Women Leaders in Law

We are looking to celebrate current women leaders in law. More women than men qualify as solicitors according to statistics published by The Law Society, and yet only a small percentage of women make it to partnership. First 100 Years is opening the important discussion of why there are so few women at the top in the legal sector. We are searching for the female leaders to hear about the legacy they want to leave behind, and how they see their role impact other women working in law. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] if you are a woman leading in the legal sector to tell us what your lasting influence will be.

The following list details the women who are currently in key leadership positions in the UK legal sector. Female senior partners, managing partners, and heads of chambers are all represented below, to showcase the women who have risen to the top roles in their profession. Please email us at [email protected] if you know a woman leader in law who is not yet in the list.


Name Description
Alison Morley Alison became the Managing Director of Capsticks in 2007.
Claire Clarke Claire became partner of Mills&Reeve in 1999 and made Managing Partner in 2015.
Claire Rowe Making partner in 1990 at Shoosmiths, Claire Rowe became CEO in 2009.
Clare Hyland Clare Hyland became partner of Cripps LLP in 1997 and made Senior Partner in 2016.
Elizabeth Francis Elizabeth has been the Managing Partner at Hanne&Co since 2011, and made partner in 1994.
Fiona Barton QC Fiona was appointed the Head of Chambers of 5 Essex Court and was called to the bar in 1986.
Janet Mitchell Janet was appointed the Head of Chambers of Four Brick Court and was called to the bar in 1979.
Jennie Gubbins Jennie made Senior Partner of Trowers and Hamlin in 2013 and was made partner in 1980.
Joanne Easterbrook Joanne is the Senior Partner of Bevan Brittain since her appointment in 2016. She made partner in 2004.
Kathryn Cronin Kathryn was appointed the Joint Head of Chambers of Garden Court Chambers and was called to the bar in 1980.
Linda Woolley Linda Woolley made Senior Partner of Kingsley Napley in 2004, having made partner in 1997.
Lisa Mayhew Lisa Mayhew works at Berwin Leighton Paisner. She made partner in 2002 and managing partner in 2015.
Margaret Robertson Withers LLP is the firm where Margaret made Managing Partner in 2007. She had made partner in 1990.
Monica Carss-Frisk QC Monica was appointed the Joint Head of Chambers of Blackstone Chambers and was called to the bar in 1985.
Penelope Warne Penelope is Senior Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.
Sara Maccallum Sara works at Boodle Hatfield as Senior Partner, appointed to the position in 2015. She made partner in 1999.
Sharon White Sharon is CEO at Stephenson Harwood LLP.
Sonya Leydecker Sonya is joint chief executive officer of Herbert Smith Freehills. She became a partner of the firm in 1991 and previously headed the firm’s global dispute resolution practice.
Susan Bright Susan Bright became the managing partner of Hogan Lovells in 2013, having made partner in 1999.
Virginia Clegg Virginia Clegg is the Senior Partner at DAC Beachcroft. She became the senior partner in 2015, having made partner in 1994.
Victoria Brackett Victoria became the Managing Partner of Thomas Eggar LLP in 2012, after making partner in 2005.
Kate Cheetham Kate Cheetham joined the Group Legal team of Lloyds TSB Group in 2005 and was appointed General Counsel, Group following the acquisition of HBOS in 2009.
Elaine Driver Solicitor and Company Secretary at Berkeley Group Holdings Plc since 2012.
Margaret Taylor Joined BHP Billiton in 2015 as Company Secretary, after her position as Group Company Secretary and Head of Group Governance at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Elaine Williams Elaine was appointed Company Secretary and General Counsel of British Land in November 2015. She was formerly Deputy Group Company Secretary at HSBC Holdings plc and, prior to that, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Siobhan Moriarty Siobhan Moriarty was appointed General Counsel of Diageo in July 2013.
Kyla Mullins Kyla is currently EasyJet’s Company Secretary & Group General Counsel and heads their Legal, Company Secretarial and Regulatory departments.
Sarah Booth Sarah joined Hammerson in March 2010. After qualifying as a Solicitor with Dickson Minto, she started her career with Christian Salvesen PLC, where she was the Legal and Corporate Development Director. More recently she was General Counsel at Sodexo until 2008, when she joined LBC Wise Counsel, a consultancy firm supporting legal teams and law firms.
Judy Matthews General Counsel & Company Secretary at Hargreaves Lansdown since 2007
Miriam Murphy Group General Counsel Head of regulatory, strategy and business development at leading mobile satellite services group Inmarsat.
Clare Wardle General Coiunsel and Company Secretary at Coca Cola European Partners plc and Kingfisher plc
Catherine Johnson Group General Counsel at London Stock Exchange Group plc. She advises the Board and senior executives on key legal matters and strategic initiatives, and previously was head of the Group’s Regulatory Strategy team. Qualified as a lawyer at Herbert Smith in 1993.
Alison Kay Alison has undertaken several roles since joining National Grid in 1996 including UK General Counsel and Company Secretary from 2000 to 2008 and Commercial Director, UK Transmission from 2008 to 2012. Before joining National Grid she was a solicitor in private practice.
Deborah Booth Deborah is a Company Solicitor at Persimmon Homes.
Alexandra Smyth General Counsel, Corporate and M&A at RELX Group. She has global legal oversight of all corporate and M&A transactions across all of the divisions of RELX. She is also co-author of the OUP publication Schemes of Arrangement: Law and Practice.
