I was secretary of the charity for nine years (the board includes both trans and cisgender members) and in addition represented the gender reassignment protected category on the Crown Prosecution Service Community Accountability Forum. Association of Women Solicitors, London I was a former chair of the Association of Women Solicitors and am now chair of the Association of Women Solicitors, London (AWSL).
also comment on issues affecting women solicitors in the media and respond to consultations from, for example, the JAC. AWSL nominated a room at The Law Society Chancery Lane in memory of family law solicitor Joan Rubenstein* (1921-2017), an early campaigner for No Fault Divorce and a founder member of Resolution, the now high-profile organisation for family law professionals. Leicestershire Law Society This local law society was inaugurated at a meeting of Victorian gentlemen on 13th December 1860 and is now almost 160 years old. Its current objects include continuing the promotion of Leicester as a centre of legal excellence and encouraging diversity. I was the first woman to be elected twice as President of the society (in 2005 and 2020) and a lot has certainly changed since 2005. This includes increased regulation, reduction in legal aid, the rise of the paralegal, court closures and of course remote working. Much has also changed in terms of acceptance of women and increased diversity in the profession in the last 15 years. Many of the new local entrepreneurs are female and/or from ethnic minorities (as are several recent Society Presidents) reflecting the widening of diversity at all levels within the profession. The benefits of involvement with your local law society includes social events, opportunities to meet colleagues outside of your own firm, the chance to contribute to debates concerning our profession and of course enter the awards’ competitions. Sadly, many local law societies are in decline, but I would encourage anyone to join and participate in your local law society – it is very rewarding and fun. I have greatly enjoyed my voluntary work combining the “chewy” discussions I was used to as a practising solicitor with the satisfaction of helping to increase equality and diversity in the profession and ultimately the satisfaction of improving lives. There is plenty of such work and charity boards are always looking for lawyers.
Christl Hughes MBE
Chair of Association of Women Solicitors, London *https://first100years.org.uk/remembering-joan-rubinsteinpioneer-female-solicitor
AWSL is an independent organisation which provides a voice for women lawyers in all walks of legal life as well as a community to support each other in our careers. Founded in 1992, AWSL is recognised by all major government and regulatory bodies and liaises with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and Legal Services Board. We LegalWomen | 13
Visibility at the Bar
Women made visible at the Bar 01
of the most memorable days in the long relatable role-models are important to women in professions annals of the legal profession” was how Ivy where sex and gender may be seen as barriers to progression. In Williams’s call to the bar was reported exactly 100 years ago 2017, I curated a temporary exhibition, Celebrating a Centenary this month, on 10 May 1922. Williams was the first woman to of Women in Law, in Lincoln’s Inn’s Old Hall. For the first time, be called to the Bar of England and Wales and, in a speech women barristers, including Mercy Ashworth and Mithan Tata, marking the occasion, she recalled that “It had been the the first women to be called by Lincoln’s Inn’s, were represented dream of her life … that she should become a barrister.” against the backdrop of existing male portraits. There is now a Having already embarked upon a career as an academic, conference suite, at Lincoln’s Inn, named the Ashworth Centre Williams did not intend to practise at the Bar. Instead, she and the unveiling of a major new piece of artwork, to coincide acknowledged “the women with the centenary of her call who would follow and who to the Bar, is planned for 2023. would practise at the Bar, Anniversaries have the power to inspire and she asked that every Other temporary exhibitions curiosity in a subject. What is needed help and encouragement included Celebrating a should be given them in the Century of Women in Law, is to ensure continued interest and difficulties they would have a photography exhibition permanent representation of women’s to face.” Her call was made curated by Rosalind current and historic position at the Bar. possible by the passing Wright and displayed in of the Sex Disqualification Middle Temple Hall and a (Removal) Act 1919, which photography exhibition, the removed all legal barriers to women working as lawyers. Justicia Project, held in the Bar Library, Belfast to celebrate the However, as Williams recognised, the Act was only the achievements of Northern Ireland’s women barristers and 100 beginning of women’s struggle for equality within the legal years since Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell were the first women profession, which continues today. to be called to the Bar anywhere in Britain and Ireland. As the Bar of Northern Ireland explain: “We want to inspire young women As reported in Legal Women last year, (Issue 4, September to choose and persevere with a career in the law. You cannot 2021, pp.38-40), there are important questions over women’s be what you cannot see! And the more opportunities we create participation, retention and progression within the profession. for young women to see female leaders in their profession, the The way in which women are represented within their places of more they should feel empowered to take up and continue with work impacts on these issues because, research has shown, a career in law.” Anniversaries have the power to inspire curiosity 14 | LegalWomen
Visibility at the Bar
in a subject. What is needed is continued interest and permanent representation of women’s current and historic position at the Bar. As women continue to achieve firsts in the legal profession, it is only relatively recently that women have achieved the positions that would historically warrant commemoration. Rose Heilbron, whose portrait hangs in Gray’s Inn, was not elected the first woman Treasurer of any of the four Inns of Court until 1985. She was followed by Elizabeth Butler-Sloss at Inner Temple in 1998; Elizabeth Appleby at Lincoln’s Inn in 2009; and, revealing the slow progress for women in law, it was not until 2011 that Dawn Oliver was elected the first woman Treasurer at Middle Temple and 2018 that her portrait, the first of a non-royal woman, was unveiled. At Gray’s Inn, it was not until 2017 that another woman, Brenda Hale, was appointed Treasurer. She is depicted in two oil paintings and in 2021, Gray’s Inn’s main entrance was renamed Lady Hale Gate. As Gray’s Inn comment: “we understand the connection between providing role-models and widening access to the profession. Through our art collection we shine a spotlight on Rose Heilbron and Brenda Hale, to name just two. This reinforces the work being done by our members in engaging with and supporting women throughout their careers, most recently through participation in the Inns of Court Alliance for Women.” As the latest statistics reveal, almost a third of judges are now women (mostly in the lower courts and tribunals) and all four Inns of Court proudly display portraits of their women judges. Indicative of women’s progress in the profession, at Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn this includes group portraits of several Lady Justices of Appeal. For ethnic minority women progress
has been slower making it arguably even more important that they are represented. In 2021, Middle Temple unveiled a portrait of Patricia Scotland, the first black woman to be appointed a Recorder and the first woman Attorney General. As places of work for women barristers, it is also important that court buildings reflect diversity within the profession. In 2018, First 100 Years produced a mobile exhibition, which was displayed in courts and universities around the country including the Royal Courts of Justice and the Supreme Court. However, more permanent representation is required. At the Royal Courts of Justice, the robes made for Elizabeth Lane, the first woman Bencher of Inner Temple, on her appointment as the first woman High Court Judge, are on permanent display. Earlier this year, at Parliament Hall in Edinburgh, a portrait of Leeona Dorrian was unveiled to commemorate her appointment as the first woman Lord Justice Clerk in Scotland. Her portrait joins those of Margaret Kidd, the first woman barrister and KC in Scotland, and Hazel Cosgrove, the first woman to be appointed a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of Scotland’s Supreme Court. The first artwork depicting women lawyers to be displayed in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was unveiled in 2019. Dana Denis-Smith, founder of First 100 Years, explains: “We commissioned the artwork Legacy by Catherine Yass and donated it to the Supreme Court as we wanted to ensure that women in law were visible in the UK’s top court. It is the first artwork in their collection depicting women lawyers.
