#legallyhers: The First Four Women

4th August 2017

Carrie Morrison, Mary Pickup, Mary Sykes and Maud Crofts were the first women to pass the Law Society’s examinations to qualify as solicitors in 1922.

This was only possible following the passage of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which allowed women to enter into the legal profession. The four women had been waiting for almost a decade. Their earlier attempt to take the same examinations in 1913 had been rejected.

Despite changes to the law, women continued to face an uphill struggle in qualifying as solicitors. Women who did not have fathers or husbands who were lawyers often found it financially impossible to get articles (equivalent of the modern-day training contract). Although wealthy parents may have been willing to invest an annual premium of 300-500 guineas (£15-25) in their sons, forking out this amount for daughters was rare. This is likely why in 1931, only about 100 women had qualified as solicitors.

Read the individual stories of Carrie Morrison, Mary Pickup, Mary Sykes and Maud Crofts.

Discover more about other inspiring women on the First 100 Years timeline.