THE UK MAGAZINE FOR ALL WOMEN WORKING IN LAW
■ Equal Pay 1 | LegalWomen
■ Gender Pay Gap
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7 Gender Pay Gap
MEDIA No. 1858 PUBLISHED November 2021 © 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.
10 Equal Pay
13 Climate Change 31 LW Opinion
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32 Women in Prison
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Our First Anniversary NOVEMBER 2021
was delighted to mark the first anniversary of this magazine with an event hosted by The Law Society of Scotland. Originally, it was planned as in-person event, but Covid restrictions required we swap to an online meeting. Ken Dalling, President of TLS Scotland and subscriber to the magazine, gave an introduction stressing that women not progressing in the profession is a matter for everyone to get involved. Men and women must resolve this. I also put the business case for resolving barriers to progression, as the profession in Scotland, as in much of the UK, has a majority of women, it’s clear that to ensure consistent staffing, women’s skills must be retained within businesses. The evening’s discussion was on hybrid working and we welcomed Harriet Minter, journalist and author of Working from Home, Lyndsey Cartwright, partner at Morton Fraser and Lynsey Walker, partner at Addleshaw Goddard. One of Harriet’s top tips on making sure that you are noticed, even if working from home, is to ensure you network internally. When you’re in work, ensure you take the opportunity to talk to other members of staff so people know who you are; for example, you might arrange for a speaker and invite different departments, circulate information or simply make sure you acknowledge people as you walk around the building. Another tip, is assisting your manager in knowing what you are doing by sending regular emails with updates which also acts as a record for yourself in readiness for any performance review; it’s so easy to overlook a great achievement that took place earlier in the year.
Both are clear about their boundaries and clear about the reasons why they may not be available at certain times. They don’t disguise days off or the need to collect children with other reasons. ‘Don’t feel guilty’ was a clear message, after all you are taking a smaller profit share to reflect less work. Both the partners are flexible so if there’s an urgent matter, they can juggle their time off but equally they make sure it is taken, otherwise it is the age-old problem of being paid less because you are so grateful for the flexibility, but you are still working full-time hours. We will continue the discussion in future editions and online blogs. This Legal Women issue features climate change law and I’m sure no-one has missed the coverage of the COP26 in Glasgow. We hear from some of the negotiators and advocates working on these issues. As always equal pay and the gender pay gap generate debate and I’m delighted to feature comments from Dana Denis-Smith and Anna Meller and Emma McIlveen. We continue to review our magazine format and intend to feature more of the excellent blogs we receive in future editions. If you have any suggestions, we would be delighted to hear from you info@LegalWomen.org.uk ■
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Lynsey Walker and Lyndsey Cartwright explained how flexible and agile working had developed in their firms.
LW magazine is for everyone qualified as lawyers, solicitors, barristers, advocates, judges, legal executives and those working as paralegals, legal secretaries, advisers or recruiters, the list is endless. We welcome the many male champions as readers and contributors.
Our mission is to: ■ Provide clear information on gender parity ■ Inspire practical initiatives to create real change ■ Promote innovation in leadership and practice LegalWomen | 5
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Gender Pay Gap
Gender pay gap reporting – blunt instrument or transparency tool?
“It is a shame that we are so half-hearted about some of the laws we’ve got. Equal Pay – where is it? It’s the law, it should be in place, what’s the problem? Yes, it’s going to cost a lot of employers a lot of money because they are not paying equally! So?!” Rosemary Martin, General Counsel, Vodafone.
the Chancellor’s announcement with a further delay of 6 months to compulsory reporting – “due to the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” – and moved the filing deadline to 5 October 2021.
Figures published in October 2021 paint a dire picture at law firms and showed a rise in the gender pay gap at big city law firms in the year that women were marking 100 years of being finally allowed to join the legal profession. Most of the magic firms hover around the 40% gender pay gap whilst some of the US-HQ-ed law firms big enough to need to file, report a much higher pay gap, e.g. 61% at Sidley Austin LLP.
s the deadline for gender pay gap reporting approaches every year, Rosemary Martin’s comments from a First 100 Years1 event hosted in September 2015 always spring to my mind, with sadness. She was of course referencing equal pay (i.e. paying women and men the same for the same job) as opposed to the pay gap (a measure showing the difference in average earnings between women and men) but both these concepts were introduced by legislation against gender inequality to address women’s work being devalued by organisations. I am sad that both remain enforced equally shyly since coming into force 46 years and 4 years ago, respectively. My heart sinks every time we approach the filing deadline in April each year as I know just how the widening of the gender pay gap will be explained away and criticised as an insufficiently nuanced tool, a “blunt” instrument incapable of painting an accurate picture of organisations pay structures. And yet, since it has been introduced, women have been able to rely on the public data to demand transparency around their pay and be compensated for being underpaid. Lady Hale, who is our patron, told me a story a while back: “I’ll never forget the day when a bright woman student of mine at Manchester University told me that she had been offered a job with an insurance company (she didn’t want to go into legal practice) but that the pay would be two thirds of what a man would get for doing exactly the same job. The Equal Pay Act 1970 made that impossible. Whatever the good that it did not do, we should always remember the good that it did do.” I too remember being offered a job and taking a call from my future boss informing me that they would pay me £6,000 less than the advertised salary for the role. On the day I arrived at work, I realised I was the only woman at that pay grade. Too many women continue to have stories like these – they should by now be historical anecdotes of how pay for work used to be for women not how it is today. When the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his economic emergency rescue package on 24 March 2020, he also announced that compulsory gender pay reporting2 would be suspended for the year. It would have been just the 3rd year of data under the legislation. It was a move that hardly made any waves at the time, as the UK was placed under lockdown. And yet we were only a matter of days from the filing deadline of 31 March (for listed companies) and 5 April (for private companies) respectively. Most companies should have been ready to file. Those that did file, showed an increase gap of pay and bonuses with the situation clearly getting worse, not better. By taking this seemingly small step to alleviate the pressure on businesses, the Chancellor had unwittingly given them the green light to put the gender pay gap to the bottom of the pile. In February 2021, the Equality and Human rights Commission (EHRC) followed
Like in previous years, we saw law firms blame male heavy senior teams for skewing the pay gap figures, but there really are no excuses. Firms need to review their pay structures and ensure that everyone at the same level is paid the same. It is not good enough to say that a new recruit was paid less in her last role so should start at a lower salary than male colleagues. Firms must pay people equally if they have equal value to the business. Gender pay gap reporting is vital in the fight for equality. A lack of pay transparency is one of the main barriers to women’s progress in the law and although early on in a private practice career pay grades are very clear, it is at senior levels where there is less transparency and the pay gap widens. Reporting gives visibility to the problem. Now we have the knowledge, action needs to follow. I would like to see the results of pay gap reporting drive client buying decisions – that is how we will see real change. Whilst senior in-house lawyers have publicly stated they will insist on diversity from the law firms they instruct, on gender pay gaps many find themselves in companies that also face this problem. This means they are less likely to put their heads above the parapet to demand change from their suppliers. The publicity generated by reporting also raises awareness amongst women of what their rights are and how their own firm performs. Women at poorly performing firms need to speak out and demand equal pay when they know they are being paid less than men – it is after all against the law. Long term firms need to wake up to the fact that ensuring equal pay means retaining talented women who, if they see they are being undervalued, will begin to look elsewhere. ■
Founder of Next 100 Years and CEO, Obelisk Support 1. First 100 Years, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxPHnRUCIpA 2. The deadline for law firms with 250 or more employees to reveal their gender pay gap under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 is 31 March (public companies) and 4 April (private companies).
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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: ■ sourcing 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. ■
Gender Pay Gap
Reducing Gender Pay Gaps in law
ome of the biggest gender pay gaps reported this year have been in law firms. In my experience two things are driving this: ■ women lawyers struggling to balance work and home deliberately move themselves off promotion tracks, or ■ they stay on a partner track but opt for practice areas more easily combined with responsibilities at home, but which are less financially rewarding. My research identified four key barriers to women’s progression in legal firms; all linked to flexible working. Extending access to flexible working has been identified as a proven measure in supporting women into senior roles. It is one of the most frequently listed actions in the improvement plans that accompany pay gap reports. So how does a lack of access to flexibility create barriers to women’s progression? 1. Women rarely discuss their need for flexibility, instead they make assumptions about what is possible within the firm. Typically, this means moving to a career limiting role or resigning. When that happens, the firm treats it as a woman’s choice and rarely explores the underlying reasons. A deeper conversation about what she needs at this stage in her life opens the possibility of restructuring her job, so the firm retains her skills. While most firms have flexible working policies these may sit alongside cultural assumptions that flexible working is not possible for those who want to make Partner. 2. Concerns around having happy clients can make Partners reluctant to agree non-standard working. In a highly competitive business environment, there are concerns that clients will be lost if the firm is not able to deliver services more quickly than competitors. When I talked to the corporate clients of some of the biggest City law firms, I discovered such fears were unfounded. Clients are also navigating flexible arrangements among their staff and are sympathetic towards the idea of their lawyers working flexibly. Clients also said they chose lawyers on the basis of expertise rather than rapid turnaround of work. The message here was that while some work will always be urgent, some can be delivered to deadlines that accommodate flexible arrangements. A further challenge, particularly once a woman has reached Partner level, is the heavy emphasis on client development, much of which traditionally happened during evening events (although this is likely to have changed over the past 18 months with covid restrictions). While client development is an essential part of the role, working late into the evening need not be. For example, I met a female partner who had agreed a 50% arrangement, working until early afternoon before leaving to collect her daughter from school. All her client development activities were focussed round breakfast and lunch events which not only suited her but was also popular with her clients and potential clients.
3. Those who chose to work flexibly in law firms often suffered from the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome. The allocation of assignments, particularly those which might lead to development and promotion, favoured people working in the office. I’ve no doubt some of this will have changed as firms adapted over the past 18 months to home working. However, there is a further caveat here that when it comes to work allocation it’s important to watch for unconscious biases that may arise. Even where she has not expressly said so, there’s often an assumption (particularly by men) that the mother of young children doesn’t want ‘stretch assignments’ as she is prioritising family over work. 4. Before the pandemic many of the structures around training of junior staff and the delivery of client work were based around the office. While these will undoubtedly have changed during lockdown, it’s important that firms do not view this as a short term fix but build on lessons learnt to make remote working more accessible for fee earners. During my research I spoke to a number of senior Partners in City law firms. All understood the commercial benefits of encouraging women into Partnership; and that their clients increasingly preferred working with diverse teams that reflected their own demographics. To reduce gender pay gaps and support women into senior roles here are 4 things firms can do: 1. Check your practices and cultural assumptions around flexible working, promotion and work allocation to ensure women have real choices. Create environments where open and honest discussions around the challenges working mothers face are possible. Don’t simply dismiss a woman’s decision to move to a back-office role or leave as ‘her choice’. 2. Publicise good practice already happening ‘under the radar’ in your firm. Look for role models and publicise them. Where women are aware that combining motherhood with being a Partner is possible, they are more likely to go for it. 3. Encourage people to think creatively about flexible working. Very often it will be needed for a relatively short period of time but will pay dividends in supporting women’s careers. For example, the female partner I talked about earlier had agreed a three-year reduced hours arrangement. 4. Think about how you manage your clients’ expectations. Are they getting in the way of accommodating flexible schedules? Is there scope for renegotiating? ■ Anna Meller is an expert in flexible, remote and hybrid-working, author and authority on work-life balance. Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annameller/
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Employment: Equal Pay Act Blair Wassman What does the right to equal pay mean? The principle of equal pay for men and women is regulated by the Equality Act 2010. Where you are employed under a contract of service, apprenticeship or otherwise to work personally, you may be entitled to terms which are no less favourable than a comparator of the other gender who is in the same employment. This will be the case where the comparator is employed to do “equal work” which is either like work, work rated as equivalent, or work of equal value. This applies not only to pay, but to certain benefits as well. Do I have a case? A woman who suspects that a male colleague who is performing equal work is receiving more favourable terms than her may have an equal pay claim (and vice versa). However, an employer may be able to justify the distinction because of a “material factor” – for example, seniority, length of service, or different levels on a pay scale. As with any possible legal claim, it is important to gather information that supports your position. You could ask your colleagues about their terms to identify a pay disparity. Alternatively, you could ask your employer directly. Historically, you could submit a questionnaire to your employer to help determine whether you had a claim, by asking questions about the comparators you had identified, how pay was determined and whether the job descriptions of the comparators provided any explanation for a difference in pay. Whilst no longer a statutory requirement, equal pay questionnaires remain a useful tool in determining whether any equal pay claim has good prospects of success. ACAS provides helpful guidance regarding what you should ask here. Another useful way of gathering information is to look at your employer’s advertisements for the same or similar roles. Where do I bring a claim and when should I bring it? Claims for equal pay can be brought in either the Employment Tribunal or the civil courts. The Employment Tribunal is the most popular choice given it is a no-fee regime in contrast to the civil courts. However, time limits differ in that, usually, you have six months from the date your employment comes to an end to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal. Claims in the civils courts must be brought within six years. You can also bring a claim at any time whilst you remain in the role for which you think you are not receiving equal pay. It is always best to seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure that you do not lose the opportunity to bring your claim due to a limitation issue. Unlike other employment-related claims, there is little room to extend time in equal pay claims.