LegalWomen | 15
Visibility at the Bar
To mark the centenary, we were keen that it conveyed women’s journey in law in the first 100 years, their march through history but also that it linked to a future that was more inclusive, more open and in which women can thrive. This is why it depicts four portraits – Cornelia Sorabji, Rose Heilbron, Brenda Hale and a woman of the future.”
Legacy by Catherine Yass 09. Cornelia Sorabji (1866–1954) Cornelia Sorabji was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in June 1923, 31 years after she became the first woman at Oxford to sit her Bachelor of Civil Laws exams in 1892. She spent many years representing purdahnashin (veiled) women in India and described her call to the Bar as “the dream of thirty years ago or more ago accomplished.” Since 2012 a bronze bust of Sorabji has been on display, in Lincoln’s Inn. 10. Rose Heilbron (1914–2005) Rose Heilbron was called to the Bar in 1939. She practised on the Northern Circuit and, along with Helena Normanton, was one of the first women in England and Wales to be made a KC, the first woman Recorder and the first woman judge in the Old Bailey. She is described by Brenda Hale as “a beacon to all women who joined the northern circuit in her wake.”
11. Brenda Hale Brenda Hale is herself a beacon to existing and aspiring women lawyers. Following a career as an academic and member of the Law Commission, in 2004 she was the first (and only) woman appointed as a judge to the House of Lords. In 2012 she became the first woman Supreme Court Justice and in 2017 the first woman President of the Supreme Court. Never hesitating to call herself a feminist, her motto is ‘Women are Equal to Everything.’ Future Woman A woman of the future is included in the fourth window of Legacy. As Brenda Hale remarked at the unveiling the artwork, “I hope that each of the women depicted – past, present and future – will be seen as a role model, especially by our younger visitors.” 14 16 | LegalWomen
Visibility at the Bar
15 Elsewhere within the profession, the historical contribution of women is also becoming more visible. As recently as 2020, Karlia Lykourgou founded the first legal outfitter to specialise in legal attire for women, Ivy & Normanton, named after Ivy Williams and Helena Normanton. Lykourgou says that she “wanted to establish a brand that champions diversity at the Bar” and to reflect the ‘grit and intellect’ of these first women lawyers. Helena Normanton, the first woman to be admitted to an Inn of Court and one of the first women in England and Wales to be made a KC, has also given her name to the first barristers’ chambers to be named after a woman, Normanton Chambers, founded in 2019. 100 years after women were first admitted to the Bar they are finally being represented in their places of work. As more women achieve positions of seniority, it is important to recognise their achievements but also the struggles women have faced, and continue to face. As Lykourgou, a barrister as well as founder of Ivy & Normanton, points out: “When you realise what other women have had to go through to do this job, it makes it more special.”
Postgraduate Researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London and co-author of First: 100 Years of Women in Law
A longer version of this article is available online: Blogs (legalwomen.org.uk). Images for Women Made Visible at the Bar: 1. Unveiling of Legacy by Catherine Yass attended by notable first women in the law © Marcus Jamieson Pond with the permission of Spark 21. 2. Patricia Scotland by Alice Beaven. Reproduced with the permission of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple. 3. Mary Arden by Keith Breedon. Lady Arden was the first woman appointed to the Chancery Division of the High Court and the third woman Justice of the Supreme Court. Reproduced with the permission of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. 4. Helena Normanton. Courtesy of The Women’s Library at LSE. 5. Dawn Oliver by Emily MacDuff. Reproduced with the permission of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple.
6. Lady Justices Jill Black, Heather Hallett, Elizabeth Gloster, Eleanor King and Victoria Sharp. Courtesy of The Inner Temple. 7. Ann Goddard by Filippini. Ann Goddard was for many years the only woman judge at the Old Bailey. Reproduced by permission of the Masters of the Bench of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. 8. Celebrating the Centenary of Women Lawyers exhibition at Lincoln’s Inn. The exhibition was also displayed at Manchester Civil Justice Centre from April to August 2019 © Katie Broomfield. 9. A bust of Cornelia Sorabji in Lincoln’s Inn, London by James Franklin Gresham licensed under CC BY–SA 3.0. 10. Rose Heilbron by June Mendoza. Reproduced by permission of the Masters of the Bench of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. 11. Brenda Hale by June Mendoza. Reproduced by permission of the Masters of the Bench of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. 12. Leeona Dorrian, Roddy Dunlop and Grace Payne Kumar at the unveiling of a portrait of Lady Dorrian by Grace Payne Kumar to commemorate her appointment as the first woman Lord Justice Clerk in Scotland. Supplied by the Faculty of Advocates. 13. Janet Smith by Richard Stone. Dame Janet was a High Court Judge and Lincoln's Inn's second woman Treasurer. Reproduced with the permission of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. 14. Elizabeth Lane was the first woman Bencher at Inner Temple and the first woman appointed to the High Court. Courtesy of The Inner Temple. 15. Lady Justices Sarah Asplin, Nicola Davies, Anne Rafferty and Vivien Rose. Reproduced by permission of the Masters of the Bench of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn.
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 | 17
Reflections on IWD 2022
International Women’s Day 2022 celebrated by The Law Society of Northern Ireland
his important event was hosted by journalist Sarah Travers who many in Northern Ireland will recognise as the former BBC news anchor in a career spanning almost three decades. The guests of honour were Lady Chief Justice The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan DBE, the Justice Minister for Northern Ireland Naomi Long MLA, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland Dame Brenda King, DCB and Brigid Napier, the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland. While none of their journeys into the legal profession were the same, they were all agreed on their message to the audience – educate yourself, believe in yourself and be the change you want to see in society. Early days – The importance of education and role models It was a surprise to hear that Dame Siobhan Keegan did not come from a legal background despite her meteoric rise through the ranks of the Bar Library of Northern Ireland. She became Queen’s Counsel at the age of 35 and held various judicial positions before being appointed as the first-ever Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland in September 2021. The Lady Chief Justice spoke candidly when discussing her role models growing up. She did not have any family or mentors in the legal profession but instead described her role models as the women close to her at home – her mother, aunt, and her female group of friends. This was echoed by each of the guests who stressed the importance of a strong group of friends and peers. LCJ Dame Siobhan Keegan also stressed the importance of education, and that education is a privilege. While acknowledging the difficulties that women still face in the UK, she said this pales in comparison to the uncertain and often dangerous situations faced by women in many countries, where misogynistic attitudes are prevalent, particularly against those involved in the judicial system. The Justice Minister Naomi Long MLA agreed. She talked about a similar education as she attended an all-girls grammar school. This resonated with me, having also attended an all-girls Catholic grammar school in Derry, Northern Ireland. I feel privileged to have attended a school with such a strong ethos focused on motivating young women to reach their potential regardless of their chosen career path. (It was also the inspiration for Channel 4 show, Derry Girls!). Naomi Long’s pathway into making real legal changes as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly was unexpected. She 18 | LegalWomen
originally trained as a civil engineer at Queen’s University Belfast admitting that she ‘hated’ politics. However, her experience of being educated within the integrated education sector coupled with the background of a troubled Northern Ireland steered her into the path of politics. She became convinced that the divisions in Northern Ireland did not make sense and the political landscape needed to change. Although she did not realise, she would become a driving force behind that change. Make the leap – You can’t wait until you are ready Describing how she made the leap into politics and subsequently running for the Northern Ireland Assembly, Naomi Long said: “Most of us never feel ready for the next step but jump in and you may find not only you can do it, but you enjoy it”. This shows the importance of testing yourself when opportunities arise even when you feel you may not be ready for it and may not be capable. “Imposter system” is something that as women we often encounter and something I can personally relate to. However, the message was clear – you must be prepared to take a leap of faith in yourself. As the first solicitor to become the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, Dame Brenda King DCB said that often the most challenging and scary things you do are what turn out to be the most fascinating. She described her journey into her current role, and how she was pushed into it, saying it was “absolutely the right thing to do.” She also described herself as a great believer in taking yourself out of your comfort zone. She had these words of encouragement: “If your employer is asking you to do stuff that is very demanding, it is because they think you can do it” even if you do not believe this yourself. Breaking the Bias Brigid Napier, President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland is particularly keen to make a positive contribution to promote equality during her tenure. Ms Napier comes from a prominent family within Northern Ireland with an impressive legal background. However, she was most inspired by her grandmother who although not a lawyer, was highly educated but like many women of her generation was forced to give up on her career dreams to look after her family. Ms Napier also reflected on women in the legal industry who came before her and who inspired her. This included Thomasena McKinney, the first female President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the first across any country in the British Isles in 1978. She is an advocate for change and the promotion of equality for all reflective of a modern Northern Ireland. She pointed out key
Reflections on IWD 2022
groups of interest for attendees, including the Northern Ireland Young Solicitor’s Association, and stressed the importance of having a ‘survival group’ of friends to confide in and share knowledge with.
