Our Stories

7th October 2020

Dame Alison Saunders was the second ever female Director of Public Prosecutions and the first lawyer from within the CPS to be appointed to the role. Alison is now a Dispute Resolution Partner at Linklaters.

3rd September 2020

Carolyn McCombe is the former Chief Executive of 4 Pump Court, a role which was newly created when she filled its shoes. Carolyn began her career as a litigation solicitor, rising to partner by age 30, before taking the unusual step of joining a barrister’s chambers as a junior clerk. Since then, she has risen […]

13th August 2020

An exclusive interview with Dame Fiona Woolf for First 100 Years. Fiona is a British corporate lawyer, and served as Lord Mayor of London 2013-2014, the second woman in 800 years. Born in Edinburgh, Fiona qualified as a solicitor in 1973. She worked at CMS and became the firm’s first female partner in 1981.

30th July 2020

Dame Vera Baird QC is currently the Victims’ Commissioner for England & Wales, responsible for promoting the interests of victims and witnesses of crime. She previously served as a Labour MP, the Solicitor General for England & Wales and a Police and Crime Commissioner. This was after practising as a criminal barrister for many years.

23rd July 2020

At the age of 31, Briony Clarke became one of the youngest ever female judges in the UK upon her appointment as a Deputy District Judge in 2017. Alongside her part-time appointment, she practised as a criminal law solicitor. Briony is now a full time District Judge and sits in Birmingham.

23rd July 2020

Anna Midgley was the youngest woman appointed a judge when she was appointed as a Crown Court Recorder in 2016 aged 33. She is also a criminal barrister, specialising in a broad spectrum of offences.

16th July 2020

Lesley Wan is General Counsel for FBN Bank. Lesley is Founder & President of The Eagle Club – a global network of 180 women in senior leadership positions. She is also Founder and CEO of Through the Looking Glass, a charity which provides underprivileged children with an insight into City professions and encourages them to […]

16th July 2020

Katherine Ramo is an Associate in the Technology, Media, IP and Competition team at CMS. She is listed in the top global 30 Financial Times Women in Business HERoes and Future Female Leader 2018 and is the founder and chair of the CMS ENABLE Network for disability and wellbeing.

16th July 2020

Diana Parker is a renowned divorce lawyer and partner at Withers Worldwide. She was the youngest and first female senior partner of a city firm.

30th June 2020

My great-grandmother’s life was a series of firsts for the female legal profession. Beginning her career as the first woman called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn, being the first woman to appear at the Manchester Bar and the first to be presented with a ‘red bag’, by age 28, Edith had already made history […]

19th June 2020

An exclusive interview with Lady Justice Rafferty for First 100 Years. Dame Anne Rafferty has been a judge in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales since 2011.

11th June 2020

Janet Cohen, Baroness Cohen of Pimlico is a British lawyer and crime fiction writer. She sits in the House of Lords as a Labour peer.

9th June 2020

Dame Bobbie Cheema-Grubb is a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. She is the first Asian woman to serve as a High Court judge in the United Kingdom.

9th June 2020

Dame Janet Smith worked as a barrister in Manchester for twenty years. She was appointed to the High Court in 1992 and then chaired the Harold Shipman Inquiry in 2001-2. In 2002, Smith became the fourth woman appointed to the Court of Appeal. In 2012, Smith chaired the Jimmy Saville Inquiry.

9th June 2020

Baroness Heather Hallett DBE was the fifth woman to be appointed to the Court of Appeal and the first female Chair of the Bar Council. She was called to the Bar in 1972 and became a QC in 1989. In 2009 she was chosen to act as coroner in the inquest into the deaths of […]

9th June 2020

Linda was the first female Managing Partner of a major Scottish law firm. She is a Non-Executive Director and was awarded an OBE for services to business.

9th June 2020

I.Stephanie Boyce was elected the deputy vice president of the Law Society in 2019. This means she will become its first BAME president when she takes up the presidency in 2021.

9th June 2020

Baroness Ruth Deech DBE is a British academic, lawyer, bioethicist and politician, most noted for chairing the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority from 1994 to 2002, and as the former Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford. Ruth sits as a Crossbench peer in the House of Lords.