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What do I have to prove on order to win an equal pay claim? To succeed in an equal pay claim, you need to establish the following: ■ your comparator is in the same employment; ■ you are performing like work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value to that of your comparator; ■ your comparator has a term in his or her contract that is more favourable than the equivalent term (if any) in yours. Once the above has been established, if your employer is relying on a “material factor” defence to justify the inequality, they must then show: ■ the reason for the less favourable treatment; ■ that this reason is material; and ■ that the reason is not because of the difference of sex (direct discrimination). Thereafter, you may still have an argument that the factor has a disparate adverse impact on women (indirect discrimination), and if you can prove this disparity, your employer must then objectively justify it, in that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Should I bring a claim? Many are still apprehensive about the stigma attached to litigation against your employer, however, there is a notable shift towards advocating for transparency regarding pay and equal pay rights for women. If you are concerned that you may be treated differently if you raise concerns about your pay or because you intend to exercise your rights to bring an equal pay claim, you should take legal advice early regarding your potential claims and those arising out of any detrimental treatment. If you are successful, the Employment Tribunal or court can make a declaration regarding your rights, and they can require your employer to pay you any arrears of pay due (up to six years). For this reason, it is certainly worth considering and there are specialist lawyers who are able to guide and support you through the process. ■
Associate BDBF Employment Law
Northern Irish solicitor pursues equal pay claim D
espite over 50 years of equal pay legislation there are still thousands of cases processed every year complaining that the legislation is not being followed; varying between 10 and 20% of the overall number of employment cases. Many are withdrawn once a settlement is offered and of those that proceed there is often intense media scrutiny. One hurdle in deciding whether to proceed is whether it will impact future employment prospects and, for this reason, many individuals are reluctant to pursue a case; solicitors are no exception and so there are few reported cases. Emma McIlveen explores the case of Margaret Mercer, a solicitor in Northern Ireland. Margaret Mercer v C & H Jefferson Solicitors  NIIT 01083/15IT Summary of Facts The Claimant was a solicitor who worked in an insurance defence litigation department. She was promoted to the role of “salaried partner” in December 2008. She alleged that she was performing like work to 3 male comparators. In June 2009, the Claimant’s comparators were promoted to a newly created grade of Salaried Partner, called Salaried Partner with access to profit share. The Respondent denied any breach of the Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 or European Law. The firm accepted that the Claimant was receiving less remuneration than her male comparators but did not accept that she was undertaking like work with them. The Respondent contended that, although the Claimant and her male comparators were all qualified solicitors, there were significant differences in the work they and the Claimant were undertaking both in respect of legal work and other responsibilities. In addition, the Respondent contended that, if the Claimant proved that she was undertaking like work with her comparators, there were genuine material factors which were not the difference of sex and which explained and justified any differences in pay. Relevant legal principles – like work In this case, the President of the Tribunals helpfully set out the relevant legal principles in relation to like work. The Tribunal highlighted: It is common case that the onus is on the Claimant to prove on the balance of probabilities that:(i) she was carrying out like work with that of her comparators, or any of them, at the date of the presentation of her claim on 9 June 2015, as that determines what she is contractually entitled to moving forward from 9 June 2015; and (ii) she was also carrying out like work with and was paid less than her comparators or any of them for the six year period prior to the date of the presentation of her claim, as she is claiming 6 years arrears of pay.
It is common case that the definition of like work, as set out in Section 1(5) of the Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 requires the Tribunal to determine two questions separately and sequentially: Waddington -v- Leicester Council for Voluntary Services  IRLR 32 EAT. As explained at page 121-122 of IDS Employment Law Handbook on Equal Pay November 2008, the first question is whether the Claimant and her comparators or any of them are employed on work that is of the same or a broadly similar nature. This requires the tribunal to carry out: (i) a general consideration of the nature of the work (not the specific tasks as they are considered at the second question stage) carried out by the claimant and her comparators; and (ii) the knowledge and skill to do them: Capper Pass Ltd -vLawson  ICR 83. If the Claimant establishes that her work is of the same or a broadly similar nature, then the second question requires the tribunal to consider the specific tasks or details (not the nature of the jobs which are considered at the first question stage) of the jobs of the Claimant and her comparators and to determine:(i) whether there are any differences in the tasks and duties the Claimant and her comparators carry out. (ii) if so, whether the differences are of practical importance in relation to terms and conditions of employment, having regard to: (a) the frequency or otherwise within which the differences occur in practice; (b) the nature of the differences; and (c) the extent of the differences. As explained at page 122 of IDS Employment Law Handbook on Equal Pay, November 2008, it “is for the Claimant to prove that she does the same work or work of a broadly similar nature but the evidential burden of showing “differences of practical importance” rests on the employer – Shields -v- E Coomes (Holdings) Ltd 1978 ICR 1159, CA.” As explained at pages 123 and 124 of the IDS Handbook what “is significant” at the second question stage is “not the nature of the jobs done by the Claimant and her comparators, but the differences (if any) in the tasks and duties that they respectively perform”. In Adamson and Hatchett Ltd -vCartlidge EAT 1264/77, as set out at page 124, “the EAT held that tribunals must look closely at the detail to decide if there are any differences in the work actually done, how large those differences are and how often they operate. To help determine the existence or otherwise of such differences, the employer must provide the tribunal with a sufficiently detailed analysis of the jobs in question. Continued on next page
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Continued from previous page Genuine Material Factor Defence With regards to the genuine material factor defence, the Tribunal highlighted: “Essentially the Employer, in raising a genuine material factor (GMF) “defence”, is saying: “I know that the work of the woman and the work of her comparator are of equal value (in this case like work) but the man is paid more for a particular reason and that reason has nothing to do with the fact that the claimant is a woman or that the comparator is a man.” The Respondent attempted to rely upon the following genuine material factors: 1. Ownership and Control of Key Client Base; 2. New Business Development; 3. Proactive contribution to marketing to generate work for the Firm recognising the competitive market and the need to explore new ways of securing business for the future; 4. Income generation beyond the level of salaried partner level; 5. Potential for career development i.e. leadership skills, motivating a team of professional colleagues and support staff and involvement in aspects of quality assurance compliance (ISO); 6. Recognition of Professional Reputation in journals such as Chambers and Legal 500; Outcome In this case, the Tribunal ultimately found that the Claimant was doing like work with her male comparators. On the other hand, the Tribunal found that the Respondent failed to establish its genuine material factor defence. In the end, the Claimant was therefore awarded the sum of £273,252.79. ■
Emma McIlveen BL Emma is a barrister who specialises in employment law. She practices across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
The Equal Pay Act 1970 In the 1960s, it was still common to advertise openly, lower rates of pay for women than men, regardless of their skill levels. The Act was a response to growing unrest and strikes. The strike of the women sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham Factory in 1968 attracted widespread attention and led to strikes elsewhere, culminating in the creation of the National Joint Action Campaign Committee for Women’s Equal Rights (NJACCWER). Barbara Castle, the Employment Secretary, brought in the Equal Pay Act, permitting equal pay claims in the public and private sector, but it was not implemented for some years to allow employers to make ‘adjustments’. Some employers re-graded jobs in a discriminatory way, putting them outside the scope of the Act.
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Did you know? The UK Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee have finished receiving evidence on the menopause and the workplace. It summarises the enquiry:
Menopause and the workplace Inquiry A 2019 survey conducted by BUPA and the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that three in five menopausal women – usually aged between 45 and 55 – were negatively affected at work and that almost 900,000 women in the U.K. left their jobs over an undefined period of time because of menopausal symptoms. This could mean that women are leaving businesses “at the peak of their experience” which will “impact productivity”. Women in this age group are likely to be eligible for senior management roles, and so their exit can lessen diversity at executive levels. It can also contribute to the gender pay-gap and feed into a disparity in pensions. Under the Equality Act 2010, menopause discrimination is largely covered under three protected characteristics: age, sex and disability discrimination. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides for safe working, which extends to the working conditions when experiencing menopausal symptoms. There have been several calls made for further legislation to require employers to put in place a workplace menopause policy to protect women going through the menopause against discrimination whilst at work. The Government Equalities Office 2019 ‘roadmap’ on gender equality commits the Government to conduct research into “what works to improve women’s reproductive health, across the life course” and “develop indicators relating to women’s health experience and impact on their work.” The Government has also recently sought views to help inform the development of a Women’s Health Strategy. This inquiry examines the extent of discrimination faced by menopausal people in the workplace, and investigates how Government policy and workplace practices can better support those experiencing menopause.
You can review the evidence submitted here: Menopause and the workplace – Committees – UK Parliament There is also a specific report for the financial sector produced by The Fawcett Society, working with Standard Chartered Bank and the Financial Services Skills Commission: 25% of women are more likely to leave the financial services workforce due to menopause experience | The Fawcett Society. ■
COP 26: What’s it all about? T
he UK is hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. These meetings are the forum for negotiations on global efforts to tackle the climate crisis under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Paris Agreement.
COP25 held in Madrid (2019) failed to take any significant decisions so COP26 is seen by many as the crucial opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5˚C. A Brief History 1990 – 1995 This first phase involved the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC has the ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The convention not only identifies guiding principles but also establishes processes and institutions to enable countries to cooperate to achieve this aim. 1995 – 2004 The second phase of the climate governance regime involved the initiation of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. The Kyoto Protocol is a legally binding instrument, which triggered legally binding commitments on specially developed countries to reduce their emissions. 2005 – present day The current phase focuses on developing a more global approach to address climate change, with nationally-tailored flexible commitments, which push every country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, irrespective of whether they are developed or not. Under this phase in 2015 global community adopted the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a binding international agreement that commits countries to work together to limit global warming this century to well below 2˚C, preferably to 1.5˚C above preindustrial temperatures. Currently, 192 Parties out of 197 Parties to the UNFCCC are Parties to the Paris Agreement.
Key Issues to Discuss and Resolve in COP26 Some issues could make or break the negotiation outcomes of COP26. Here are five issues that require substantive technical work and political consensus to be resolved in COP26. 1. Common Timeframes Countries have not yet agreed on the common time frame for their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). At COP24, it was decided that climate targets beginning to implement in 2031 should have common time frames, but there is no agreement yet on length (5 years or 10 years). During COP25 in Madrid, countries could not agree on whether to synchronize their NDC targets with the established five-year ambition cycle. They also could not agree on when to make such a decision, as some argued there was no urgency. During the Climate Dialogues, countries continued exchanging views to better understand what factors could either prevent or enable the overdue decision. A decision on a common timeframe needs to be taken in COP26 to set a clear picture of emission reduction in the upcoming years. 2. Climate finance Climate finance refers to the financial support that richer, highemitting countries provide or mobilize to help less-developed nations to deal with climate change-related adaptation. Finance for climate action is showing the least progress and the greatest signs of distrust. COP26 will have a heavy finance agenda, including the start of negotiations on a new collective finance target, which must be agreed upon before 2025. It is vital that developed countries reaffirm their commitment toward increasing public climate finance over the coming year to build confidence ahead of the next crucial round of negotiations. 3. Transparency Framework Negotiators hope to reach an agreement on a transparency framework, through which countries will report and communicate progress in meeting their climate targets. This is important to increase trust and confidence in the Paris Agreement process and to better hold countries accountable for their commitments. A lot of work remains for negotiators to finalize the technical details of the Paris Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework. Pending decisions include the details of the tables and formats countries will use to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions, climate action, and support. Continued on next page LegalWomen | 13
Continued from previous page Negotiators also need to decide on the linkages between the Paris Agreement’s transparency framework and provisions for the use of Article 6, which is another contentious issue for COP26. 4. Loss and Damage Loss & Damage refers to situations where the climate impacts a country faces, either from slow-onset events like drought and sea-level rise or sudden-onset events like storms that exceeds their adaptive capacity. The most important demand from climate-vulnerable and poor countries is for new and additional funding as well as technical assistance and capacity building for dealing with the loss of land, property, livelihood, and culture that are now inevitable, or will be caused by continued insufficient climate action. The US has traditionally opposed efforts to be held financially or legally liable for the damage of climate impacts on vulnerable nations, and this is expected to be a thorny issue again this COP26. 5. Market Mechanisms for Carbon Outstanding negotiations related to Article 6, particularly on carbon markets, will continue to be a major focus. The UNFCCC hosted several informal closed dialogues to explore how countries could reach a consensus. Given the failure to agree on decisions at COP25, the key issues from 2019 remain unresolved are – how to avoid double-counting (ensure that emissions reductions used in carbon transfers are not counted twice); how to ensure overall mitigation of global emissions (so that Article 6 is not just an offsetting tool but rather leads to emissions reductions); how a levy on trades can fund adaptation efforts; and how to clarify whether pre-2020 credits generated under the Kyoto Protocol could continue to apply to emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. Following the lack of decision at COP25, weak rules were endorsed under the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, which could undercut ambitious efforts in this sector. Countries must find a robust compromise at COP26.