Naomi Long, Justice Minister (right hand side)
The event was a fascinating insight into the lives of four outstandingly successful women in Northern Ireland. Its key messages were the importance of education, believing in yourself, and taking steps to shatter the glass ceiling.
Trainee Solicitor Caldwell & Robinson
The Justice Minister Naomi Long MLA has been Justice Minister since January 2020 and is the current leader of the Alliance political party in Northern Ireland. Journalist Sarah Travers
Dame Brenda King AG
Journalist and television presenter Sarah Travers chaired the discussion. She is currently co-founder and director of Bespoke Communications, a training and professional development company. However, she is perhaps best known for her role as BBC Newsline anchor.
Dame Brenda King is the current Attorney General for Northern Ireland, having been first appointed to the role in 2020. Prior to this appointment, she was previously the First Legislative Counsel for Northern Ireland. Brigid Napier
LCJ Dame Siobhan Keegan
The Lady Chief Justice, Dame Siobhan Keegan, DBE. Lady Chief Justice Keegan was sworn in at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast, on 2 September 2021.
Brigid Napier is the current President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, together with being Director in Napier Solicitors in Belfast, dealing with complex personal and corporate insolvency cases. Photos used with permission from The Law Society of Northern Ireland.
LegalWomen | 19
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Judicial careers A
ll the judicial appointments systems in the UK are making significant efforts to recruit judges who reflect the people they serve. Even if this has not crossed your mind before, take a little time to review what is required. Could it be the next step for you? As well as the main courts, there is a vast complex of First Instance Tribunals with appeal systems. For those not yet qualified or not planning to do so, you might be interested in the myriad roles there are for non-legal members. Indeed, even with a legal qualification you might be eligible for one of these roles.
The JLD of South Hants Law Society invited the Editor of Legal women, Coral Hill, and Judge Christa Christensen, a Judicial Appointments Commissioner, to talk about these applications and you can view the full recording here: Resources (legalwomen.org.uk)
Clear information and instructions on how to apply are available on all the websites for the different jurisdictions England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: Judicial Appointments Commission Judicial Appointments Board Scotland Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission Don’t forget to follow them on social media as well as subscribe for emails and you will be notified about forthcoming vacancies. Judge Christensen also talked about some of the programmes which exist for those considering a judicial career but not yet decided.
Valuation Tribunal Lola Moses was appointed as a member of the Valuation Tribunal for England in 2015. She is a solicitor and works for the London School of Business and Finance as Head of Legal and Compliance. She talks about what prompted her to apply for the role and offers advice to others considering applying. Member of the Valuation Tribunal for England Lola Moses Social Entitlement Chamber Tribunal Judge Samina Majid was appointed as a fee-paid judge of the First-tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber, in 2019. Previously, she had been a Valuation Tribunal member and a magistrate, after working for several years as a solicitor. Tribunal Judge Samina Majid – Judicial Appointments Commission
Non-legal members of tribunals There are a wide number of tribunals which require non-legal specialist expertise, for example, accountants, surveyors, human resources / trade union specialists, doctors or those with experience of disability or the armed services. If you have this specialist expertise you may be eligible even if you are also qualified as a lawyer. Using the example of employment tribunals, there are some hearings where the employment judge has the benefit of non-legal members, an employee member and an employer member. Typically, the background involves someone with Human Resources experience, trade union representatives or with a business background. This gives a balance of views and experience. Eileen Flanagan has been a non-legal member of an employment tribunal for almost twenty years. She was appointed as an employee member as she had substantial experience of working as a trade union representative. Although Eileen adds ‘It does not, of course, mean that the employee member will automatically side with the employee claimant or the employer member side with the employer respondent.’
You can read more about Eileen Flanagan’s career and skills which led to her appointment: Eileen Flanagan (legalwomen. org.uk). Ann Crighton was a solicitor who transferred to become a barrister, despite her legal training she applied to be one of the ‘wing’ members of an employment tribunal, generally these members are non-legal but require different expertise. Ann was someone who satisfied that by virtue of working as a trade union Ann Crighton representative for twenty years at the Crown Prosecution Service and so satisfied the requirements of the role. You can read more about Ann here: Ann Crighton (legalwomen.org.uk). The tribunal system offers career opportunities which may tie in directly with the work you have been doing in practice. It’s worth reviewing the incredible variety of tribunals that exist. Below are two examples. LegalWomen | 21
FINTECH Law and Regulation: Second Edition H
owever modern and future-facing the subject, there is something undeniably comforting about a book. Particularly so, when it’s a proper textbook with impressive chapter authors who know their stuff, and someone who has carefully curated and edited it all into one cohesive and comprehensive tome. When it comes to the Second Edition of FINTECH Law and Regulation, that is exactly the sense of reassuring authority the reader takes away. Almost anyone can post an article online about fintech, what it is, how it is regulated and so on, but this book delivers the sort of tangible, dependable reassurance that often feels out of reach when sifting through contradictory articles online on subjects such as AI, blockchain, crypto, defi and fintech generally. From alternative financing to cyberwarfare to techfins (no, that’s not a typo), this book covers pretty much everything any lawyer would need to know about fintech. I have certainly learned a lot from reading it. The glossary alone is worth the book’s weight in gold (not that many of those with an interest in this book would be much bothered by such an outdated concept of value, but you get my point). Split into four distinctive parts ((1) Payments, Alternative Financing and Cryptoassets, (2) Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers, (3) Regulation and Compliance, (4) Technological Innovations in Legal Services), the book is easy to navigate and flows well. Some of the chapters make for particularly interesting reading, with real life examples which make some of the complex issues much easier to digest. A great example of this is Patricia L. de Miranda and Charles Kerrigan’s Cybersecurity and Blockchain chapter, which tells the tale of international cyberwarfare, including that between Russia and the US (a subject which has become particularly pertinent at the time of writing, given the ongoing war in Ukraine), Egypt and Ethiopia and North Korea and the UK. The latter, we are informed by the writers, cost somewhere between USD 4-8 billion, despite being stopped accidentally by a 22-year-old in the UK within 24 hours of the first attack. Sometimes, accidents really are blessings in disguise. The editor Jelena Madir’s own chapter on Smart Contracts is another example of how this book distils some complex issues into something digestible, using diagrams and tables where necessary to aid the reader. This chapter tells the reader that “smart contracts are essentially a slightly new form of an old phenomenon” and goes on to explain how smart contracts are treated in various jurisdictions. It dispels many myths about smart contracts, and highlights the limits on their current use, not least the lack of any consistent definition internationally as well as differing legal treatment on enforceability. Other chapters are similarly well structured and mostly easy to read and follow. I found the chapters on regulatory sandboxes, compliance and whistleblowing and robo-advisory services particularly valuable. In summary, this is an old school textbook on a very modern subject, and as such, it is a very welcome addition to my desk library. The only question is how long it will take until one of my colleagues pinches it…
22 | LegalWomen
Book reviewed by Vanessa Whitman, Finance and Fintech Disputes Partner, CMS