12th May 2020

The legal drama series, The Split returned to our screens for a second series in early 2020. First aired in 2018 to popular acclaim, it features a family of female lawyers set in the world of high-value divorces. The public seem to have an appetite for expensive breakups, fueled perhaps by press reports of London […]

4th May 2020

Janet Hayes of Necton Consulting – Potential in People has recently completed some in-depth research into women’s journeys to partnership in professional services, interviewing lawyers as well as accountants and consultants. This was for an MSc in Coaching and Behavioural Change at Henley Business School. Why is this important? Women are still significantly under-represented at […]

1st April 2020

© Jamie Williamson for First 100 Year’s #100Faces100Years in 2019. Lady Hale has just retired as the United Kingdom’s most senior judge. She was educated at Richmond High School for Girls in North Yorkshire and Girton College, Cambridge (where she is now Visitor) and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969. She […]

20th January 2020

The First 100 Years campaign inspired me to research the history of women in the legal profession for my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the equivalent of half an A level. I discovered the First 100 Years campaign after a summer placement at a London Law Firm and subsequently won a school history competition when I […]

20th January 2020

In the year that marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which paved the way for women to become lawyers, Dana Denis-Smith, founder of The First 100 Years project says the “rigid and inflexible structures” in many law firms are the main obstacles stopping women’s progress to senior positions. She says that […]

2nd January 2020

Student Emma Barker discusses how the First 100 Years campaign gave her the spark to write a fascinating A-level dissertation, diving into the social change and fearless campaigning that led to the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919: The First 100 Years campaign inspired me to research the history of women in the […]

16th December 2019

Catherine Johnson is Group General Counsel at the London Stock Exchange. 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. Catherine qualified as a lawyer at Herbert Smith in 1993.

16th December 2019

Sabine is the Group General Counsel of BT, having worked all over the world, including in-house for two global beverage companies between 1993 – 2017.

16th December 2019

Eleanor Sharpston QC has combined a career in practise at the Bar (specialising in European Union and ECHR Law) with an academic career first at UCL and then in Cambridge where she was a University Lecturer from 1992 to 1998 and an Affiliated Lecturer from 1998 to 2006. In January 2006 Eleanor took up the […]

16th December 2019

Rosemary is Group General Counsel and Company Secretary at Vodafone. She has been strongly involved in promoting innovation and diversity in the legal profession.

16th December 2019

An exclusive interview with Rachel Spearing for First 100 Years. Spearing is a barrister at Serjeant’s Inn Chambers. Previously she worked in Capital Markets in a US investment bank. In 2017 Spearing founded the Wellness for Law UK Network, an organisation providing a space to share positive practice and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing […]

16th December 2019

Elizabeth Johnson is the first female Chartered Legal Executive to be appointed a judge. Elizabeth was appointed as a Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal on 25 January 2019.

16th December 2019

An exclusive interview with Dame Elizabeth Gloster for First 100 Years, sponsored by Simmons & Simmons. Gloster is a judge of the Court of Appeal in England and Wales, and was the first female judge of the Commercial Court.

11th December 2019

Her Honour Eleri Rees is a Welsh judge. In 2012 she was appointed the Resident Judge of Cardiff Crown Court and Recorder of Cardiff, the first woman to hold this post.

11th December 2019

Harriet Wistrich is an English solicitor who works at Birnberg Pierce & Partners. She is also the co-founder of Justice for Women, a feminist organisation which advocates for women who have fought back against violent male partners, as well as Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2014.

11th December 2019

Her Honour Judge Khatun Sapnara is a Circuit Judge who presides over both family and criminal cases. Her appointment in 2006 as a Recorder of the Crown Court saw her become the first person of Bangladeshi origin to join the ranks of the senior judiciary. HHJ Sapnara came to the UK from Bangladesh at the […]

11th December 2019

Dame Nicola Davies was the first Welsh female Court of Appeal Judge when she was appointed in October 2018. In 1992, Nicola became the first female Welsh QC, having been called to the bar in 1976. Throughout her judicial career she has been the first Welsh woman to hold each post.

21st November 2019

Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal PC QC, is a lawyer and Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations. Baroness Scotland was the first black woman appointed QC in 1991. In 2016, she became the first female Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 53 members states with 2.4 billion people.