Great initiative on the International Day of the Girl. Well done to the Geena Davis Institute for its audits and Lego for commissioning its report. Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey | Toys | The Guardian (ampproject.org) I. Stephanie Boyce on Twitter An amazing few days. … for the second year in a row I have made the Powerlist 2022: Most 100 influential Black British people, and to top it off look who I bumped in to, Denise Lewis, sports presenter and former track athlete. #makingadifference #law Legal Women on Twitter
A significant amount of work remains in the negotiations for a successful COP26. However, the urgent need to respond to the climate emergency means that state parties have to try hard (in both technical and political negotiations) to find a landing zone to build trust and confidence to ensure the work gets done. Only then can COP26 send the message that the world is in the track of sustainability while making our economies and our people more resilient and carbon-free. ■
Sharaban Tahura Zaman
Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) Student, Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Blue plaque for Helena Normanton-trailblazing lawyer – 1st female law student at an inn of court, 1st female counsel to lead in a case at the high court, the first woman to run a trial at the Old Bailey and one of the 1st two women to be King’s Counsel. https://t.co/vbZ5WcM6HG" / Twitter English Heritage on Twitter An active campaigner, speaker and writer for equal rights for women throughout her life, Normanton did not take her husband’s name and was the first married woman to have a passport issued in her birth name. https://t.co/GM6rKR08tO" / Twitter
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Junior Lawyers and Climate Change Suzanna Eames
orld temperatures are rising and we continue to be presented with evidence that we are now living in the midst of a climate crisis. How is this affecting junior lawyers and the firms they work for? What do junior lawyers look for? Climate change is a topic that is increasingly top-of-mind for us all, but younger generations are strongly pushing the agenda. In the legal world, junior lawyers, trainees and students alike are increasingly looking at how firms are responding to the climate crisis and their eco-friendly credentials are becoming a much more important factor in career decisions, often influencing where they choose to work. Those seeking out training contracts or considering a lateral move may once have focused only on a firm’s pay and hours, but these days junior and prospective lawyers are also looking at a firm’s contribution to environmental initiatives, pledges to reduce emissions and sustainability efforts before choosing to apply or accepting an offer. Those with very strong views may even choose not to pursue a role at certain firms if they undertake work for clients in polluting industries, for example. It is unsurprising then that Legal Cheek, a popular resource for those seeking training contracts, has included “Eco-friendliness” as a category on its “The Firms Most List 2022”, which scores UK firms on a framework against criteria such as work-life balance, pay and diversity. Furthermore, in August 2021, a group of US law students published the 2021 Law Firm Climate Scorecard, which gave a number of UK firms an “F” for their contribution to climate change through transactional work and litigation for clients in the fossil fuel industry. This is evidence that young and prospective lawyers’ expectations in relation to the contribution of firms to the climate crisis are high and continuing to increase.
become more environmentally friendly, and to provide practical suggestions which your firm can implement. By actively putting forward proposals for change or encouraging your firm to get involved with wider climate change initiatives (such as The Planet Mark or the Legal Sustainability Alliance), junior lawyers can demonstrate and impress with their awareness of the wider commercial world and how the business operates. For example, at Farrer & Co, firm initiatives are primarily run by junior lawyers and trainees (supported and encouraged by management where appropriate) who are interested in helping the firm to “go green” and junior employees are actively encouraged to make suggestions to management. Farrer & Co even encourages prospective trainees to get involved, challenging vacation scheme students to complete an assignment about the firm’s green initiatives. This encourages students on the scheme to speak to people in the firm, think critically and come up with creative ways the firm could improve sustainability. It encourages students to engage with those who are involved in CR initiatives (and also those who aren’t) to find out about current efforts and levels of awareness amongst employees. Change does not have to be massive to make a difference. Simple changes like offering recycling bins, reusable takeaway cups and cardboard (rather than plastic) containers in the firm café and reducing printing will go a long way to reducing employee waste. Firms can alter their electronics (their lights, computers, printers, etc) so that they are sensor related and only turn on when staff are in the office. Firms who are more willing to make changes may consider increased facilities for cyclists, more sustainable energy suppliers, and less business travel with the increase of hybrid working patterns. All of these changes will lead to firms’ carbon footprints decreasing, and I would encourage every junior lawyer to speak up where they think their firm’s policies can be improved.
Junior lawyers, trainees and students may be reflecting on their own current (or future) role in the climate crisis and asking whether a firm’s values align with their own. Indeed, it is becoming more common for prospective lawyers to ask about a firm’s green credentials at training contract interviews when weighing up offers. Those firms engaging constructively with reducing their carbon footprint will likely attract and retain more top talent in the coming years.
By presenting ideas in a positive way which support both the environment and the business, junior lawyers will be listened to – so be confident and put your own suggestions forward. The climate crisis shows no sign of abating and we know that businesses can no longer ignore it. Everyone has a part to play in making their firm more green – after all, it will affect all of us. ■
How can junior lawyers contribute to combating climate change? In the wake of the pandemic, many firms are reviewing their working policies in order to decide what form of hybrid working they wish to implement going forwards. This period of change is unprecedented in the legal industry - lawyers are notoriously hesitant to accept change. For those junior lawyers interested in steering their firms towards a greener future, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved.
Vice-Chair of the Junior Lawyers Division
This article has been written with the assistance of Lise Whelan, trainee at Farrer & Co.
Many firms are conducting surveys to assess how employees wish to work in the future. These surveys are a perfect opportunity to feed back to management the desire to LegalWomen | 15
Women leading the fight on climate change litigation: the power of dreams The Wayúu Women: The Ouutsü, or Dreamers In the midst of the pandemic I was contacted, as a matter of urgency, by Rosa María Mateus, a lawyer from the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyer’s Collective (CAJAR), one of the most respected human rights organisations in Colombia. She was seeking to instruct me on a case concerning the largest open pit coal mine in Latin America (and one of the largest in the world): the Cerrejón mine.
Cerrejón coal mine The facts of the case sounded almost like a story out of a Gabriel García Márquez book. The Cerrejón mine is in the midst of indigenous Wayúus’ ancestral land, covering an area of approximately 69,000 hectares of land, and uses approximately 24 million litres of water a day.1 The mining diverts and uses an enormous number of streams and tributaries, the water returns contaminated with heavy metals, chemicals and sediments. The mine operates 24 hours a day, every day of the week and contaminates not only water but also air. The facts appeared to me like a description of hell. I learned that with the water scarcity, fruits that the indigenous communities relied on for nutrition, such as the Guáimaro, have disappeared, part of the deforestation resulting from the mining activity. For centuries the fruit of the Guáimaro tree sustained animals and humans in La Guajira. More disturbingly, I learned that the community I was asked to represent (which was located right next to the mine) had no access to water (other than handouts), lived in the middle of coal dust, and watched how a stream (Bruno stream), which was under threat of permanent diversion because the company wanted to mine the coal beneath. Respiratory diseases were rampant and the most vulnerable were the children. Luz Angela Uriana Epiayu, a Wayúu woman whose children have contracted diseases as a consequence of the contamination by 16 | LegalWomen
the mine, is leading the community’s fight against Cerrejón. She said: “the water they bring us by tank car to some communities is a bit of the water that they have stolen from us and polluted”.2 Luz Angela was supported by the Ouutsü or “dreamers” of the community In Wayúu culture only women (as opposed to men) can “dream”; that is, being a Wayuu fabric patterns spiritual guide, healing the community and being the interpreter of messages important to the survival of the community which come to them in dreams. The world of dreams in Wayúu culture is considered to be just as important as conscious reality, and whilst the Wayúu women are dreaming, the deity of sleep, ‘lapü’ visits them to transmit important messages. Cristina Epiayú, leading with Luz Angela the fight against Cerrejón, stated: “I know traditional medicine, but as the multinational is ending the health of our children, so is traditional medicine ending, because there was a sacred hill where our grandparents went to look for plants, there are no more and if there are, they are few and they cannot be given to children because they are contaminated, dirty with coal dust. With the vibrations (of the mine) we no longer dream as we dreamed before, we no longer sleep well because the noise sounds every night.” Some traditional authorities of the community had opposed bringing a claim against Cerrejón. But this did not stop the women. Carmen Uriana said: “We are victims, a little girl of mine had her little lung burst. We don’t have our liquid to be healthy, we have a little river, but every now and then they are threatening that they are going to divert it because it has coal beneath. We are like children when they are hungry and cry, we are asking to be seen.” Owned by three multinational companies two of which are registered on the British Stock Exchange: Anglo American (British Company), BHP Billiton (Australian Company) and Glencore (a Swiss Company), the coal extracted from the mine is sold to Europe (Germany, Turkey etc) and other parts of the world from Cerrejón’s office in Ireland It was even more disturbing to learn that our I-pads and laptops in Europe were being powered, possibly, with energy obtained at such a high human cost. I worked feverishly. I was assisted by Rosa María and Luz, a young lawyer from CAJAR. I was impressed by their stamina and their commitment. The health emergency COVID-19 aggravated and deepened the vulnerable conditions of the Wayúu de Provincial community. I threw myself into the evidence and drafting a petition before the United Nations. I filed a case before the United Nations Special procedures. In September 2020, the UN, in an unprecedented step, called on the mine to halt its operations during the pandemic. The Wayúu women had won.