Six things to consider before outsourcing your legal cashiering Q
uill is the UK’s largest supplier of outsourced legal cashiering services. Here, executive chairman Julian Bryan shares his guidance on the benefits of outsourcing, as well as some specific questions law firms need to consider during the initial decision-making phase. When running a law firm, it can be tempting to want to oversee every piece of day-today admin that comes through your doors, especially when that admin relates to your legal accounts. Knowing exactly how much money is coming and going from your office and client accounts is essential for business stability, growth and, of course, compliance, which is why so many law firms rely on bringing dedicated cashiers to their team. But is performing your cashiering in-house the smartest way to do it? Here at Quill, we often talk about how managing your law firm’s cashiering in a ‘smart’ way is essential if you want to succeed in an increasingly competitive legal marketplace. There are many ways to do this, including investing in new technologies or going completely paperless. But there’s one tactic in particular which more and more law firms are employing – outsourcing. And here’s why. Why outsource your legal cashiering? There are a huge variety of reasons why a law firm might want to outsource their cashiering functions. But, to us, there’s one factor in particular which stands out – compliance. In the legal sector, accounts are governed by heavy-duty rules. That means ongoing compliance poses a huge challenge, especially for busy practices processing large transaction volumes, where the risk of making mistakes increases. By relinquishing your cashiering duties to an outsourcing expert, it’s their responsibility to help you ensure your accounts meet tough regulatory rules. You’ve got peace of mind that your accounts are up to date with no compromise on compliance. But that’s not the only reason. Some of the other major benefits are: Improved business continuity, with no gaps in services, even during peak holiday periods or sickness absence Cost savings without the extra salary, training, office space and other overheads associated with employing an in-house cashier A strong personal relationship with outsourced cashiers that act as an extension to your team, even if they’re located miles away Tailored support that you can flex to your workload volumes and your individual processes and procedures What to consider before outsourcing As with any transition between different ways of working, there are a number of factors you need to consider carefully and seriously, before you make any major commitments. When it comes to outsourcing, there are 6 key considerations in particular which will help you ensure a successful changeover: 1. Come with a new mindset ‘Outsourcing’ can elicit images of nameless, faceless person doing subpar work from far away with little knowledge of your business. But experienced outsourced legal cashiers couldn’t be further from this stereotype. The key to a successful relationship is to change your mindset of how you see an outsourced partner. The best approach is to view an outsourced cashier as a part-time employee, who happens to work remotely. By treating them as an extension of your staff, you entrust the legal cashier to act in your best interests and with the right level of autonomy to deliver efficiencies to your business. More than that, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to consider how a business would cope without a skilled employee. With an outsourced cashier, you have the business continuity in place to pick up exactly where your accounts were left off with no interruption whatsoever, including any back-posting. 2. Clear communications Communication in all its guises is a fundamental concern for both you and
your outsourcing partner. It’s likely you’ll be assigned a named cashier who you can contact however you prefer and as often you need to. These lines of communication open up from the moment you start engaging with potential partners, continuing through the onboarding stage right up until you eventually team up with your chosen cashier. Proper communications guarantee that your outsourcing company delivers exactly what you want. 3. Cost and scalability Every business has their eye on the bottom line, and cost is a critical element of any professional decision. That means you need to understand where you’re spending your money and where cost savings can be made. Outsourcing providers tend to charge fees according to your transaction volumes, so they scale up (or down) depending upon how busy (or quiet) you are. This is extremely helpful in terms of budgeting and financial planning. 4. Regulatory compliance Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) compliance is at the crux of your bookkeeping. Or, at least, it should be. Not only is it important for complying with regulators, it also enables your compliance officers to perform their roles satisfactorily. One of your outsourced cashier’s tasks is to generate weekly compliance reports which go a long way to keeping your finances, compliance officers for legal practice, and compliance officers for finance and administration on the right side of industry regulators. If there’s anything to sway your decision in favour of outsourcing, it’s probably the assurance of compliance. 5. Established processes It is crucial to establish processes for the smooth maintenance of your accounts and effortless flow of information between your law firm and your outsourcing partner. These are simple but vital efficiencies which simplify who does what, and when. Some flexibility and trust may be required here; for example, conveyancing specialists might give their outsourced cashier access to their HM Land Registry portal to post transactions directly from Land Registry statements as a further timesaving measure. Read-only access to bank statements or you online payments portal are examples of streamlining as it assists greatly with bank reconciliation. 6. Adapting to change Let’s be honest, we all become set in our ways. But that doesn’t mean the usual way is the correct way. It’s easy to get accustomed to having a cashier in an adjacent office, whom you can just throw pieces of paper at throughout the course of the day. With outsourcing, that all changes, and it can sometimes be difficult to adapt to this more structured working pattern. However, the time spent familiarising yourself with a new, more streamlined process is worth it in the long run. Your outsourcing partner will collaborate to devise best methodologies which strip out inefficiencies. It’s a big change but, if you get buy-in from all concerned, the switchover to outsourced service support will be that much easier. Wrapping up – when’s the optimum time to choose outsourcing? While the majority of law firms tend to choose outsourcing when first setting up their new enterprise, in reality outsourcing can be activated at any time. Aside from start-ups looking to reduce their admin workload, the typical triggers include cashiers retiring or resigning (requiring permanent support), or staffing shortfalls due to holidays or unexpected absences (requiring temporary support). As with most disruptive business decisions, there’s no perfect time to start outsourcing your cashiering. But there is always a right time. And trust us. When the right time comes, you’ll know it. Quill’s ‘Six things to consider before outsourcing your legal cashiering’ is adapted from its ‘Guide to legal cashiering: how outsourcing works’ webinar in conjunction with guest speaker Chas Arya from Ratio Law. Learn more at www.quill.co.uk/ blog/interview-with-chas-arya-practice-manager-ratio-law. ■ LegalWomen | 23
Smart Working: Coaching
Are you helping your colleagues grow? Find out how a coaching approach can empower others to think for themselves
s lawyers we are used to giving clients advice and this can often spill over into offering colleagues and others advice too. It becomes second nature to us. We think we are doing them a favour by sharing our knowledge but are we really allowing them to think for themselves? Adopting a coaching style within our professional roles (and at home) can provide a platform for developing relationships within a team, encouraging greater autonomy and responsibility in its members, whilst also taking the pressure off ourselves to always come up with a solution.
Greater understanding can evolve from listening to what is said and, just as importantly, what is not said. Paying close attention to language can provide valuable insights; for example the use of a metaphor such as ‘I feel like I’m drowning’ or ‘I feel like I am treading water’. Watch out for non-verbal messages as well. Tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. These can indicate how the speaker is really feeling. If they are talking about something exciting but looking rather forlorn you may want to flag it and ask if there is anything you are missing.