21st November 2019

An exclusive interview with Hilary Heilbron QC discussing her mother, Dame Rose Heilbron, who was the first of two female QCs, the first female Recorder, and the first woman judge to sit at the Old Bailey.

15th November 2019

An exclusive interview with Baroness Butler-Sloss for First 100 Years. Elizabeth is a retired English judge. She was the first female Lord Justice of Appeal and the highest-ranking female judge in the United Kingdom until 2004. Called to the Bar in 1955, she became the fourth woman to be appointed a High Court judge in […]

7th November 2019

Victoria McCloud is a British judge. She is the most senior public figure to have transitioned from male to female. In 2010 she became a Queen’s Bench Master, the youngest person ever and only the second woman.

4th November 2019

Taking Stock: Progress and Next Steps In this final episode of the series, we discuss what has been learnt by uncovering the stories of women in law and the light it sheds on current barriers to progress for women. The experience of women lawyers in public leadership roles, and what diversity means in achieving full […]

23rd October 2019

These striking red robes, recently unearthed by the Royal Courts of Justice, provide a thread connecting decades of groundbreaking women in law, from the past to the present day. The robes began their life in 1965 when Mrs Justice Elizabeth Lane reached the historic milestone of becoming the first woman High Court judge. This was […]

9th October 2019

Sarah Leigh, a pioneering clinical negligence lawyer, co-founded Leigh Day in 1987. She was also awarded an OBE for her contribution to the Woolf Inquiry into access to justice and reducing the cost of medical negligence litigation.

4th October 2019

An interview with Dame Janet Gaymer, DBE, QC, who most recently served as a Civil Service Commissioner and Commissioner for Public Appointments from 2006 to 2010. She was previously senior partner of Simmons & Simmons, Chair of the Employment Tribunal System Taskforce and a member of the Employment Tribunals Service Steering Board.

4th October 2019

Sarah Falk was the first woman to be appointed to the High Court straight from private practice, and one of only three solicitors to do so. She was previously a partner at Freshfields.

4th October 2019

Major General Susan Ridge, CB is a senior British Army officer and lawyer. From September 2015 until July 2019, she was Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch (DGALS). She is the first woman to hold the rank of major general in the British Army and the first to hold non-honorary general officer rank […]

4th October 2019

Baroness Chakrabarti was the Director of Liberty from 2003 to 2016. In August 2016, Chakrabarti was made a life peer and was appointed Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales in October 2016. After studying Law at the London School of Economics, Chakrabarti was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1994. In 1996, […]

17th September 2019

The Leaky Pipeline This a special live recorded episode of the podcast. To set the scene for this 9th episode we’ve reached the decade of the 2000’s. This first decade of the new millennium saw global financial instability and the credit crunch which sent profound shockwaves through the UK economy, and resulted in many redundancies […]

16th September 2019

At the heart of the legal profession is the concept of service and justice. This is encapsulated by the concept of pro bono in publico, “free for the public good,” a notion that does not exist in any other professional service. This centuries old tradition of a lawyer acting in the interests of those without […]

19th August 2019

Widening the Pool The 1990’s saw the end of the economic boom and in the recession that followed career prospects in the legal sector became more uncertain for solicitors, both at the junior and senior end. Throughout the decade women began to play a greater role in public life. In 1994 the Church of England […]

9th August 2019

Madeleine Heggs set up her own legal practice over 60 years ago. Brought up by a single mother during the war after her father was killed, Madeleine went to a school which “knew nothing about careers”, and girls were expected to become a secretary, or if you were very bright, a teacher. She was the […]

5th August 2019

The third woman judge and fifth woman QC in the country, through the eyes of her friend and fellow judge Her Honour Dawn Freedman Perhaps the quality I most associate with Myrella is courage. Having broken into the closed, to women, ranks of the Bar by starting her career at the Bar in her native […]

31st July 2019

An exclusive interview with Anita Jewitt, a partner in the London office of Irwin Mitchell specialising in medical negligence. Anita was promoted to partner whilst on maternity leave. In 2017, Anita won the First 100 Years’ Inspirational Women in Law Award.