The legal fight of the Wayúu women continues, but the first step which internationalised their plight had been won because of their courage and determination, and because advocacy of the highest calibre had been done for them. Soon after filing I happened to attend a zoom meeting in which lawyers working on environmental matters across Latin America were giving presentations. I realised that they were all women – highly represented in environmental Non-Governmental Organisations. It was that moment that I realised women were leading as lawyers, as defenders and as guardians of the natural world, the fight for the right to a healthy environment. In my mind, women leading the legal fight against climate change, are like Wayúu women, Ouutsü: seers, dreamers:■ There are influential female lawyers, the brains behind landmark cases (Roda Verheyen, Julia Olson, Melinda Janki) ■ There are influential female plaintiffs (Greta and other teens, Swiss Senior Women, indigenous women etc). ■ There are academics (Christina Voigt and many others) producing thought leadership bringing the law to serve fundamental principles for the existence of humanity. Roda Verheyen Roda Verheyen, a German Rechtsanwältin, is the legal brains behind one of the most fascinating cases to emerge challenging climate change, Lliuya v REWE. On 24 November 2015, Saúl Luciano Lliuya, a Peruvian farmer, brought proceedings against energy giant REWE, one of the largest emitters, over the melting of glaciers in the Andean city of Huaraz, Peru, before a German court. He recently stated: “Five years ago we started a battle with an opponent that spreads in the atmosphere in the form of CO2. This opponent is a threat to the civilization on this planet that we inhabit. Five years later, I realize: It is easy to destroy the Earth, but very difficult to heal it again.”. Roda conceived the case as a tort case. Nothing like that had been done before the Huaraz case reached German courts. As such, it broke new legal ground. By now, it has made it to the evidentiary stage and is a test case that is known globally and has a symbolic effect like no other lawsuit. Melinda Janki Melinda Janki, a former oil lawyer, is behind one of the most important cases recently brought before the Constitutional Court in Guyana, challenging ExxonMobil’s largest oil development outside of the Permian Basin. The company is pushing to extract over 9 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas from ultra-deep wells off Guyana’s coast. Melinda, who leads the legal team for the applicants, emphasizes the project’s global significance: “Guyana’s petroleum production is a potential 3.87 gigatonne carbon bomb, putting Guyana at the forefront of the fight to save the planet from oil and gas.” The Torres Strait Islanders Climate change taken to the human rights courts:
International Dispute Resolution for Climate Change”. My key submission was that contrary to the assumption that international courts of “limited jurisdiction” (as opposed to courts of general jurisdiction such as the International Court of Justice) were “unlikely to contribute in a material way to a broader response to climate change challenges”, the opposite was true. I foresaw that international human rights organs/courts not only would be adjudicating climate change claims but argued that they were equipped to do so under international human rights treaties. I gave as an example, the possible jurisdiction of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Present in the room, there were some lawyers from ClientEarth. They instructed me soon after as Counsel on what became the first international case on climate change, the Torres Strait Islanders case. At the time there was no blueprint to argue a case of this sort in an international human rights court. I have this image of myself, drafting the pleadings, on my laptop, for nearly 10 days, using everything I knew, acquired in 20 years of practise as international lawyer, crafting the arguments for my clients, First Nation peoples; seeing a remedy that could save their sinking island homes, and with them possibly their world. As I write, we are expecting a decision which to my mind, does not come soon enough. COP26 is upon us and the urgency of action is again in the news, I want to celebrate the women that are challenging inaction, those that are in the frontline, like the Wayúu women and the Torres Strait Islanders, in particular. I want to celebrate the “dreamers” who have been leading the causes and crafting the arguments to preserve the natural world and with it, humanity. ■
Barrister (Public International Law Specialist) at Twenty Essex 1. CAJAR, 2019 Report “Diez Verdades sobre Carbones de Cerrejón”, p.9. Available here: https://www.colectivodeabogados.org/?10-verdades-sobreCarbones-del-Cerrejon 2. The plight of Luz Angela Uriana Epiayu was featured in a recent documentary by DW “Colombia: The curse of coal” (2017) which can be watched in the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1xLZWp2eBc
© CC BY-SA 4.0
I too consider myself to be like the Ouutsü, or Wayúu dreamers: possessing knowledge and seeing what others did not see before, and putting this to the service of the wider community. Towards the end of 2018, I attended a conference on Small States as a speaker. I delivered a presentation called “Melting glaciers, disappearing States, and endangered populations: LegalWomen | 17
On the road to Glasgow T
he 26th UN climate change Conference of the Parties (COP26) at Glasgow will mark the latest round of negotiations, that go back to 1992, when countries signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change. The negotiations have continued ever since, with some significant steps along the way, the latest being the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Our organisation, Legal Response International (LRI), will be present at the talks to provide legal support to delegates from low income and climate vulnerable developing countries and civil society observer organisations. Why does legal support matter? The UN climate negotiations are amongst the most complex multilateral law and policy-making processes ever. Delegations of industrialized countries typically include specialized experts, lawyers and support staff. By contrast, negotiators from developing countries who represent countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change can rarely rely on a similar backing. As a result, they will often struggle to understand the legal implications of negotiations, let alone be in a position to influence them. LRI’s objective is therefore to try and redress this imbalance and level the playing field between actors in the negotiations. We do this by providing free legal assistance through a global network of law firms, barrister chambers and universities. Our volunteers have expertise in public international law, international environmental law and other legal areas that are relevant to the negotiations. This also includes human rights, trade law, carbon trading, finance, insurance or intellectual property law. The queries we receive vary considerably. They are to some extent always a function of the negotiations themselves at a particular time and also vary depending on the person who has raised it and whether they are a seasoned negotiator or more of a novice. Legal provisions can be ambiguous, sometimes deliberately so, and we may be asked to clarify their meaning, e.g. to what extent the Paris Agreement creates new financial obligations for developed countries. We may also suggest legal language that will ensure the policy positions and interests of developing countries are adequately promoted. Alternatively, we might advise on how to use some of the principles contained in the PA, such as equity, to put pressure on countries to increase their climate pledges.
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Empowering women Climate change impacts all, regardless of gender, but women are often disproportionately impacted. Yet they are often not involved in the decision-making process at local level. At the UN climate negotiations, although there has been an increase in the participation of women delegates in the last decade, they are still less well represented than men. Therefore, ensuring equitable representation and participation at all levels of the climate change decision making process is key to making sure climate solutions are more effective. We contribute to improving women’s participation in the process by involving them at all levels of our service. As volunteers joining our team at the negotiations, they often play a key role in building relationships with women delegates. When we run legal training courses, women participants are often in the majority. Paris Agreement and domestic legislation The Paris Agreement only provides a broad framework with limited guidance on national implementation. The agreement left it to parties to develop further rules on its future operation, national implementation and administrative framework at a later stage. As a result, the majority of requests for assistance still concern the international dimension of the climate negotiations, in particular around the development of these guidelines. Increasingly however our work also relates to the domestic sphere. To implement commitments made under the Paris Agreement and fully benefit from its provisions, many states are having to review and develop policies, legislation and institutions. We might participate in national roundtables involving law and policymakers and other stakeholders, who may not be familiar with the international framework. In this process there is no ‘one size fits all’ and local dynamics will dictate the approach taken by a particular country. Gaps in local expertise, in for example the elaboration of framework climate legislation, means that some of our experts who have drafting and regulatory experience can provide support in this process. Strengthening national legal capacity Building the legal capacity of negotiators, law and policymakers is an essential aspect of our work. We do this in several ways. We have junior lawyers from less developed or other lowincome countries join our team at the negotiations. We also organize or contribute to training workshops for negotiators, other government officials, lawyers, parliamentarians and civil society representatives in many countries. This has included Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania and Zambia as well as in the UK. So, to
help prepare lawyers on developing country delegations for COP26, we organised a four-day legal training course in London. It will combine sessions on the UN climate regime, domestic implementation and practical exercises such as mock negotiation scenarios. It will be delivered by a mixture of senior negotiators, academics and commercial lawyers. We also prepare briefing papers on issues arising out of the negotiations and other publications. Our most recent one, published under the European Capacity building Initiative umbrella, is a pocket ‘Guide to the Paris Agreement’. This includes the Agreement and accompanying decisions text with explanations intended for negotiators and domestic practitioners alike. Legal apps may not be an obvious tool in the traditional lawyer’s arsenal, but we decided to test the ground and earlier this year we launched a Paris Agreement A to Z app to make the guidebook more accessible for negotiators. It is free of charge and publicly available to download from Google Play and the App Store. How to get involved Whether you are an experienced lawyer with expertise in one of the areas relevant to the UN climate regime and interested in providing pro bono legal advice to poor and climate developing countries or a junior lawyer wanting to engage with new and emerging areas of law, we are keen to hear from you. To join our network or find out more about our work, please contact email@example.com. ■
Legal Officer and Advice Co-ordinator Legal Response International https://legalresponse.org
London Legal Support Trust – triumphant return to the London Legal Walk 2021
ver 8,500 walkers were welcomed to the heart of Legal London for The London Legal Walk on Monday 18 October, organised by the London Legal Support Trust (LLST). The long-awaited return of the event is expected to raise £600,000 for frontline free legal advice charities in London and the South East.
commented, ‘After months of planning and anticipation, we have been so pleased to see our brilliant teams, sponsors and supporters. The amount raised by the legal community will help give a lifeline to many vulnerable people in our society. Thank you to everyone who walked, ran and had fun while raising these vital funds – even in the rain!’.
The walk was led by some key figures from the legal community including the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Law Society President, I. Stephanie Boyce and the Treasury Solicitor, Susanna McGibbon. Teams were in high spirits and did not let the autumnal weather get in the way of their sponsored 10k walk.
Teams were treated to a street party after their walk with a steel band, stilt walkers and street food. There were some walkers unable to get to central London for the event. So they walked remotely, one particularly dedicated walker completed a 10k walk near his home in Texas, USA!
Over 100 frontline free legal advice centres have been forced to close their doors since the pandemic as a result of increased demand and decreased funding. Many people have found themselves in a vulnerable position for the first time and have faced job loss, health problems and domestic abuse, but do not have the means to pay for good quality legal advice. Frontline free legal advice clinics offer support with these issues and desperately need additional funding in order to remain open. Bob Nightingale MBE, founder of LLST
Looking ahead LLST is now planning for 2022 with the return of the London Legal Walk back in the Summer sunshine on Monday 4th July, amongst other firm favourites including Legal Walkies and Regional events. What can you do to help? Please sign up to receive regular emails about LLST’s events and activities (link HERE) or email firstname.lastname@example.org and please get involved in as many events as possible to fundraise for frontline free legal advice agencies in London and the South East. ■ LegalWomen | 19
Insight into the UN climate negotiations What is a COP? As I write, heads of state, diplomats, technical and support staff, as well as business and civil society representatives meet at COP26 in Glasgow. This will be the 26th round of the Conference of the Parties (or COP for short). Although the talks are referred to as COPs, there are in fact three governing bodies (COP, CMP and CMA) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement respectively, meeting in parallel. They are the supreme decision-making organs. COPs take place once a year, to review the implementation of the Convention and the other two legal instruments. In addition to those three organs, two permanent subsidiary bodies, responsible for conducting technical discussions and preparing the decisions that will be taken by the supreme bodies, will convene, as will many other constituted bodies, ad hoc working groups and financial entities. Each year, one party is elected to serve as COP/ CMP/CMA president – the UK being the host this year – with the presidency rotating between the UN regional groups. With many different tracks of negotiations and meetings happening in parallel, a profusion of acronyms and technical jargon galore, attending the UN climate negotiations for the first time can be a daunting experience. There are 197 parties to the Convention, 192 to the Paris Agreement. When negotiating, parties will often associate themselves with negotiating blocs, so as to amplify their voice. This is especially helpful for smaller delegations, which struggle to follow all the topics being discussed in parallel. Those negotiating blocs are formed based on shared interests and/or circumstances. They include G77 + China – made up of 134 members, primarily developing countries, the African Group of Negotiators, the Umbrella Group, Least Developed Countries, Alliance of Small Island States, EU and others. Countries can and do align themselves with different groupings, depending on the position being adopted on a particular issue. The life of a negotiator If you are attending the COP as part of your country delegation, your journey will often start in the week prior to the formal start of negotiations. Assuming you make it safely to Glasgow – not a mean feat for delegates coming from all parts of the Globe in these Covid-19 times – you may need to attend the preparatory meetings of your negotiating bloc. These are opportunities for groups to discuss their position on specific topics and negotiating strategy. At that point you may be asked to follow a particular thematic issue. The formal proceedings will start with the opening plenaries where each body (COP/CMP/CMA) will adopt their agenda and deal with some procedural matters. They will conclude with the closing plenaries when decisions or conclusions are agreed. Decisions are adopted by consensus. This is generally understood to mean that no party expressly objects to the draft decision in question being adopted. Only countries have the right to vote but others such as representatives of business, international organisations, interest groups and associations have observer status. The negotiations proper take place in formal and informal settings. As a party delegate, you will attend the contact group meetings set up to discuss the topic you have been assigned 20 | LegalWomen
to follow. Some agenda items may also be considered through informal consultations. When discussions get tricky or reach a deadlock, spin off groups or ‘informal informals’ may be formed to try and reach compromise. Sessions will normally start at 10am but your day will likely have started much earlier. You might be staying in accommodation a long way from the conference venue and face a long commute every morning and evening. You will be expected to attend the daily coordination meetings for the group your country belongs to. Depending on the group, this may be as early as 8 – 9am, or as late as 7-8pm in the evening. Bilaterals with another delegation or a bloc, or other unscheduled meetings to clarify positions, find areas of convergence and break deadlocks will also feature on some days, particularly in the second week when parties come under pressure to find compromises so as to be able to adopt decisions or conclusions at the end of the session. As you might have realised by now, COP sessions are not ‘just’ testing delegates’ negotiating skills: they are also a test of endurance and fitness. To keep yourself going, snacks, coffee and water will be as important as having your mobile phone and laptop to hand. Should you find yourself with time to spare at any point, fear not: there are a large number of side events taking place on the margins of the official meetings for you to choose from and exhibits, where observer organisations highlight diverse climate change issues, to visit. Gender balance at COPs The importance of female representation and leadership at the talks has long been acknowledged and the goal of gender balance was established at COP18 in 2012. Yet, despite this, progress on the issue has been slow. In the last three years (2019 to 2021), for example, only 33 per cent of all constituted body positions were occupied by women1. This unequal participation is also reflected in country delegations: at COP25 in Madrid (in 2019), 60 per cent of government delegates and 73 per cent heads and deputy heads of delegations were men. Evidence also shows that senior delegates are more likely to be men, and men again are more likely to be active participants in the negotiations. The picture is more positive when it comes to integrating a gender perspective in the work of constituted bodies. There has been a significant upwards move towards integrating a gender lens, in the last few years. Although there is still much work to be done, this is a positive development as women’s equal participation in climate related processes and decision-making at all levels – international, national and local – is key to making climate solutions as effective as possible. ■
Legal Officer and Advice Co-ordinator Legal Response International 1. ‘Overrepresentation of men in UN climate process persists’, 12 October 2021, https://unfccc.int/news/overrepresentation-ofmen-in-un-climate-process-persists
Gender and climate – how do they add up?