Maaike De Bie Joined Royal Mail in January 2014 and appointed Acting General Councel in September 2015. Previously General Counsel for the EMEA division of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance, a financial services unit of the General Electric Company. She has also held senior international legal roles at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ernst & Young LLP and White & Case LLP.
Charlotte Heiss Charlotte joined RSA in February 2010 as Legal Counsel becoming Head of Group Legal in October 2011. Charlotte was appointed Group Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary and joined the Group Executive in March 2016. She is responsible for the Global Legal and Company Secretarial teams.
Bronagh Kennedy Joined Severn Trent as General Counsel and Company Secretary in June 2011. Bronagh is a solicitor and was previously Group Company Secretary and General Counsel at Mitchells & Butlers, where she worked for 15 years. Prior to that, she was a Senior Associate at Allen & Overy.
Mel Rowlands Mel is the Deputy Group Counsel and Company Secretary for Smiths Group plc.
Liz Tanner Liz Tanner has worked as Director of Legal Services at SSE plc since 2013.
Deborah Grimason Deborah joined Travis Perkins plc in 2014 as Company Secretary and General Counsel. Prior to joining Travis Perkins plc Deborah worked at Lafarge Group both in the UK and France as Company Secretary and General Counsel. Deborah also held other senior secretarial positions at BOC Group, British Coal Corporation, Nokia and Royal Mail.
Hilka Schneider Hilka is a Member of the Group Executive Committee and Group Director Legal, Compliance & Board Office of TUI Group. She joined TUI AG in March 2014 as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Group Legal and Governance, Risk & Compliance. Since July 2014 she also heads the Board office of the company as Company Secretary. She started her professional career at the renowned international law firm Clifford Chance in 2000. She worked in Corporate Finance, offering consultation services to international corporations in M&A transactions.
Hilka Schneider Hilka is a Member of the Group Executive Committee and Group Director Legal, Compliance & Board Office of TUI Group. She joined TUI AG in March 2014 as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Group Legal and Governance, Risk & Compliance. Since July 2014 she also heads the Board office of the company as Company Secretary. She started her professional career at the renowned international law firm Clifford Chance in 2000. She worked in Corporate Finance, offering consultation services to international corporations in M&A transactions.
Ritva Sotamaa Ritva Sotamaa joined Unilever in 2013 as Chief Legal Officer. As member of Unilever’s Leadership Executive, she is responsible for Unilever’s Legal, Intellectual Property and Business Integrity functions. Ritva has spent most of her career in the healthcare industry. She joined Unilever from Siemens AG, where she was General Counsel for the global Healthcare business since 2009, based in Germany. Between 2003 and 2009 Ritva held several global General Counsel roles at General Electric Company – GE Healthcare, mostly based in Wisconsin, USA.
Rosemary Martin Rosemary Martin was appointed group general counsel and company secretary of Vodafone in March 2010. She previously served as CEO of the Practical Law Group, having spent 11 years with Reuters Group Plc with the last five years as group general counsel and company secretary.
Vanessa French Vanessa was appointed General Counsel of Wolseley UK in March 2013, and is responsible for legal and company secretarial matters. Vanessa is an experienced lawyer, and has worked in both private practice and in-house.
Andrea Harris Andrea is the Group Chief Counsel at WPP where she has worked since September 1996.
Baroness Brenda Hale The Right Honourable Baroness Hale of Richmond, Brenda Marjorie Hale, is the current Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Dame Heather Hallett Dame Hallett has been a judge of the Court of Appeal since 2005, and was also the first woman to chair the Bar Council.
Dame Maura McGoawn QC The Hon. Mrs Justice McGowan is a judge of the High Court of England and Wales, a position which she has held since 2014.
Dame Elizabeth Gloster Dame Elizabeth Gloster, DBE, PC is a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. She was the first female judge of the Commercial Court.
Dame Mary Arden, QC The Rt Hon. Lady Justice Arden currently serves as a judge on the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.
Dame Alison Russell Dame Alison Hunter Russell, styled The Hon. Ms Justice Russell, is a judge of the High Court of England and Wales.
Dame Anne Rafferty Dame Anne Judith Rafferty, DBE, PC, QC, officially styled The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, is an English jurist, who has served as a Lady Justice of Appeal of England and Wales since 2011.
The Rt Hon Liz Truss Liz Truss is the Secretary of State for Justice and the first female Lord Chancellor.
Catherine Dixon Catherine started her career in private practice, working at Eversheds. She then joined Bupa, as the head of legal and subsequently as the commercial director of Bupa Care Services. She was the chief executive of the Law Society until January 2017.
Dame Anne Rafferty Dame Anne Judith Rafferty, DBE, PC, QC, officially styled The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, is an English jurist, who has served as a Lady Justice of Appeal of England and Wales since 2011.
Ingrid Cope Senior legal advisor at Pernod Ricard and in-house lawyer of the year 2016.
Claire Debney Claire is a dual-qualified senior in-house lawyer and founder of LuminOpEx.
Sally-Ann James Sally-Ann is GC for Metro Bank PLC.
Alison Yapp Alison was appointed General Counsel and Company Secretary of Amec Foster Wheeler on 1 December 2012. Immediately prior to joining the company she was Company Secretary and General Legal Counsel of Hays plc. She is a solicitor and has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior lawyer in industry.

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