22nd July 2019

Cecilia Xu Lindsey is the first female Chinese national to be issued with a practising certificate to practise in the independent Bar of England and Wales. Cecilia Xu Lindsey joins First 100 Years for a discussion about her life and career. According to the Bar Council’s records, Cecilia is the first female Chinese national (including […]

18th July 2019

Rising to the Top The 1980s were characterised by the premiership of Margaret Thatcher as the UK’s first woman Prime Minister. It was one which saw the Falkland’s War in 1982, prolonged and bitter trade union strikes, the right to buy policy on state home ownership, the privatization of nationalised industries and the deregulation of […]

17th July 2019

Sandie Okoro is General Counsel at the World Bank. Sandie is named in The Powerlist 2019 as the fifth most influential and powerful black person in Britain.

16th July 2019

Sylvia Denman CBE was a barrister and academic whose commitment to equal opportunities and fighting racial discrimination ensured a lasting legacy. She most notably conducted the Denman Inquiry into institutional racism in the CPS, heralding much-needed changes. Sylvia was born in Barbados in 1932 and came to Britain to study law at the London School […]

11th July 2019

Jacquelyn MacLennan is a Partner at White & Case and advises on issues related to corporate supply chain compliance, disclosure requirements, and Business & Human Rights issues. Jacquelyn acted on the European Court of Justice case that saw same sex marriages recognised across the European Union.

27th June 2019

Dame Rosalyn Higgins GBE QC is a former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). She was the first female judge elected to the ICJ, and was elected President in 2006, also the first female elected. Following her education, Higgins was a practising barrister, and became a QC in 1986, and is a bencher […]

18th June 2019

Sex Discrimination Act: Equality in name? Discussing discrimination and the impact of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. What was the experience of discrimination in the professions? To what extent did things change following the passing of the Act? Did the earlier Equal Pay Act 1970 have an impact for women trying to forge a career […]

6th June 2019

The winning logo designed by University of Reading student, Charmaine Chong, to celebrate the centenary of women in law at the University of Reading. The University of Reading invited students to a meeting last year to plan how they wanted to celebrate the centenary of women in law this year. A number of the students […]

20th May 2019

An exclusive interview with Keily Blair, the first winner of the Inspirational Women in Law Awards organised by Spark21 in 2016. Keily is Director, Co-Lead of Contentious Data Protection Strategy, Legal and Compliance Services at PwC United Kingdom.

17th May 2019

My Lord becomes My Lady The 1960’s was a time of profound social change. The abolition of capital punishment, legalisation of homosexuality and abortion, the introduction of the contraceptive pill, and the Married Women’s Property Act affected women's rights in everyday life. More girls than ever before went on to higher education and in 1962 […]

18th April 2019

A Hostile Culture Join host Lucinda Acland and guests for a discussion of the 1950s, characterised by a post-war growing economy and technological advances. After the war, working women either returned to the home or were squeezed back into lower paid positions. Women’s status overall declined and the gender wage gap increased. The culture of […]

15th April 2019

Greatest Career Achievements: As one of only twenty listed in the Law category in The Sunday Times “Britain’s 500 Most Influential”, Penelope has not just led the way for CMS – she has led the way for the legal market. As the Law Society Gazette reported “Few women solicitors have smashed the “glass ceiling” into […]

2nd April 2019

María Ascensión Chirivella Marín (1893 – 1980) was the first woman admitted to practise law in Spain in January 1922. In Spain, judges are not appointed, they are required to take an exam and women were not allowed to participate in these exams until 1961. The first Judge to pass the exam was Concepción Carmen […]

25th March 2019

On Thursday 21st March, First 100 Years was proud to sponsor 10 students to attend the Association of Women Judges’ event ‘Celebrating the contribution of great women judges to our legal life’ at the Supreme Court. It was an inspiring evening to learn about the lives and careers of Lady Hale, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Justice […]

18th March 2019

Sitting in Judgment: Women Magistrates and Jurors Join host Lucinda Acland and guests for a discussion of the 1940s, the impact of World War Two in the perception of women in the world of work and for women in the legal profession, the progress and involvement of women in legal academia, rising through the ranks […]

14th March 2019

In October 2004, Dame Linda Dobbs DBE became the first non-white high court judge in the UK, having been appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2003. She joins First 100 Years for a discussion about her life and career.