Helen Broadbridge looks at the surprising overlap between birth rates, female empowerment and helping climate change.
conomic growth is the foundation of the Great Acceleration – a term coined to cover the explosion of human activity, wealth creation and planetary damage that has taken place since the middle of the 20th century. The human rewards of long-term economic growth are clear – improved sanitation, food and water security, life expectancy and lower levels of violence. But can this growth go on forever? There is a tension between the policy objective of infinite growth and the finite resources of our planetary system. The full range of climate risks goes beyond tons of carbon dioxide. Biodiversity loss, depleting soil fertility, damage from extreme weather and zoonotic disease transmission also pose serious risks to the global economy. There is another trend that has coincided with the Great Acceleration: the slowing rate of population growth – by half since its peak in the late 1960s. This is good news. The trend that increasingly educated, financially independent women choose to have fewer children means fewer people to consume resources and emit greenhouse gases. But the headlines are not so sure. In South Korea and China, policy changes have been put in place to encourage women to have more children. In the US and Europe, some have voiced disappointment that the Covid-19 pandemic led to a baby bust rather than a baby boom. What links these two trends? Female empowerment is an effective carbon mitigation strategy. What is good for women seems to be good for the planet. So why are falling birthrates a concern for some? Taking a step back, when a country's birth rate falls below 2 (the “replacement rate”), the population should decrease (subject to net migration). Over the long term, policy makers may worry that the working (i.e. taxpaying) population will shrink in relation to the non-working population and it will become more difficult to pay for public services, such as pensions and long-term care. In other words, population growth is a shortcut to economic growth. Balancing a state budget is a legitimate concern but should the blame fall on women for having fewer children? Far from it. The countries with the highest birth rates (around 6), such as Niger, Chad and Mali, are also statistically significant for other reasons: Niger has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world (40% of 15-24-year-olds), a child mortality rate of around 80 per 1,000 births and overall life expectancy of 62 years old (compared to 99%, 30 and 81 in the UK).
Therefore economic growth via population growth at the expense of women and the planet is not the best solution. Policies designed to persuade women to have more children also encourage the damaging narrative that women are reproductive assets in need of remedial action, rather than financially independent agents exercising their own free will. A better solution would be for policy makers to plan for smaller populations and smaller, more efficient economies, which can still provide the high standards of living that advocates of economic growth so desire. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase the size of the working population relative to the non-working population without looking to the birth rate: 1. The first priority should be to keep women in the workforce throughout their careers. Clearly a woman (just like a man) who has a baby in 2021 has the potential to contribute tax every year for the rest of their working life. As long as the public and private sectors put enough infrastructure in place so that they do not leave the workforce early, it should be possible to secure the tax contributions of both parents for many years to come. 2. We should all expect to work for longer as the retirement age will inevitably increase with life expectancy. 3. Immigration and technology should be used to plug workforce shortfalls. In summary, the need for change is clear. Our economies are both exposed to the risks of planetary damage and contributing to those risks. In terms of exposure, half of the global economy (approximately $44 trillion) is estimated to depend on the direct extraction of resources from forests and oceans or the provision of ecosystem services such as soils, clean water, pollination and a stable climate. In terms of contribution, in 2019 the world’s 50 biggest banks directed $2.6 trillion to biodiversity loss. Perhaps it is time to embrace the trends of having fewer children and living longer and plan our economies accordingly. ■ Helen Broadbridge is a Tax solicitor working in the City of London and Honorary Secretary of Westminster & Holborn Law Society.
In fact, a declining birth rate and an ageing population are symptoms of many positive human development indicators: lower child and maternal mortality, higher vaccination rates, better sanitation, better access to education and the workplace for women, longer life expectancy, and better-quality healthcare. The global demographic shift is not a symptom of women making the “wrong” choices, but the culmination of human progress leaving a large, retired generation side-by-side with one where working women have something to lose by having a child. LegalWomen | 21
The 10 Laws of LinkedIn: Best Practices for Legal Professionals A
t Quill, we think of our combination of legal software and services as your law firm’s best friend. But there’s a second-best friend on the block: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is perfect for any aspiring law firm to stamp its mark on a competitive digital world, find new clients and search for talented hires all under one roof, and all for free. 94% of lawyers are using LinkedIn but not all of them are using it well. That’s why we’ve put together the 10 laws of LinkedIn… Law #1 – Focus on YOU Be prepared to put yourself in the spotlight. While it’s important for your law firm to have its own company page, people connect with people, not logos. Posts from personal accounts generate higher engagement than those from company pages. However, you don’t want your company page to gather dust. Keep resharing content from yourself and other team members. Law #2 – Put a face to the name Adding a professional image to your profile is essential. Smile and accompany with a branded cover photo to build a positive connection between your face and your brand. Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression for people arriving at your profile, so give them a reason to stay. Law #3 – Grab the headlines With over 770 million users on LinkedIn, your headline is an opportunity to explain what makes you different from every other lawyer. Couple with a well-written, personalised ‘About’ section to stand out. For your headline and bio, put yourself in the shoes of prospective clients. What do they want to know about you? How can you help them? Why are you special? Your profile is as much about them as it is about you. Law #4 – Build your network LinkedIn is a popularity contest but don’t send connection requests to everyone. It’s worthless having thousands of connections if only a few are actually interested in what you have to say. Instead, build your network slowly and steadily. Start with people you know then branch out to people you have a mutually beneficial relationship with. Thereafter, curate your posts around their specific interests. Law #5 – Get engaged Share the love before you start sharing content. Engage with a few posts a day. A ‘like’ is good, but if you can add value through a comment, that’s even better! You get what you give, and the best way to make people engage with you is to engage with them first. Be friendly and professional in your interactions. Anything you say will be held against you, so be constructive, not antagonistic! 22 | LegalWomen
Law #6 – Create and cultivate, don’t just hit ‘share’ Only post content that’s of value to your connections. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t like it when you share links to external pages, so create your posts natively. Consistency is preferable to quantity. The more you share engaging content, the more you’ll be visible within your network’s feeds and the more you’ll be top of mind when they’re looking for a law firm. Don’t overdo it as people will quickly get bored. As a rule, 20 quality posts a month is the optimum quota. Law #7 – Prioritise video content Video content is on average three times more engaging than text. Our eyes are instinctively drawn to other people’s faces, so putting yours front and centre of people’s feed will stop them from scrolling past. Home-made video content hit its stride during COVID-19 but don’t consign it to 2020. Personality is a key skill for any lawyer, and if you can prove you’re comfortable in front of a camera, you can prove you’re comfortable in front of a courtroom too.
Quill’s guide to the essential smart law firm technology in 2021 Discover what smart technologies to invest in, why to go paperless and how you can make the tools you already have at your disposal work harder.
Law #8 – Be proud, stay humble When your law firm is doing well, tell people. Sharing positive stories and company wins does a number of things: 1) acts as highly engaging content for current clients, 2) tells the right story to prospective clients and 3) builds trust and pride within your team. But, the past two years have been difficult for many so don’t be overzealous when patting yourself on the back. Focus on the hard work of the team and stay humble. Law #9 – Don’t cold call Once you’ve built relationships with prospective clients, drop them a friendly message to turn that lead into a warm one. Introduce yourself, explain how you know them and what you can do for them, and suggest a more formal meeting. Don’t cold call – no one enjoys getting a connection request followed immediately by a sales pitch. Pique their interest with a steady stream of relevant content and they’ll be more receptive. Law #10 – Remember, it’s a long game LinkedIn success won’t happen overnight. It takes months. Once you’ve established yourself as a leading voice, you won’t even have to think about it – you’ll use LinkedIn almost out of muscle memory. It takes roughly 15 minutes every day. A ‘like’ here, a comment there and a strong post once a week. Plan ahead, make LinkedIn a key part of your marketing strategy and the leads will organically flow in. If you want somewhere to start, why not follow Quill on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/ quillpinpoint and go from there? ■
Learn more: www.quill.co.uk/resources/ guide-to-the-best-legal-tech-toolsfor-uk-law-firms-and-lawyers-in-2021
Interim Deputy Chief Executive at ClientEarth
lspeth is a barrister qualified in England and Wales and began her legal career at the commercial bar in London, specialising in commercial contracts, shipping, insurance and construction, regularly appearing in court.
She joined ClientEarth in 2014 to develop its strategic litigation programme which uses litigation to put pressure on governments and business to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future. ClientEarth’s litigation work includes take cases to court to challenge permits for coal power plants, holding governments to account for illegal levels of air pollution and forcing companies to be transparent about their impact on the environment. Earlier this year Elspeth became Interim Deputy Chief Executive. Her role includes working closely with CEO James Thornton, the Board of Trustees, and senior leadership to set organisational strategy, driving ClientEarth forwards to continue to tackle the twin climate and nature crises. Prior to her current role at ClientEarth, Elspeth worked as the Executive Director of the climate change and tropical forests charity Size of Wales, and also spent four years as a trustee and then Vice-Chair of the Sumatran Orangutan Society. Her experience of helping to run non-profits and her unwavering commitment to promoting environmentalism using legal expertise is why she is a global leader in her field. Elspeth is excited about the future for ClientEarth, specifically at the potential for the organisation to bring together unique combinations of law to find powerful new ways to tackle climate change. ClientEarth do not just use traditional environmental laws – they have lawyers who are creative experts in many different fields of law – including corporate law and public finance rules, who work on environmental cases all over the world. Her vision as Interim Deputy Chief Executive is for these supersharp minds to come together to focus on high leverage issues that will help to trigger transformative impact for our planet. In her own words: “I am passionate about using the law to tackle global environmental challenges. I love working at ClientEarth – my job gives me the opportunity to work with an incredible team to help bring about positive systemic change for a healthy planet and thriving, inclusive society.” From starting her legal career straight after university to now helping run a global legal environmental charity, Elspeth is keen to inspire the next generation of environmental lawyers who will continue the work and legacy of ClientEarth. Elspeth’s advice to young lawyers is to find your passion and follow it: “Shifting the focus of my legal career to be purpose driven – bringing everything I knew to try to make a change in the world that I’m really passionate about – was undoubtedly the best decision I ever made. I took a leap into the unknown when I left my more traditional role at the bar, but I have never looked back.” ■ Thanks to ClientEarth for permission to use these photos. LegalWomen | 23
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April Williamson Lawyer at ClientEarth
pril Williamson is a lawyer working at ClientEarth in the Climate Accountability team.