Coaching is about unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their performance; it is about helping them to learn rather than Asking questions and reflecting back about issuing instructions. Imagine the junior lawyer who asks Questions help to manage and focus a coaching conversation. for your help with a tricky piece of research. You are busy and Open questions starting with ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘How’ you know the answer. The quickest and most tempting thing to or ‘Who’ require a descriptive answer and enable someone to do is tell them the answer and get on with the pile of emails in think for themselves, exploring the detail of the issue. A closed your inbox. But how much is this really helping them? Presented question, on the other hand (e.g. ‘Have you tried X or Y?’), with a similar problem again, what are they likely to do? You generally prompts a yes or no answer, requiring little thought. guessed it, come to you for the answer! Not only does this take up a lot of your time but your approach has not really taught Going back to the junior lawyer stumped by their research them anything or encouraged them to think for themselves. But question; by asking a few open questions – ‘What are the what if you adopted more of a coaching approach? By actively possible answers?’, ‘What do you think?’, ‘Where else could you listening, asking questions look?’ – you are encouraging and reflecting back what they them to take more tell you, you are creating an responsibility for the task and, environment where they can with any luck, showing them Open questions starting with ‘What’, start to generate new thinking how they could approach a ‘Where’, ‘When’, ‘How’ or ‘Who’ require and ideas. similar problem in the future.
a descriptive answer and enable someone to think for themselves, exploring the detail of the issue.
Active listening To listen well we need to be present and we need to take a non-judgmental approach (suspending analysis of whether we agree or disagree with what we are hearing) – both of which are easier said than done. We should give the speaker our undivided attention and focus entirely on what they are saying. Space is created not only by silencing the ping of emails but also by acknowledging whether we have capacity to show up. An urgent client query is an obvious distraction, but other issues such as a child’s forgotten PE kit or a parent’s medical appointment may need to be dealt with before we can be fully present in a conversation.
When an individual is truly listened to in a non-judgmental way by someone who believes in their abilities and is committed to empowering them to unlock a solution for themselves, it makes them feel comfortable, valued and respected. It creates an environment where trust is built and they feel at ease, speaking more freely and openly. If, on the other hand, we are distracted, checking our emails, waiting for a gap to jump in with our own thoughts and solutions or we are obviously not interested in what is being said, the speaker may feel uncomfortable and find it hard to continue talking or think around the issue they are trying to articulate.
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When we begin to ask open questions, we need to become comfortable with pauses, allowing people time to think and resisting the temptation to fill the gaps. This can be hard for the extroverts among us who have a tendency to jump in quickly with our own thoughts or ideas! Just because someone has stopped speaking, does not necessarily mean they have stopped thinking. A pause allows someone the freedom to think without the urgency to speak and sometimes this is when the best thinking happens. Next time you have the opportunity, try keeping your thoughts to yourself; see what happens if you do not share your opinion or idea at the first opportunity. Or perhaps, use a pause to reflect back or summarise what the person has said. This shows you are still actively listening and allows you to check your understanding. Try saying ‘What I think I have heard you saying is…’; sometimes this can trigger the speaker to explore issues more deeply or come up with new ideas or options. So, how can you put some of this into practice in everyday situations? Our three main tips are: Listen to understand Ask open questions Try not to jump in too quickly with your own ideas
Smart Working: Coaching
Conclusion Adopting a coaching approach which prioritises the growth and development of our colleagues, based on mutual respect and trust, can have a profound impact. It is just as important in a hybrid working context as face to face – listening, questioning and reflecting back are as effective on screen as they are in person. Developing the skill set of senior lawyers whilst empowering juniors can play an important part in an organisation’s retention and talent development strategy as it positively correlates with business outcomes and increased employee engagement. As we emerge from the intensity of the pandemic, space will open up for us to think more creatively about how we want to develop ourselves and others. A coaching approach can also be used to great effect in team meetings and performance reviews, here are some tips: Team meetings: C heck in with everyone at the start of the meeting – it will give you a sense of how the group is feeling and allows everyone to be heard early on. Ask questions such as: What would you like this meeting to achieve? What would you like to hear from others? Try giving everyone a turn to speak for 2 minutes on a particular agenda item – this allows the quieter members of the team time and space to share their views and ideas without fear of being interrupted.
Performance reviews: Try using some of these questions rather than just giving feedback:
hat do you feel has gone well/not so well? W What would you like to achieve over the next year? Whose support do you need? How can I best help you?
“Using a coaching approach can help individuals generate new thinking and come up with new ideas.”
Family Law in Partnership
Practice Development Lawyer, Family Law in Partnership (www.flip.co.uk)
WeRateDogs® @dog_rates This is Moko. Her mom was part fox and her dad was actually a powdered donut. An extremely rare mix. 13/10 pic.twitter.com/ gjUEG2zMDU
Mother in Law @Mother__in__law 1. Why do none of these lids have containers? Where are they? 2. Is there some wonderful tupperware solution I need? pic.twitter.com/ Ho5sjzOgTm
Eibhlís Nic Gearailt – Elizatech @FitzTechLawIE These ads are wild. Full page in today’s IT. I don’t actually want to know how to spot being surreptitiously recorded. I just want to, you know, not be surreptitiously recorded. pic.twitter. com/eO2jrpcc7C
Executive Coach and former Solicitor (www.clarehardingcoaching. com)
LegalWomen | 25
Smart Working: Health
Mental Health: a strategy for you and clients A
ll of us have pressure in our lives. Be it dealing with the impact of Covid and juggling family life, to rising inflationary and energy costs, to seeing the devastation in Ukraine; our resilience levels are being tested. Alarmingly, depression, anxiety and other potentially debilitating conditions have almost doubled in the UK during the pandemic. And unfortunately, women appear to be the most impacted. According to the ONS, women are more likely than men to experience some form of depression across all age groups. The youngest groups are the most impacted. 16-29 years old: 43% women are experiencing depressive symptoms compared with 26% of men of this group. 30-49 years old: women in this age bracket are the next most vulnerable group, in terms of experiencing some form of depression.
The World Health Organisation – “Depression is not only the most common women's mental health problem, but when we refer to the prevalence of depression in men vs women, women are in an unfortunate lead.” What's the prevalence of depression in men vs women? World Economic Forum (weforum.org) No matter what profession we work in, or what our responsibilities might be inside or outside of work, we can all feel the impact of mental ill health and increased stress from time to time. Legal professionals (in my experience, especially female legal professionals) can take on the burden of stress from their clients on top of everything they are dealing with personally. Sometimes solicitors are listening to clients’ financial and legal woes, becoming a confidant on incredibly emotive situation that their clients might not even talk to their families about. 26 | LegalWomen
Who cares for the carer? Of course, there are responsibilities to your clients, but you also need to protect your own mental health. In 2015, that the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA) highlighted the need for the legal services industry to do more to ensure that vulnerable customers, and those that lacked mental capacity, were identified and supported. Solicitors need to demonstrate, beyond doubt, that their client has the clarity and capacity to make their own decisions, in a way that can both satisfy the SRA and hold up under clinical scrutiny. However, financial vulnerability can be hard to identify beyond physical health and life-event triggers, putting undue pressure on legal professionals who are not trained to identify what are often mental health and psychological conditions. Plus, it can be even harder to spot client vulnerability and reduced capacity if that person themselves is dealing with their own issues too. To deal with the stresses and strains as a solicitor, here are four ways that you can do just that starting today: 1. Getting regular exercise can help ease stress, boost your mood and improve your self-esteem. Where possible aim for 30 minutes of activity daily. This needn’t feel like a mammoth task, even a brisk walk will do the trick. Eat well, focusing on an abundance of fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water. Alongside moving more, be sure to get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired will only increase your stress and any negative thoughts you might have. Aim for about between seven and nine hours a night where possible. 2. Take time to relax and give your mind a break from worrying or overthinking. Meditating, breathing exercises, mindfulness, practicing yoga or even a long bath can all be great ways to relieve stress and restore some balance to your life. Taking some time for yourself without any distractions enables us to give back to others more effectively. 3. It’s important to concentrate on things you can control. Interestingly several studies have found that women tend to use coping strategies that are aimed at changing their emotional responses to a stressful situation, whereas men use more problem-focused or instrumental methods of
SELF-CARE CHECKLIST handling stressful experiences. But a more problem focused method might be a useful concept here. In fact, sticking to routines can help us to manage uncertainty, as can setting goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based). Be careful to set yourself realistic goals, then allow yourself to feel a sense of achievement when you achieve them. It’s important to congratulate yourself on your achievements, rather than berating yourself on what you haven’t done. 4. In being more aware of your own mental health, you can also help to spot the signs of mental ill health in others too. For instance, you might wish to consider becoming a mental health first aider. Talking a dedicated course on mental health can help you to recognise and respond to the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions, and effectively guide your colleagues towards the right support. Mental health awareness is something that many organisations value highly nowadays, so not only can you help others who might be suffering, but it’s a fantastic transferable skill. The key is to ensure you find someone you can talk to. Sharing your thoughts can often help you reflect on it in a more logical way. After all, a problem shared really is always a problem halved.