13th March 2019

Clare Montgomery QC joined First 100 Years for a discussion about her life and career. In 2016 Chambers & Partners described Clare Montgomery as ‘the most formidable member of the bar’. She is a highly respected barrister specialising in criminal, regulatory and fraud law, known for her work on legally and factually complex cases.

13th March 2019

Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) is the first woman to be elected as President of the Federation of European Bar Associations. Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) is a solicitor and Professor of Clinical Legal Education and works in the Legal Advice Clinic of the London South Bank University where she trains and supervises law students […]

18th February 2019

The ‘Firsts’: Gaining a Foothold Join host Lucinda Acland and guests for a discussion of the first few pioneering female lawyers, and their experiences during the early years of women being allowed to practice law. Special Guests: Elizabeth Cruickshank – Former solicitor in London, now writer about the lives and experiences of women solicitors, especially […]

13th February 2019

An exclusive interview with Lady Arden for the First 100 Years project. Lady Arden joined the Supreme Court as its third female judge on 1st October 2018 and two days later history was made when the Court sat with a female majority for the first time. In 1993, Mary Arden was the first woman appointed […]

11th February 2019

An exclusive interview with Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, barrister, broadcaster and campaigner. As one of Britain’s most distinguished lawyers, she has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights.

18th January 2019

An exclusive interview with Cherie Booth QC for First 100 Years. Booth is a leading British barrister specialising in arbitration, mediation, public law, human rights, employment law and European Community law. She is a noted speaker on human rights.

17th January 2019

The First 100 Years, the ground-breaking project charting the journey of women in the legal profession, has launched its first podcast in a series of ten exploring the history and achievements of women in law, decade by decade. The series features pioneering female lawyers including Baroness Butler-Sloss, Helena Kennedy QC and Dame Janet Gaymer alongside […]

8th January 2019

Sacred Year or Dead Letter? The first in the series, this podcast discusses the decade from 1919-1929. Join host Lucinda Acland and guests for a discussion of the fight that led up to the legal change in 1919. What impacted the law, and what was its impact? How did the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 […]

7th January 2019

First 100 Years is launching a series of 10 podcasts, one per month, following the course of the 100 years of women in law. In collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Linklaters, this series of ten podcasts charts the history of women in the legal professions. Progressing decade-by-decade, the podcasts will be 45-minute discussions between legal […]

18th December 2018

Slaughter & May’s Frances Murphy was one of the most formidable corporate lawyers in the City. As a woman, she carved a reputation for excellence at a time there were few women in her field. She passed away on 25 May 2016, after we filmed her for our project celebrating the lives of women in […]

13th December 2018

A compilation of a few of our recent interviews that will be released soon!

13th December 2018

Helen Mountfield QC is a British barrister and legal scholar, specialising in administrative, human rights, and equality law. She was a founder of Matrix Chamber in 2000. She has been Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford since 2018.

13th December 2018

An exclusive interview with Alison Meek for First 100 Years. Alison is a partner in Harcus Sinclair’s contentious trusts and estates team and has been appointed by the High Court to act as executor in complex estates. She was a founder of ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists).

13th December 2018

In 2017, Baroness Brenda Hale became the first woman to be appointed president of the Supreme Court in England & Wales. The First 100 Years project was lucky to film her before, when she was the only woman supreme court justice. She is a true trailblazer for women in law and women in leadership more […]

13th December 2018

An exclusive interview with Shân Warnock-Smith QC for First 100 Years. Widely regarded as one of the leading names at the Chancery Bar, Warnock-Smith is an adviser and litigator specialising in trusts, succession and private wealth issues.

13th December 2018

An exclusive interview with Ruth, Lady Morris of Kenwood CBE for First 100 Years. An eminent property lawyer, Ruth worked at her father’s firm Janners for 25 years, before becoming Chairman of Partners. Ruth was also a vice-president of ‘Woman of the Year Lunch & Assembly’ and is a trustee of several charitable trusts.