April’s work focuses on corporate and government accountability in respect of climate issues. She has been developing legal intervention strategies that incorporate company & financial law, regulatory complaints, shareholder interventions, human rights interventions and government engagement to ensure that appropriate regulations are in place to protect the planet. Most recently, April has been working extensively on a project concerning shareholder rights in Europe in relation to climate issues, and has been supporting human rights interventions for climate-impacted and vulnerable communities. The 2015 Paris Agreement was a landmark global response to combat climate change that commits countries to pursue efforts to keep global heating to “well below” 2oC. Six years on, as the climate emergency has intensified, the need for governments to not only uphold these commitments, but to strengthen their ambition, has never been more urgent. April and her team ensure climate action is not just said, but done. The most effective way of doing this is to hold governments and companies to account. April has been a part of putting this into practice and so far has helped engage 100 councils in England regarding the need for their new planning policies to support delivery of the UK’s net zero target. She also worked to launch a campaign against BP for greenwashing consumers with green ad campaigns. She has recently been supporting a human rights complaint brought by landslide victims in Uganda against their government for its failure to act on known landslide risks and implement effective disaster risk management mechanisms. In her own words: “State and corporate behaviour must change in order to create a safe low carbon future and it is a privilege to work for ClientEarth, where the protection of the environment using the power of law is the driving force behind the organisation.” Prior to working at ClientEarth, April trained at DLA Piper LLP and went on to work as an environmental associate at White & Case LLP. April also spent time in the chemicals division of the United Nations Environment Programme, with work focused on the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. April’s advice to young aspiring lawyers who want to get into environmental practice is: “Young lawyers interested in the environmental law field should focus on getting as much experience as they can early in their career. Pro bono and volunteering opportunities are a fantastic way to build your skill set and explore how law is used to protect people and the planet. While it takes time to specialise, the journey is incredibly rewarding, as it provides opportunities to have a real-world positive impact for the environment and local communities.” ■
Jamie Sawyer Lawyer at ClientEarth
amie Sawyer is a lawyer working at ClientEarth in the Climate Finance team.
Jamie’s work focuses on developing and implementing legal strategies to reduce the climate impact of and improving climate risk management in the banking sector. Climate change is not just an environmental issue. The huge impact of climate change on the foundations of our economies makes it a financial risk too, and so to help combat climate change, the flow of money must stop going into the industries that exacerbate it. Jamie’s work helps compel banks to use their power as a force for good in the fight against climate change, and she uses corporate and financial laws to drive the sector’s transition to net zero. Jamie also works on ClientEarth’s landmark legal action against the Belgian National Bank. The first piece of climate litigation against a central bank, it challenges on environmental and human rights grounds the implicit subsidy that European central banks provide to the most polluting companies by purchasing their bonds. In her own words: “We urgently need to decarbonise our economies if we are to save the world from climate breakdown, and the financial sector has a huge part to play in making that happen. It is an honour to work at ClientEarth, using the law to help accelerate the transition to a net zero future.” Prior to joining ClientEarth, Jamie worked in the financial litigation practice of Simmons & Simmons in London, with a focus on banking disputes and regulatory investigations. She has also previously volunteered with environmental law and advocacy groups in the UK and North America. Jamie’s advice to young female lawyers who want to get into environmental practice is that all lawyers need to be climate lawyers and this is because climate change will affect everyone, including clients. In her own words: “You will need to help your clients transition to net zero and help them navigate climate change-related risks will they face along the way. Take opportunities to learn how climate change intersects with the laws you work with and broaden your experience by using your valuable skills pro bono to make a difference.” ■
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Need Flexible Ways to Issue Legal Indemnity Insurance? Problem Solved. W
ithout stating the obvious, the last 18 months has been a challenging period for all of us. We’ve all had to adapt to the concept of lockdowns and those fortunate not to have been furloughed, have had to get used to different ways of working. As pioneers of the instant issue legal indemnity insurance ‘Pack’, we quickly realised that not only did GCS need to operate ‘business as usual’, we also had to be as flexible as possible to assist all conveyancing professionals who rely upon us, so that they could provide a ‘business as usual’ service to their property clients. Thankfully, GCS has always offered conveyancers the ability to issue legal indemnity insurance whenever and wherever they please. The decision on which issuing method(s) they use has and always will be theirs to make. GCS ‘Online’ users continued to have 24/7 access to their account no matter where they were, so they could obtain quotes in seconds, issue them instantly or save them to their account, even outside of the usual work hours. Policy documentation was sent immediately via email.
We found that solicitors who prefer hard copy policies took our insurance ‘Pack’ home with them, so they could continue as though they were in the office. Our ‘Pack’ offers the same instant cover and is just as easy to use as GCS Online. For more complex risks, our ‘Bespoke’ service never stopped. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable underwriters were able to provide the same prompt, friendly and helpful service. Lastly, we enhanced our ‘Direct’ service. This allowed conveyancers to contact us and have us issue policies for them, directly from our office. Although life now seems to be going back to some sort of normality, GCS remains committed and prepared to meet the everchanging needs of our conveyancers. To register for GCS ‘Online’, to request a GCS insurance ‘Pack’ or to view an example list of our policies, please visit http://www.gcs-title.co.uk/. To obtain a ‘Bespoke’ or ‘Direct’ quote, or for any further enquiries, please contact us using the details below. ■
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Lawyer and Clean Air Lead for UK and Western Europe at ClientEarth
atie Nield is an environmental lawyer who has worked in the UK Clean Air team at ClientEarth since 2018 and now leads ClientEarth’s clean air work in the UK and Western Europe.
Katie’s work currently focuses on promoting compliance with legal air quality and emission standards in those regions. Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution across Europe are damaging people’s health, reducing their quality of life and cutting lives short. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of people around the world breathe polluted air. Katie is among those pushing for more ambitious polices and laws that better protect people’s health, make air pollution a priority for decision-makers, and support people and businesses to shift to cleaner alternatives. Katie’s team leads the Healthy Air Campaign, which is a growing coalition of leading health, transport and environmental experts advocating for cleaner air so that generations to come do not suffer. Prior to joining ClientEarth Katie practiced as a planning and environmental lawyer at the international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner). She came over into the charity sector as she believed it was the most rewarding way to drive positive and long-term change. In her own words: “ClientEarth is unique in its commitment to instigating change in this way in order to protect the health of people and the environment. I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of that, and to work alongside a team of such talented and diverse individuals.” Katie’s advice to aspiring young lawyers wanting to enter the environmental field is: “Being an environmental lawyer is difficult to define. There are so many different areas of legal practice that have a role to play in tackling the urgent environmental problems that face us today – development control, finance, pensions, human rights. The environment should factor into all legal practice, in some way or another. If you are really interested in using the law to benefit the environment, then to go in to your career with an open mind and a willingness to be creative. Areas of practice that might not seem very “environmental” at all, are in fact critical to providing the solutions that are necessary to turn things around.” ■
Lawyer – Plastics Lead at ClientEarth
atiana Luján is a Colombian qualified environmental lawyer who oversees ClientEarth’s Plastics work.
Joining ClientEarth in 2018, Tatiana started out in the Wildlife Conservation team, working on protecting species that are integral to the functioning of our planet. Tatiana now leads the Plastics team, using the power of the law to push for an end to plastic pollution. Known as one of most highly carbon-intensive industries, the production of plastics releases climate-harming greenhouse gases. Plastics, especially single-use, create huge amounts of waste. They are also made of chemical substances that are potentially dangerous to health for people and wildlife. Tatiana leads a team of lawyers who consistently push for new laws that limit the unnecessary use of single-use plastics, advocate for the increase of transparency in plastic supply chains and urge to make plastic producers responsible for the environmental costs of dealing with plastic waste. So far, Tatiana has helped achieve six new EU laws that have been brought into force to make it harder for companies to produce plastic. Tatiana has also worked with 13 other organisations to block the permit for the first stage of the expansion of petrochemical giant Ineos’s plastics plant in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. Tatiana and ClientEarth’s partners will continue to challenge the project if and when a new permit is approved to stop unnecessary plastic from flooding the market. In her own words: “Plastic has polluted every corner of our planet, from the deepest ocean to the Arctic tundra. This pollution worsens climate change and harms wildlife, human health and local economies. That’s why we are using the power of the law to close the tap of needless plastics.” Before moving to London, Tatiana worked for the chambers of Julio Enrique González Villa, one of Colombia’s most renowned environmental lawyers, on several ground-breaking cases concerning environmental issues. She added: “Being part of ClientEarth is a great opportunity to use my legal training towards making the world a better place for this generation and many to come.” Tatiana’s advice to aspiring young lawyers wanting to enter the environmental field is: “Be a voracious consumer of non-legal information. The more you know about the world, the better you will be able to identify the levers that need to be pushed to achieve the system change required to protect the planet.” For Tatiana, all law is environmental law because the activities that cause the most pollution are regulated by laws, contracts and policies that were decided without thinking of the environment. ■
LegalWomen | 27
Making Surgery their Legacy S
urgery is special, and there are few people whose lives have not been touched by it. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease but supports better care for all ages, from minor day surgery, to life-saving procedures and emergency trauma care. Surgeons, save, extend and improve tens of thousands of lives throughout the UK every day. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a charity independent of the NHS safeguarding the experience, treatment and outcomes of every one of those surgical patients. A legacy in your will can have a direct impact on the future of surgery and the patients it saves. A recent bequest for the educational training of surgeons echoed the Legator’s commitment to the importance of teaching and their skill for it during their career. The gift is supporting an e-learning product that takes the Future of Surgery team on a journey to explore the impact of technology on roles, the surgical team and the surgical environment. Another legacy gift supported a one-year research fellowship of a neurosurgeon whose project is looking at measuring walking to improve care in myelopathy.
Registered charity no 212808
urgeons save, extend and improve tens of thousands of lives throughout the UK every day. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a charity independent of the NHS, safeguarding the experience, treatment and outcomes of each and every one of those surgical patients. Surgery is special, and there are few people whose lives have not been touched by it. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease, but supports better care for all ages, from minor day surgery, to life-saving procedures and emergency trauma care. Legacies are vital for us to continue to shape the future, making a real difference to the lives of new generations of surgeons and patients so that they receive the very best care when they need it the most. To find out how a gift in your will can play a crucial role in our work please contact the fundraising team. t 020 7869 6086 e firstname.lastname@example.org w www.rcseng.ac.uk/fundraising #surgerysaveslives 28 | LegalWomen
Cervical myelopathy is a wasting disease of the neck that affects up to 5% of over 40-year olds and causes progressive disability. Currently, patient care requires improvement because the assessments are not accurate enough to detect small changes and time treatment perfectly: treatment too early carries risks, but too late can leave people permanently disabled. The research fellow and his team believe that detailed 3D analysis of walking will overcome this, and this project will test their theory. Longer-term, if proven correct, this analysis could be transferred to a patient's pocket using their mobile. The outstanding fellowship applications we receive has doubled since the scheme was founded in 1993 and we are unable to support 80% of applicants. We are always in need of more funding to enable projects that address the health challenges of modern society, supporting the development of pioneering ideas across the NHS. With each small success we take another step towards the next big breakthrough. ■
MAKE SURGERY YOUR LEGACY
Sustainability in law firms C
harlotte Williams from the Legal Sustainability Alliance talks to Suzanne Padmore, a disputes partner and the Chair of the Environment Committee at Burges Salmon. Suzanne Padmore reflects on the development of her roles: ‘When I started in my environment committee role it was very separate from my day job as a pensions disputes lawyer, but now there is increasingly convergence with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors around investing getting closer to the top of pensions trustees’ agendas, and how much influence they could have.’ More and more lawyers are finding that ESG or climate change issues are raised by clients as well as for the firm’s own internal processes. Suzanne Padmore joined Burges Salmon in 2007 as a junior lawyer, and immediately became part of the ‘BSustainable’ committee, conscious of the role large law firms play in managing and reducing their environmental impact. Her introduction to the firm and committee coincided with the founding and membership of the Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA) which was formed following Prince Charles’s 2007 ‘mayday’ call at the St James’s Palace conference and brought together more than 1,200 business leaders. The audience of business leaders at the mayday conference did not necessarily correspond to the individuals who pushed climate change and decarbonisation up the agenda within law firms; Suzanne explained how even as a junior, there were opportunities for her to make her voice heard. In 2010, Burges Salmon set up an Environmental Committee with a key focus on managing environmental performance in coordination with the firm’s policy goals. Serving as deputy Chair – well before Suzanne herself became a partner and an externally recognised leader in the firm – she explained that this experience was an important opportunity to engage with senior management within the firm and to develop new skills which have supported her as a lawyer too. No doubt, having the chance to engage with a matter that is important to her personally has made her commitment to the firm more interesting and satisfying. When Burges Salmon announced its Net Zero ambitions in 2020, discussions were simultaneously being held across different cohorts of Burges Salmon’s people about the firm’s policies and long-term vision; it is becoming increasingly evident that setting ambitious targets and commitments are essential for both recruiting and retaining staff, where the goals of profit targets and having a sustainable purpose become increasingly aligned – an ethos which strongly resonates with new recruits and existing employees in ways it simply hasn’t before.