WHAT TO DO
WHAT TO IMPROVE
Co-founder and Clinical Director at Comentis
Tip 1 - Light a candle
Tip 2 - Catch up with a friend
Tip 3 - Relax in the bath
Tip 4 - Drink enough water
Tip 5 - Exercise
Credit: Emma Webb
Tip 6 - Read a book (or Legal Women)
Federation of European Bar Associations We continue looking at how the leadership of the Federation of Bar Associations (FBE) has transformed since 2017 when the first female President was elected. Below we hear from the current President, Dominique Attias, a prominent avocate at the Parisian Bar and previously Vice-Bâtonnat, and Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), the first female to be elected to the role.
Présidente de la Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe What have been the highlights of your career to date? The first highlight of my career was when I discovered juvenile justice. I was originally a business lawyer but I chose to return to university at the same time as working, in order to pass a diploma reserved for professional practice with migrant families. Second, as part of my mandate as Council Member of the Order of the Paris Bar, I investigated the issue of access to law and the fundamental place of the lawyer in representing the most vulnerable, as well as the issues of societal responsibility. Third, as part of my Vice-Bâtonnat at the Paris Bar, it was all the work I did internationally, in particular with Africa. My last highlight was the reaction of the lawyers when I presented the list of “Women and Law” to the National Bar Council, which was composed only of women, and the violent reactions of my colleagues. This list, made up of 12 women, of all ages and exercising all activities, has even been called “the bra list”. This reaction reinforced my commitment to defend the rights of women and my female colleagues. How has the position of women in decision-making roles in the legal profession developed during the time of your career? Fortunately, there is a progression but it is obviously much too slow. Women find it difficult to feel comfortable with their gender, particularly for positions of responsibility and some roles, especially in Latin countries, where the name of the position only has a masculine form may make women feel excluded.
There is also still an incredible disparity in the income gap between men and women. Typically, after ten years of practice, women earn 50% less than men. Do you have any suggestions on how women should approach developing their profile for decision-making roles? 1. Ne pas hésiter à rester soi-même c’est-à-dire féminine: Do not hesitate to remain yourself, that is to say, to be a woman. 2. Oser, oser, et oser! Dare, dare, and dare! 3. Essayer d’apprendre à ne plus être dans l’œil de l’autre qui est en général un œil masculin. Try not to perceive yourself through the eyes of another, which is generally a male eye. Are there any differences in how to develop your profile if you are standing in an election? Before thinking about an election, you must first reflect on yourself, that is to say, get rid of all the stereotypes that voluntarily or involuntarily your education has conveyed. For example, having ambition is not a defect but a quality that is not reserved only for men. I think that it is one’s own actions and investment of time that may lead you to a different commitment, in the service of others, in the service of your profession and that an election is not an end in itself. It is only an instrument to help you advance your ideas and projects. In today's world, legitimacy is acquired by having this kind of behavior. In my view, election for the sake of the election is a male behavior, even if that may be a caricature.
One issue of importance in many countries is the gender given to certain words, which suggest a male in certain positions of responsibility. For example in Italy, it is not possible to say “avocate”, there is only “avvocato” (lawyer), and even the most committed feminists are referred to in this way. ‘Avvocata’ does not exist. It is different in Anglo-Saxon countries where the word is neutral.
From the extensive travelling you have done with the FBE, what do you see as key differences in leadership between different countries? Is there a gender impact? It is essential that women take power because we will never be better served than by ourselves. What is also important is to have emblematic figures. At this level, there is a real awakening in Africa to which I have modestly contributed.
In Paris, for the first time, the President of the Bar wishes to be called “Madame la Bâtonnière” and not “Madame le Bâtonnier”. She is the fourth woman out of 222 Presidents of the Bar. This figure says a lot about the difficulty women have accessing positions of responsibility.
As part of the Paris Bar, even before taking up my duties, when I was elected, the then President of the Bar, Pierre-Olivier Sur, sent me in his place to the Conference International of the Bars Congress in Cotonou. On this occasion, I went to the meeting of all the Bar Presidents and found myself the only white woman in the middle of thirty black Presidents of the Bar Associations.
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From that day and from my first speech in the debating chamber, I recalled the importance of African women lawyers, each time I spoke. Since then, two associations of African women lawyers have been set up. From now on, the way is open for there to be presidents who take power.
In all spheres of society, in all the places that traditionally were reserved for men, there is a need for women, be it a board of directors, presidency of the republic, etc. Another conception of power is needed for the 21st century. It will be feminine or not depending on us to invent another world.
I carried out this action throughout my Bâtonnat. All the Presidents of the Bar did not understand my approach and were somewhat skeptical but I found great support afterwards. Sometimes you have to listen to the small voice inside you and the conviction that pushes you to act.
I have the impression that many young women give up their private life in favor of professional life. However, it is also up to society to adapt to the female as well as male human. If we are forced to invest so much, it is a fundamental injustice for children, who need to see their parents. Equally, to have a full professional life, you have to flourish in another life, a full private life.
How do you think we can learn from different jurisdictions and political systems to take forward the importance of women participating at all levels of decision-making? I am for positive discrimination. It is no longer possible to waste time. Positive discrimination seems to me to have been fundamental in advancing the place of women in all positions. For example, the regulations which have established and advanced the place of women, whether in the business world, in the professions (parity in elections for example) but also a fundamental regulation to oblige men to take leave when a child arrives in the family, to stop sending women back to their wombs. A measure that may seem anecdotal but to me it is totally fundamental to change mental attitudes throughout society.
Translation by Solenne Brugère, Avocate, and Coral Hill, non-practicing solicitor. We have adopted a literal translation as far as possible to communicate the passion with which Dominique Attias speaks.
ll of us are aware of the harrowing scenes unfolding in Ukraine. The Krakow Bar Association are seeking support from lawyers abroad to support their humanitarian efforts from Poland to the Ukraine. This initiative is to provide assistance directly to those who need it most. It involves coordinating logistics for the transport of food, medical and other supplies to areas that are under served (or not served at all) by larger humanitarian charities.
