First 100 Years

Celebrating the past to shape the future for women in law

Managed by SPARK21 and supported by

About the First 100 Years

An ambitious video history project documenting the journey of women in the legal profession, from 1919 to present day

The First 100 Years is a ground-breaking history project, supported by the Law Society and the Bar Council, charting the journey of women in law since 1919. The project is powered by Spark21, a charity founded to celebrate, inform and inspire future generation of women in the profession. In 2019 the project will mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time. The First 100 Years project was created by Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support. Launching the project Dana said: “People don’t know their history — who the first woman solicitor was, for instance. There is no archive like the First 100 Years to help us place ourselves in history.”

Work is now under way to produce a new digital museum made up of 100 video stories that tell the story of women in law. The digital museum will be donated to the British Library in 2019. The project’s legacy will be the creation for the first time of positive role models for women in law, a deep understanding of the past combined with a celebration of today, a cross-sector platform for intelligent debate and change and a valuable archive accessible to everyone from law students to High Court Judges. Our aim is to ensure a strong and equal future for all women in the legal profession.

Follow our Timeline from 1919 to 2019

The First 100 Years project is charting the journey of women in law since 1919. You can follow our timeline to learn more about the key landmarks since Eliza Orme became the first woman in England to get a Law Degree from University College London in 1888. Over the next four years this timeline will be continuously updated and expanded, so please send us your stories, your insights and your facts and figures for us to include on this piece of history. Contact the project team: [email protected]

Explore The First 100 Years Timeline

Meet the First 100 Years Team

Angela Holdsworth
Executive Producer
Dana Denis-Smith
Henry Lockett
Web Developer
Kate Sheridan-Hayes
Events Operations
Kerry Jack
Public Relations
Laura Clenshaw
Lisa Whelan
Project Coordinator
Naomi Jones
Sarah MacRae
Scott Jones

Meet Our Project Champions

Ania Rontaler
Anne Davies
Aziza El-Shataly
Barry Matthews
Catherine Calder
Chantal-Aimée Doerries
David Standish
Diane Burleigh
Elizabeth Cruickshank
Erika Rackley
Fatema Orjela
Fiona Fleming
Funke Abimbola
Harini Iyengar
Harriet Sassoon
Helen Dodds
Henrietta Amodio
Judith Bourne
Kevin Crosby
Laura Boyle
Leonora Saunders
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
Mari Takayanagi
Mark Skinner
Monica Burch
Nancy Scott
Nicola Sawford
Nikki Elliot
Penny Miller
Peter Crisp
Rosemary Auchmuty
Sandie Okoro
Sophie Bragg
Steve Rudaini
Susan Belgrave

Latest News

8th August 2016
Written by Kerry Jack, CEO of Black Letter Communications. The First 100 Years, the ground-breaking project charting the journey of women in the legal profession, is today launching its Inspirational Women in Law Awards to identify and celebrate 10 women pioneers that will inspire the next generation of lawyers. The project is managed by Spark21...
27th July 2016
First 100 Years was featured in BCL Legal Recruitment. In the article, Dana Denis-Smith, founder of First 100 Years, spoke about the inspiration behind the project and how one can contribute to it. Click here to have a read...
15th July 2016
Legal Week wrote an article on our film of Frances Murphy, recording her stories and experiences of life as a city lawyer at Slaughter & May. Find a link to it below. Legal Week Article To see the video we filmed follow the link below: Frances Murphy...
15th July 2016
On 6th July the First 100 Years team was delighted to be able to attend the first memorial lecture of the Fawcett Society, celebrating 150 years of it’s tireless work campaigning for gender equality. A fascinating talk led by Amanda Foreman and chaired by Charlene White led to a thought-provoking discussion of the issues...
20th June 2016
On 16th June we welcomed a large cohort of guests to the Supreme Court, for a fantastic evening in a historical and beautiful setting. We were delighted to see many of our project champions there, and to have the opportunity to spread the message of what First 100 Years is doing and achieving. Several guided [&hellip...
More news

Contact Us

We want to hear from everyone, men and women, who would like to support the project or share their stories and archive material.


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