collaboration and teamwork. The roles of TCLP and the LSA are key in highlighting that the economy is undoubtedly going to shift to Net Zero, and we are here to provide support and take you on that journey. With COP 26 fast approaching, the climate crisis has never been higher on the agenda and represents a potential watershed moment for real action, transforming business operations as we know them. However, my view might be slightly too optimistic. Suzanne’s prediction? That COP 26 will raise expectations and opportunities. She hopes that the profile of COP 26 will bring conversations around Net Zero and decarbonisation even more to the fore, perhaps with clients who have not engaged before, pushing it up the agenda and making it easier than before to make important changes. The LSA supports member firms, regardless of where they stand in their sustainability journeys. Since the restructuring of membership in January, we have nearly 100 member firms making use of our resources, such as, a carbon calculator. With a network ranging from a one-man practitioner to some of the world’s largest firms, the opportunity to learn from best practice is central to the LSA and enables collaboration with firms that might have traditionally been viewed as competitors. Furthermore, membership of the LSA gives your firm access to partnerships with Good Energy and Carbon Intelligence who can provide support in reaching Net Zero targets. Finally, access to exclusive member-only events provides an important to forum to widen networks and further benefit from the sharing of best-practice. With role-models such as Suzanne, who highlight the important differences we can make at any stage in our career, along with the operational support provided by the Legal Sustainability Alliance and other similar networks, I am optimistic that COP 26 will push decarbonisation further up the agenda and ensure that meaningful targets can be set before it is too late. If you would like to know more, about how the LSA can support your and your firm, please contact charlotte@ legalsustainabilityalliance.com. ■ https://www.goodenergy.co.uk https://carbon.ci
Setting ambitious targets is not solely an internal process either and Suzanne reflects on the significance of the opportunity to participate in The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP) as one of the most significant and well-timed developments for lawyers who are both interested in the practice of law and conscious of the climate emergency. TCLP is a collaborative project which creates ‘new, practical contractual clauses ready to incorporate into law firm precedents and commercial agreements to deliver climate solutions.’ With over 1,300 legal professionals collaborating, it is clear that such initiatives will be pivotal in helping the legal industry as a whole, come closer to reaching Net Zero alongside adjusting to new and different ways of working which facilitate LegalWomen | 29
3 Key Law Firm Trends for 2022 and 3 Key Legal Client Trends
here’s one thing that legal firms who are growing their revenues do more of than other firms: embrace cloudbased and client-centred technology. That’s according to research from practice management software provider Clio’s brand-new Legal Trends Report, which looked at technology adoption among firms.
In 2018, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Now, as shown in the 2021 Legal Trends Report, much of this change is client-led:
Following on insights from last year’s report, which showed significant levels of technology adoption among law firms, this year’s research indicates that new technology-enabled capabilities are part of a longer-term shift that will be further driven by consumer demand for more remote-enabled legal services.
■ 79% of consumers see the ability to work remotely with a lawyer as a key factor in choosing who to work with. ■ 67% said they would look for a lawyer offering both remote and in-person options when searching for a lawyer. ■ 58% want the option to have a consultation through video.
The Key Actions of Growing Firms The 2021 Legal Trends Reports observed that growing firms (that is, firms who had on average increased their revenues by 135% since 2013), had adopted cloud-based client-centred solutions at much greater rates than other firms. Overall, those firms who were growing were:
These are just some of the findings from Clio’s recent Legal Trends Report, which has been published annually for six years. Now widely considered the trusted resource for insights into the current and future state of legal, it comprises the aggregated and anonymised data from tens of thousands of legal professionals and surveys from both lawyers and consumers, Clio constructs a holistic picture of the legal industry today, and what the future trends are likely to be.
■ 41% more likely to use online client portals ■ 46% more likely to use online client intake and relationship management solutions ■ 37% more likely to be using online payment solutions Client-Led Change The increased adoption of technology also reflects a massive change in legal client attitudes and expectations.
LW | Blogs We are pleased to correct the short bio In the September Edition about contributor Orla O’Hagan. The correct wording is below. Orla O’Hagan describes her legal career encompassing working as a solicitor, Deputy District Judge, District Judge and now a private FDR Judge. Orla O’Hagan (legalwomen.org.uk) We are continuing to publish blogs online which you can find here: Blogs (legalwomen.org.uk). Please feel free to contact info@LegalWomen.org.uk if you have any suggestions for blogs.
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The 2021 Legal Trends Report is available to download for free at clio.com/ltr-legal-women. To learn more about how Clio supports growing law firms and how it can support innovation at your law firm, visit www.clio.com/uk. ■
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 Alice Hughes, 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. ■
Why it’s time to stop talking about ‘race’ Nadine Simpson-Ataha
Nadine Simpson-Ataha, an employment lawyer at Taylor Wessing challenges the concept and language of ‘race’.
he past 18 months have impacted us all. The reason, or reasons, for that may be different for each of us but the level of intensity has almost certainly been the same. I’m fortunate enough that at least one of the pandemic events that I’ve experienced has been positive; I now have a daughter, and with her has come a level of contemplation even greater than that forced upon us by lockdown. Top of the list of subjects of reflection: ‘race’. My conclusion: ‘race’ is a dated social construct that has no place in public discourse in 2021. Continuing to use it is akin to continuing to refer to women as “the fairer sex”. Both terms can stay in the archaic version of the world that they come from. The concept of ‘race’ has been part of day-to-day life for many decades. It stems from a body of theories known as ‘race science’, which was perpetuated in the early 1900s as a tool to secure economic and social power for a few. The theories were used to marginalise people and led to some of the most deplorable behaviour against human beings that the world has ever seen; behaviour that was justified by the idea that nonwhite people were inferior sub-species, i.e. different ‘races’, undeserving of the standard of treatment afforded to the majority of white people. Racism is choosing to ignore the biological fact that we are all one species – Homo sapiens –, and instead believing that a person who happens to have a skin colour that is different to the one that you have is inferior to you and should be treated as such. It can be exhibited to different degrees and in a countless number of ways (a separate topic for another time). ‘Race science’ has never been shown to have any grounding in biology yet the myth that people of different colours are different ‘races’, i.e., different sub-species, continues to be spread throughout society. This happens within schools, businesses, via the media and law. It’s been happening for so long it’s not questioned and is accepted as a norm. This has to change because the myth, and the associated concept of inferiority, has caused, and is continuing to cause, untold damage. I’m by no means the first person to recognise this. BritishAmerican anthropologist Ashley Montagu did so in 1942 in “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race”1. Under his leadership the United Nations publicly declared the following in 1950,: “The myth “race” has created an enormous amount of human and social damage. In recent years it has taken a heavy toll in human lives and caused untold suffering … The unity of mankind from both the biological and social viewpoints is the main thing. To recognise this and to act accordingly is the first requirement of modern man”2, yet here we are. Reform in our use of language is needed across all spheres of public life, none more so than in law which creates the framework of acceptable and accepted behaviour. Taking my area of speciality as an example, there is a very obvious starting point: the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 The Equality Act sets out, amongst other things, the bases
on which it is unlawful to discriminate against someone. Discriminating against someone on the grounds of ‘race’, defined as including “colour; nationality; ethnic or national origins”, is one such type of unlawful discrimination. I find it laughable that the very law that is supposed to be a beacon of inclusivity and fairness implies that because my skin colour is brown; I have dual nationalities (British and Jamaican); and / or I am of English and Jamaican origin, I am of a specific ‘race’ (the connotation being that I am of a specific or other species). My colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin have absolutely no impact on the fact that I, like you, am a Homo sapien; however, my colour, nationality or origin may impact how you treat me. That’s why each characteristic should remain protected as a standalone trait. Lumping them together under a redundant and inaccurate umbrella term gives undue merit to “man’s most dangerous myth” and clouds a fundamental nuance that should be recognised by such an important piece of legislation. The nuance is this. Unlike nationality or origin, colour is constantly visible. I cannot remove, disguise or choose to withhold the fact that I am brown. By comparison, the only way another person can know my nationality or origin is if I share that information with them. This means that the potential for another person’s preconceptions to negatively impact my life is much greater, and more likely to happen, because of my colour. It follows that colour requires broader protection. A similar situation exists in relation to sex; however, the Equality Act already affords broader protection in this respect. For example, women can rely on the sex equality clause to automatically “read in” a contractual term that is absent from their terms and conditions of employment (but that exists in a male comparator’s terms) to receive and recover equal pay for equal work. This protection exists on the basis that it’s agreed that it’s not ‘ok’ to pay people different amounts for equal work because of their sex. It’s also not ‘ok’ to pay people different amounts for equal work because of their colour, yet a black or brown woman can’t rely on a colour equality clause to the same effect. This inequity needn’t and shouldn’t exist. The fact that it does presents a very clear case in support of the need for cognitive diversity when it comes to the creation and reform of law. Will implementing these ideas eradicate racism? Of course not. But it will fundamentally change the narrative away from language that normalises, and excuses, the belief and behaviour of racists whilst positively changing the psyche of future generations. It might also make our anti-discrimination laws more effective. All of which are only good things. Racists will always exist, just like rapists and fly-tippers, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn't do all that we can to let them know that what they do is not ok. Actions that have been taken so far clearly haven’t worked so let's wind right back to the basics and start again. ■ 1. Montagu, A. (1997) Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. 6th ed. California: Altamira Press. 2. The Race question – UNESCO Digital Library – Last accessed 20 October 2021. LegalWomen | 31
Women in Prison
Parental prison sentences: The invisible children T
here is no statutory mechanism for identifying the children impacted by parental prison sentences. A 2019 estimate for England and Wales is 312,000 (Crest Advisory, 2019) but there is no government department taking responsibility for these children. When a mother who is the sole carer is sentenced to prison the overwhelming majority of children do not remain in the family home, an experience shared by approximately 17,700 children each year. Frequently, it is grandparents taking on the care and may mean a change of area, school and leaving all that is familiar behind. As a new school place is not automatically allocated, the children may also miss out on education. They are vulnerable to emotional problems arising from shame, stigma and social isolation including bed wetting, eating disorders, displaying angry or hostile behaviours in response to complicated feelings about their experience. Prison sentences Many of us think parental imprisonment, happens to ‘other’ people or to families within one socio-economic group, yet families of prisoners are from a wide range of economic classes and ethnicities. For example, families who have a nanny and children attending private schools alongside those who are currently dependent on benefits. Whoever they are, the parent’s name and address will be in the press and the family may face a community backlash: faeces through the letterbox, homes being daubed with paint or bricks through the windows. Families relocate hundreds of miles away to escape the harassment, sometimes having to change their names. Arrests Children may experience the trauma of a dawn arrest, the police arriving at the family home, forcing entry and taking a parent away; the child will go to school that day with nobody aware of their experience. Frequently, they will not have the opportunity to say goodbye to the parent. Role of Children Heard and Seen Society needs to move on from an approach concentrating solely on the criminal defendant in the criminal justice system to a wider approach. Failure to do so compounds the problems for society. Children Heard and Seen is the only charity in the country with a specific focus on supporting children impacted by parental imprisonment and the people who care for them and reducing intergenerational crime. The mission of the charity is to ensure children, young people and their families, affected by parental imprisonment can access appropriate and timely support in their community to mitigate the harms of parental imprisonment and to create lasting change in the lives of children and young people. To influence policy and create systemic change, to have statutory identification and support for children of prisoners. We will continue to develop resources and training packages to share with other professionals across England and Wales to ensure whichever service children and families come into contact with they will
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Women in Prison
receive sensitive and timely support via services that are parental imprisonment curious as a minimum. Whole family approach Children Heard and Seen adopts a whole family approach with the child(ren) at the centre. Working from an understanding that each child is unique and requires individualised, tailored support that meets their specific needs. There are three core indicators. 1. Children with a parent in prison are supported during an incredibly difficult period in their life 2. Learning is formalised surrounding the experience of the children to build a solid evidence base for research led policy that results in the implementation of a national framework of good practice around identification and support 3. Awareness is raised regarding the experiences of children with a parent in prison to influence social attitudes and reduce feelings of stigma, shame and social isolation Future sustainability The charity has been well-recognised for its invaluable work, having won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2019 and the Criminal Justice Alliance Award in 2020. However, Children Heard and Seen receives no government funding. If we fail to meet the needs of children with a parent in prison, we are at risk of creating a pathway that results in academic underachievement, contact with mental health services and ultimately the criminal justice system. We can prevent this and ensure children take a positive path that leads them to achieve their full potential. ■
Policy and Campaigns Co-ordinator Children Heard and Seen Website: www.childrenheardandseen.co.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/childrenheardandseen Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChildrenHandS Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/childrenhands LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/11025347/
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Women in Prison
Women in Prison T
here have been repeated investigations on the negative impact of the current system of penalties for non-violent crimes for women. Baroness Corston led one of the comprehensive reports in 2006. There were 43 recommendations about the treatment of women in the criminal justice system, and it argued “the need for a distinct radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach”. In 2011, Dame Elish Angiolini chaired a Commission on Women Offenders in response to concerns about women’s justice in Scotland to look at ways of improving outcomes for women in the criminal justice system and made wide-ranging recommendations. These reports deal with the impact on women but also their families, particularly if they have young children, and society. As can be seen from the evidence of the Seen and Heard charity, the cost to society and the surrounding support services is vast. The most recent report is from the UK crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory, Counting the Cost of Maternal Imprisonment. The report states: ‘The Government’s Female Offender Strategy contains the core strategic objective of having ‘fewer women in custody (especially on short-term sentences) and a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully’. This report focuses on the cost of female imprisonment for two particularly vulnerable groups; mothers who are imprisoned and their children. However, maternal imprisonment also has a high cost for the taxpayers who fund the agencies charged with picking up the pieces in the longer term. To explain the wider impact of maternal imprisonment, it is necessary to take a ‘whole systems approach’, analysing how the criminal justice system responds to maternal imprisonment, identifying the impacts of existing responses not only on the life chances of imprisoned mothers and their children, but also the economic impact through potentially avoidable costs which accrue.’ According to the Prison Reform Trust, the women in prison represent a small percentage of the overall prison population, about 4% and most sentences are for non-violent offences. In 2020 72% of women were imprisoned for non-violent offences and 70% sentenced to less than 12 months in prison. Mothers who are sentenced sometimes hide the fact that they have children. Their concern is that if even there are relatives who can care for them, typically grandparents, officials might put their children into care. Scotland
House of Commons (2018) UK Prison Population Statistics Briefing Paper England
Julia Pitman of Crest Advisory, co-author of the report with Jessica Hull, said of imprisoning mothers. “Ultimately it is children who pay the highest price, left with the trauma of separation, which can have devastating consequences. Rather than building more prison places for women, the government must implement its own female offender strategy and invest in community alternatives that will keep families together.” The Howard League for Penal Reform is another group which maintains pressure on the relevant government authorities to take action. One of its demands is to ‘Close women’s prisons and introduce small local residential units for the tiny number of women who commit crimes serious enough to merit a custodial sentence’. Although evidence of the immense cost to society is available, many of the charities acting in this area report that there is simply not the political will to take action, as no party wants to look ‘soft on crime’. ■
Scottish Prison Service (2018) Women in custody 2017, Edinburgh: SPS
The Corston Report | www.basw.co.uk Counting the Cost of Maternal Imprisonment | Crest Advisory Thanks to Heather Philips CEO Beating Time.org. All the images are with permission of the Prison Reform Trust.