Kinga Konopka and Joanna Wsolek, both lawyers from the Krakow Bar Association, spoke in London during April about this initiative and encouraged further contributions. If you would like to contribute, please make arrangements to transfer to the account of Krakow Bar Association: IBAN: PL65 1050 1445 1000 0090 3043 5714. BIC (SWIFT): INGBPLPW Transfer title: ‘Self-management of the Bar: Aid for Ukrainian Lawyers’.
LegalWomen | 29
Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), the first-ever female President of the FBE, talks to Charity Mafuba about her career as a lawyer
ara Chandler qualified as a lawyer at 49, reinforcing the “it’s never too late” adage. She has always had an interest in Social Law and spoke to Charity Mafuba about what has inspired her in her career so far and her work for the FBE.
African jurisdictions. The FBE is changing. While I was President, we established an Equalities Commission, we have more women taking leadership roles, and there are more black lawyers attending congresses and participating in the Commissions.
Prior to her legal career, Sara Chandler travelled to Chile to carry out research for her PhD. However, the military coup of General Pinochet resulted in her return to London where she worked with Chilean Human Rights groups including supporting Chilean refugees. Sara then spent six years as a bilingual social worker and was first introduced to the law while on a placement at North Lewisham Law Centre. She then studied law on a part-time evening course, subsequently working as a qualified solicitor for some years in South London before moving to the Plumstead Law Centre as a housing solicitor.
What was your journey towards the election as President? In 2006 I attended as President of Westminster & Holborn Law Society and I was introduced to the Human Rights Commission. This was important for me as I have been active in human rights campaigns since the 1970s. However it was not until 2015 that I was elected to the FBE Presidency after having been Chair of the Human Rights Commission for a number of years. I had been able to bring Colombian human rights lawyers to the FBE congresses in three different years and my profile was raised as the Chair of the Human Rights Commission. This meant that when I broke the mould of “tap on the shoulder” of a chosen candidate, I stood and got elected. It was admittedly by a small margin, but it was novel to have an election.
In 2003 Sara was appointed as the first Supervising Solicitor at the College of Law’s Legal Advice Centre in Bloomsbury. She went on to become the Director of Pro Bono for the entire college in 2006. In 2008, Sara became Professor of Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education at the College. She is now a supervising solicitor in the Legal Advice Clinic of London South Bank University and also a Visiting Professor in Clinical Legal Education. Sara continues to be a considerable force for change and in particular, she has been involved in policy reform. In her position as Chair of the Law Society’s Young Solicitors’ Group in 19992000, Sara successfully campaigned for the implementation of a trainee seat on the Law Society Council.
Do you have any suggestions on how women should approach developing their profile when standing in an election? I have experience in some organisations of standing for election and getting elected. The electorate needs to know who they are voting for and that can be done in the FBE by speaking up in congresses, working in commissions and reporting as Chair of a commission. The FBE also has debates on issues from the different jurisdictions and any bar association or law society can raise issues and debate.
Women should be ready to contact organisers of Women should be ready to contact Sara currently serves as Chair conferences, and seminars organisers of conferences, and seminars of the Equality, Diversity and to explain their expertise and to explain their expertise and how they Inclusion Committee of the how they could contribute as Council of the Law Society of panel members. It is always could contribute as panel members. England and Wales where she good to hear from enthusiastic has completed 19 years as a women members. Any lawyer Council Member. who is a member of an FBE member law society, such as Westminster & Holborn Law You were the first female FBE President, could you Society, can attend a congress. describe the diversity of the organisation as it was when you joined and now? What was the impact of your election on the FBE? I first attended the FBE in Barcelona as the Chair of the Law The election did change the focus of the FBE and encouraged Society’s Young Solicitors Group. I was the only female in the women to participate and stand for leadership roles. We now group from England & Wales and there were few women in the have an Equalities Commission and we have had two women event. I returned 6 years later in 2006 as President of Westminster Presidents since me and there will be another in 2023. As & Holborn Law Society (WHLS) which is a long-standing member President in 2017, I had the choice of topic for the Congress of the FBE and accounts for two FBE Presidents. and where it was held. Naturally, Westminster & Holborn was the centre of attention as the congress was organised in London in The congress of the FBE was strange. The panels of speakers November 2017, and the topic was Climate Change and the role were nearly always made up of men. However when the plenaries of lawyers. opened for discussion, there would be female lawyers asking questions and making comments from the floor. It was not a From the extensive travelling you have done with the FBE, racially diverse organisation, though delegates came from around what do you see as key differences in leadership between 250 bar associations and law societies from all over Europe. There different European countries? Is there a gender impact? were many nationalities and ethnicities but few people of colour. I have seen there are certain jurisdictions, such as Spain, where there are more women in leadership as the Deans of their bar Each year the FBE holds a Mediterranean Assize and that is associations. For example, while I was President, Madrid and more diverse because of the participation of lawyers from North Barcelona had women Deans. There is a change on the way 30 | LegalWomen
in countries such as Poland where women are standing for election and, though not always successful, it is an important step forward. When I attended the Modern Law Firm conference in Wroclaw in December 2021, the panels had equal and even more women in the sessions on IT and Human Rights. This included young lawyers. The final conference event was an all-women panel in which I participated with lawyers from Spain, Poland, and Austria. How do you think we can learn from different jurisdictions and political systems to take forward the importance of women participating at all levels of decision-making? Last Spring, in the company of LW Editor Coral Hill, I attended on behalf of the Law Society (of England & Wales) the virtual conference organised by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. I learnt an enormous amount from women in leadership in other countries. The economic and political systems need structural change to enable women to participate at all levels. Some of the solutions to the challenges faced by women include diversity and inclusion training, equality recruitment including quotas, legislation on gender pay reporting and work allocation equality. It also means working with the grass roots on all aspects of family life, housing, health, education, employment and the economic structure, the marketplace. What we heard reported is the difference that women make when becoming decision-makers. It is vital to the health of society and I can see improvements which mean we can achieve change within the next ten years to the benefit of all nations and members of society.
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. ■
How Legal Workflow Automation Can Improve Your Firm’s Operations
egal administrative work is crucial to running a successful firm, but it’s something law firms can struggle with. For many law firm staff, the processes at their firm make admin time-consuming and tedious and can pull their focus from building the firm. That’s where task and workflow automation comes in. According to Clio’s 2020 Legal Trends Report, 84% of legal professionals believe they could better serve their clients by automating more aspects of their firm’s operations. We also found that firms using a combination of legal technology collected an average of $19,541 (£14,334 at the time of writing) more per lawyer than those that did not use legal workflow automation. Let’s look at three legal workflow automation tools that can save your firm hours:
simply have to start and stop a timer to record how long they spend on any one particular case or matter. From there, they can create detailed (and accurate) time and expense reports in minutes, which can save hours for fee-earners and those responsible for collating and billing for time. 3. Issuing Bills Speaking of billing, legal workflow automation can be a huge boon for legal firms here, too. Instead of manually collecting and applying the information needed to client invoices, automating the process can cut hours from end-of-month billing cycles. If you use software that syncs to your accounting system (Clio, for example, integrates with Xero, QuickBooks Online, Klyant, and Cashroom), you can save even more time and admin work on your processes.
1. Document Automation and Management Creating new documents from scratch can eat up a lot of law firm time. Document automation makes it easier for lawyers and other law firm staff to create new documents from existing templates, reduces the time to create a first draft, and speeds up contracting and communication processes.