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LW | Recommends With the long winter nights in view, we’ve selected our top picks of legal movies. There are so many to choose from.
response to cases of spousal homicide where men killed their female partners, in contrast to women who killed their male partners.
LEGAL MOVIES – OUR TOP PICKS
Spider Woman by Lady Hale (penguin.co.uk) This recounts the life story of Lady Hale and covers insights into her working life, including her moments of imposter syndrome.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird 3. The Lincoln Lawyer 4. Erin Brockovich 5. The Rainmaker 6. A Few Good Men 7. The Children Act 8. The Judge 9. Witness for the Prosecution 10. Philadelphia BOOKS Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation eBook: Bindel, Julie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store This book revisits some of the fundamental questions and uses countless interviews including contributions from commentators such as Gloria Steinem and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. What has been achieved and what next is considered. Julie Bindel is an author and broadcaster for over 40 years on feminism. She is a co-founder of Justice for Women, set up in 1990 concerning the differences in
© Glenn Francis. CC–SA–4.0.
1. The Devils Advocate
Pieces of Britney BBC Sounds – Pieces of Britney – Available Episodes If you are interested in the legal conservatorship imposed on pop icon, Britney Spears, this podcast investigates. Pandora Sykes pieces together what is known about her story, and what it tells us about sex, entertainment, and how we treat women in the public eye. Speak Up (Radio 4) Women talk more than men, right? No. In public, women speak far less. Mary Ann Sieghart finds out why women are neither speaking up nor being heard and what impact this is having. This podcast covers some of the issues raised in Mary Ann Seighart’s recent book: The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About It.
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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
The Leeds Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Conference – Gender T
he Leeds Law Society is one of the oldest and largest law societies in the UK and I am proud to be a Director who sits on the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee leading on gender. The LLS has made significant progress towards diversity and inclusion in recent years and last year for the first time hosted a virtual conference focussing on exactly that, in conjunction with the Law Society of England and Wales. The conference was a great success and our law society decided to maintain focus on these important issues and to continue to raise awareness by organising an even bigger conference this year. This event took place virtually from 14 to 30 September 2021 with the theme of “promoting a modern, diverse and inclusive profession”. As before, each event focussed on a particular area with the gender event taking place on 21 September 2021. I was delighted to chair this conference where we had talks from Lady Hale and Coral Hill followed by a panel discussion with Catherine Woodward, the Leeds Law Society President, Richard Blann, Head of Group Litigation & Conduct Investigations Legal from Lloyds Banking Group and Amandeep Khasriya, Senior Associate from Moore Barlow. The aim was clear – we wanted to continue to raise awareness of the issues we face and to hear how collectively we could overcome them.
Lady Hale Lady Hale’s talk was fascinating. I think we all recall what seemed to be the judiciary’s approach to gender equality in the 1990’s, often referred to as the “trickle up theory” i.e. if the number of females joining the profession at the bottom increases, this will trickle up to the top without having to do anything more about it. The Lord Chief Justice in 1992 believed this theory would ensure the natural progression of gender equality in the following years. Of course, this didn’t happen. Senior women seeking appointments to the judiciary faced many challenges. In Lady Hale’s view, these were largely due to traditional assumptions, methods of recruitment (previously a tap on the shoulder) and attrition. Lady Hale has been keen to address these issues with colleagues who, at times, have been somewhat dismissive, particularly those who referred to these efforts as “Brenda’s agenda”. Lady Hale believes that there is still much to do. First and foremost, we need to think inclusively. For example, how many male institutions expect women to adapt to their ways rather than the other way round? We need work environments where women can speak up and be listened to. And we need more female role models, mentors and sponsors so that women feel comfortable in the upper echelons. In Lady Hale’s view, the judiciary needs to seek candidates in 36 | LegalWomen
different talent pools such as central and local government, finance and industry. We need to look at how we define and assess merit to embrace our differences. There also needs to be a cultural change in judicial leadership where diversity is seen as fundamental to qualify for the judiciary rather than being tangential to it. Coral Hill Our next speaker was Coral Hill, who shared her reflections on her legal career as well as her involvement in the 2019 roundtables undertaken by Christina Blacklaws, past President of the Law Society of England and Wales. The results of the roundtable discussions, we were told, were startling and uncovered unbelievable prejudice. Whilst views were aired privately there was a clear desire to do something publicly – to “move the dial” and to commit to action plans. Unsurprisingly, the challenges that women still face today are cultural norms, essentially unconscious bias. These norms were described as “powerful”. Coral invited us to try the Harvard University unconscious bias test and promised we would all be surprised by the results. Seeing where we are now is clearly very important before we can identify the changes needed. One area of real challenge remains the apparent dislike of women regarded as being “overconfident” or “pushy”, which is not considered to be a desirable trait. Women are also perceived as having less authority than men but are belittled when they use their authority. We see this in all walks of life. Cultural norms need to be examined and challenged as they have a real effect on women’s advancement. Addressing inequality is “mission critical” for successful businesses as equality makes strong and resilient teams and opens businesses up to the outside world. The wider the base and the more diverse the staff, the greater the appeal of the business to a larger group of clients and contacts which directly impacts the bottom line. In the panel session reference was made to collecting data both in the bar and within the solicitors’ professions. The results need to be analysed and discussed with all staff. What is not working and why? What can be done differently? There is a clear need for more role models and for them to be more visible; and for increased awareness of the challenges women face. We need to think about intersectionality and how to address the different barriers. There is clearly still much to do to achieve parity from a gender perspective. The latest data shows that only 33% of women in the profession are in leadership roles. The structural workplace barriers and societal norms in firms need to be tackled. A good
starting point is the Law Society Women in Law Pledge, which was created to promote gender equality in the legal profession. But many firms have still not signed up to this pledge. As a group we also need to challenge inappropriate comments or jokes. Lady Hale shared with us how a young law student would challenge such remarks with a simple request – “Would you mind saying that again?” It worked a treat! Top Tips We finished the session with the panel’s top tips: ■ Speak up ■ Take time to explain issues to men as early as possible in your careers ■ Empower people and create a safe space for conversations ■ Cultural change is important to the bottom line and there is a business reason to buy into the D and I agenda ■ Consider the décor of your building and make it modern and relatable. I conclude with the apt words of our gender lead and partner at Weightmans, Bavita Rai, whose mantra is “what gets measured gets done!”. ■
Partner and National Head of Local Government at Weightmans
Spider Woman: A Life by Lady Hale Bodley Head, London 2021
e all admire Brenda Hale, the Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond, for her contribution to groundbreaking legislation such as the Family Law Act 1996 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She has star quality as the “Beyoncé of the legal world”, a “frank and fearless feminist”, outspoken on matters of equality, diversity and inclusion and of course she is known for her dry wit and good humour. Lady Hale is an “antidote to the ubiquitous male lens through which the law has traditionally been viewed” and a role model for many, at all stages of their legal careers. I picked this volume up as soon as it was published, knowing that I would be in for a very compelling read. I was not disappointed. The reader silently cheers for young Brenda, an outsider in the Yorkshire village where she grew up, as she learns resilience from her mother and applies herself to study, taking pride in being a “swot”. She later describes the “sense of entitlement” of male colleagues when she studied law at Cambridge but remained undaunted as she realised she was “at least as good at law as they were.” Bouts of imposter syndrome are bravely brushed aside as Brenda finds her feet in her career, beginning as a law lecturer at the University of Manchester. At the Law Commission, she had to endure male colleagues referring to “Brenda’s weird child law”, later to become the pioneering Children Act 1989. We share her immense satisfaction when she describes sitting with two other female Appeal Court justices in 2001 and referring to them as “my Ladies”. Commenting on her appointment to the judiciary, Lady Hale observes that the experience of leading a woman’s life should be just as important in shaping the law as the experience of leading men’s lives. Yet, tantalisingly, she provides very little detail on her personal life as an adult. It would be fascinating to know more about how her own experiences of work-life balance, marriage, motherhood, divorce and grandchildren were shaped by her pioneering work in family law. Her daughter Julia is mentioned only fleetingly in relation to debate over parental rights to IVF babies. Despite being so reserved about her private life, the author does not hesitate to encourage and celebrate other women professionally. The photographs in the book include Lady Hale with Ayo Onatade, her clerk at the Supreme Court, and Penelope Gorman, her judicial assistant.
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In the final pages of the book, Lady Hale describes attending her last public event in London before the pandemic, when she attended the launch of the Women in Family Law initiative at Gray’s Inn and expresses the hope that she has encouraged many young people to believe they too can make it in the law. I am one of those women and was fortunate to be able to meet Lady Hale and express to her just how important she had been in encouraging me to believe in myself and my law studies on that evening at Gray’s Inn before so much changed in all our lives. ■ By Jordan Lancaster, LLM student at the University of Law.
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Poppy’s second chance at love P
oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.
Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link www.dogstrust.org.uk/ccc where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email CCC@dogstrust.org.uk or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■
Who’ll keep her happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets – and make a dog-lover happy.
E-mail email@example.com Or call 020 7837 0006
Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.
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