By automating what can be automated, law firm staff can spend more time on high-value tasks. If you’re seeking to maintain a competitive edge in a crowded market, embracing legal workflow automation could be the exact thing you need to take your law firm to that next level.
2. Time Recording Time recording can often fall to the bottom of to-do lists – and items can get missed. With legal time recording software, users
To see how Clio helps with workflow automation, see clio.com/ uk/lw-home or, Legal Women readers can take advantage of a 7-day free trial clio.com/uk/lw-free. ■ LegalWomen | 31
GCS – Legal Indemnity Insurance – 3 NEW Conveyancing Solutions G
uaranteed Conveyancing Solutions (GCS) is one of the market-leading providers of legal indemnity insurance for ‘Residential’ and ‘Commercial’ properties and ‘Developments’. As our name suggests, GCS is committed to providing the most effective solutions for the 20,000+ conveyancing professionals who rely on us across the country. Part of our commitment involves expanding and improving our ever-growing selection of legal indemnity insurance policies so that whatever risks your clients need cover for, GCS can provide. With that in mind, we have recently added THREE new policies to our already broad selection: ■ E state Rentcharge – Lender Only: Covers the lender in the event that estate rent charges are unpaid and the property subsequently burdened by a statutory lease or the rent charge owner successfully re-enters the Property under Section 121 of the Law of Property Act 1925. ■ Absence of Easement – Encroachment / Overhang: Covers the buyer if the owner of adjoining land refuses to allow access to carry out essential repairs and maintenance to guttering, fascias and or soffits which overhang or encroach on the neighbouring land. ■ L ack of Crossover Agreement (Dropped Kerb): Covers the buyer if the planning authority/highway authority take
enforcement action under Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980 to prevent the use of the crossover/dropped kerb. These policies can be issued INSTANTLY through our speedy, easy-to-use online system: ‘GCS Online’. Creating an account is straightforward and only takes a few clicks. Users have 24/7 access to their account, whether they’re working in the office or from home. One of the benefits of GCS Online is that legal indemnity quotes can be obtained in seconds and policies can be issued in minutes, or saved to your account for later. Electronic policy documents are sent instantly via email, which means your clients are on cover immediately. In addition to GCS Online, all our policies are available ‘Directly’. Conveyancers can simply contact us and our underwriters will issue policies for you from our office. Our ‘Bespoke’ service is also available for more complex risks, or if you cannot find the cover your client requires. To register for GCS ‘Online’, to obtain a Quick Quote or to view our broad range of policies, please visit www.gcs-title.co.uk. To obtain a ‘Bespoke’ or ‘Direct’ quote, or for any further enquiries, please contact us using the details below. ■
3 NEW SOLUTIONS FOR CONVEYANCERS LEGAL INDEMINTY INSURANCE FOR SOLICITORS AND CONVEYANCING PROFESSIONALS
Estate Rentcharge Lender Only
Cover for the Mortgage Lender Up to £3m Limit of Indemnity Also known as Rent Charges Policy Premiums start from £31*
Find out more: www.gcs-title.co.uk/LW
Absence of Easement Encroachment/ Overhang
Cover for Residential Properties Automatic Inflation Clause Also known as Air Space Overhang Premiums start from £70*
Lack of Crossover Agreement (Dropped Kerb)
Cover for Residential Properties Automatic Inflation Clause Also known as Dropped Kerb Cover Premiums start from £80* *incl. IPT
01435 868 050 email@example.com
Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions Limited (authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) Registered in England & Wales No. 3623950 Registered Office: ECA Court, 24-26 South Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1DU
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Junior Lawyers Division
Working from home: What is the impact for junior lawyers? Cobi working from home on her repurposed dining table.
he concept of remote or hybrid working presents new challenges and opportunities for junior lawyers across all sectors including adjusting to remote supervision; considering how best to raise one’s profile in-person and via online platforms; maintaining a healthy-work life balance and understanding how these changes may affect our career progression. I look at some of the key issues junior lawyers should be considering.
building relationships with other legal professionals remains. Junior lawyers now find themselves in a position to cast our (networking) nets beyond the geographical area in which we are located in a way that has never been seen before.
Mental health and well being Hybrid working not only introduces a method of dual working but also brings a new way of “dual living”. For example, what was once my dining table is now my office desk fully equipped Remote supervision with a computer screen, keypad and printer (with my table Mentorship and supervision are key in providing a solid mats seeming to have made their way into permanent storage). foundation in any newly entered legal practice area. Although What used to be a clear distinction between work life and home employers set out strategies for how its organisation will life has for many junior lawyers seemingly blurred to varying implement supervision policies, it is important for junior lawyers degrees depending on one’s personal circumstances. However, to stop and consider “what is the best way for me to learn and no matter what arrangements each of us have in place or what how do I communicate this to our individual circumstances the appropriate person”. As are, it is still recommended we look ahead, engagement to carry out regular mental “what is the best way for me to learn from junior lawyers is essential health and well-being checks in establishing best practice on ourselves to ensure that and how do I communicate this to the for remote supervision. It the new way that we work still appropriate person” is currently in its infancy or allows for a healthy work/life experimental stage, however balance. now is the time for junior lawyers to be proactive in communicating their short and long The new normal for junior lawyers term needs around work supervision. Organisations can only There will always be a difference in opinion between those implement strategies or provide solutions to problems that who have a preference towards the old versus the new way of they are aware of, so it is crucial that those subject to remote working but it looks very likely that hybrid working may be the supervision take the initiative in starting a dialogue with their new normal for junior lawyers. Keeping informed and taking employers, discussing their experiences thus far and what the initiative with any changes in how we work is key to any changes they would like to see. You might raise concerns with successful career progression. line managers at ‘121’s, initiate a wider discussion with other junior lawyers within your team, engage with local law societies or seek advice from The Law Society’s Junior Lawyer Division or Cobi Bonani Council Members representing junior lawyers 0-6 years PQE*. Associate at specialist planning law firm Communication equals change and so it is vital that junior Town Legal LLP lawyers speak out to ensure their opinions are an integral part of the discussions at management level on remote supervision. *You can contact the JLD Council Members and Chairs of Junior Raising your profile Lawyers Division through LinkedIn. A benefit of the changes in how we work is the opportunities afforded by virtual networking which has encouraged junior Council Members Junior Lawyers Division lawyers to consider alternative methods of raising their profile and networking with peers. Although many people enjoy the Cobi Bonani Suzanna Eames traditional in-person networking, virtual networking provides Lizzy Lim (Chair of JLD) a new way for junior lawyers to broaden their network beyond Baljinder Singh Atwal their locality to a national or even international level by simply Jonathan Andrews Darja Cernobrivec clicking “join meeting”. The reduction of in-person events (Vice Chair of JLD) over the last two years may have changed the way in which we make personal connections, but our ability to continue LegalWomen | 33
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Completed. We’ve submitted more than 750,000 digital AP1 forms for our clients.
InfoTrack gives you the complete solution to submit your AP1s digitally. With the inevitable switchover to digital AP1 forms looming in Nov 2022, you’ll be reassured to know InfoTrack’s digital AP1 solution is fast, simple, and reliable. Up to 90% of the form can be pre-populated thanks to seamless integration with all major case management systems. A feature that also helps reduce the bane of conveyancers’ existence, requisitions, by up to 30%. Complete your move to digital. Visit infotrack.co.uk/digitalAP1 or call us on 0207 186 8090 to book a free demo.
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The Legal Practice Productivity Solution
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Le g nting cou Ac al
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LEAP offers cutting-edge, integrated legal technology expanding beyond traditional practice management software.
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