13th December 2018

In an exclusive interview with First 100 Years, John Steel QC discusses how he was inspired to become a barrister by his mother, Marianne Steel (who practised under her maiden name and second name, Val Rees). Called to the Bar in 1978, John is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers and was appointed Silk in […]

3rd December 2018

Angeli Arora, MA (Oxon) was one of the youngest lawyers to become partner, and managing partner, at a top tier international law firm. Indeed, she was amongst the first female lawyers to achieve record breaking success, as a solicitor qualified under the laws of England and Wales, in the international legal arena. In terms of […]

9th October 2018

Catherine Barnard, Professor of European Union Law and Employment Law at Trinity College Cambridge. Catherine Barnard is Professor of European Union Law and Employment Law and Senior Tutor of Trinity College. She is a leading researcher working on the issues surrounding the Brexit negotiations. She is also a Senior Fellow in the Economic and Social […]

19th September 2018

Veronica Lowe, M.A.(Oxon), is a Solicitor and President St Hugh’s College Alumni Association, humorously credited with pioneering the six page CV for her continued success in a variety of fields within the legal profession. Lowe read Modern History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and was the first woman to take Military History as a […]

19th September 2018

As the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time looms, we are searching for the details of the first woman lawyers to become partners in solicitors’ firms.It was this photograph of Dorothy Livingston, the first female partner at Herbert Smith, which […]

4th September 2018

May Doris Charity Taylor (nee Clifford) was the first female prison governor in England and Wales. Born in Woking, Surrey, on 16th September 1914, Taylor qualified in medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She later joined the Prison Commission during WW2 because she felt that her skills as a doctor should be used […]

16th July 2018

Dorothy Mary Donaldson was the first female Lord Mayor of London. Dorothy Mary Donaldson, The Lady Donaldson of Lymington, previously known as Dame Mary Donaldson, was born in Wickham, Hampshire, and trained in Oxford as a nurse during the war, qualifying in 1946. Her patients included soldiers returning from Dunkirk and victims of the Blitz. […]

13th July 2018

Elsie Bowerman was called to the Bar in 1924, two years after Ivy Williams became the first woman called. She was also a suffragette, a Titanic survivor, and barrister. Born in 1889, Elsie was the daughter of a prosperous businessman who died when she was five years old. When she started at Wycombe Abbey, aged […]

12th July 2018

Jessie Chrystal Macmillan was a Scottish feminist, barrister and politician. She was the first female science graduate from the University of Edinburgh, the first woman to plead a case before the House of Lords and a founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Born in 1872, Chrystal grew up in Edinburgh alongside […]

11th July 2018

In 1987, Anne Willmott, a trained counsellor, was recruited by a forward-thinking Chief Fire Officer to set up a professional Counselling and Advice service for the London Fire Brigade. In a conversation with First 100 Years, she discusses the obstacles she came up against, working in a male-dominated environment, and what needs to change in […]

15th June 2018

Dorothy Knight Dix was the first woman to sit as recorder for a jury trial and was only the second woman to be appointed to the County Court bench, following Elizabeth Lane DBE. Dorothy Knight Dix, later Dorothy Waddy, was born on 8th September 1909 and attended school in Hampstead before studying at University of […]

15th June 2018

Averil Katherine Statter Deverell was one of the first women, along with Frances Kyle, to be admitted to the bar in Ireland on November 1st 1921. It was almost a year later before Ivy Williams became the first woman to be called to the English Bar. Little is known about Deverell’s life. Born in Dublin […]

13th June 2018

Mary Dorothea Heron, Helena Mary Early and Dorothea Mary Browne were the first three women to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland. The first three women admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland were Mary Dorothea Heron from Downpatrick Co. Down, Helena Mary Early from Dublin city and Dorothea Mary Browne […]

13th June 2018

Elizabeth Lane DBE was an English barrister and judge. She was the first woman appointed as a judge in the County Court, and the first female High Court judge in England. She is most extraordinary since she had no formal university education gaining a career in law by her own means. Born Elizabeth Kathleen Coulborn […]

12th June 2018

Professor Frances Elizabeth Moran was the first female law lecturer in Ireland, the first female Regius Professor at Trinity College, Dublin and the first woman to take silk in Ireland, years before any woman in Britain. Born on the 6th December 1893, the second daughter of Senator James Moran, Frances Moran was educated at Dominican […]

8th June 2018

Frances Kyle was one of the first women, along with Averil Deverell, to be admitted to the bar in Ireland on November 1st, 1921. They were among the first women to be called to the bar anywhere in the world. It was almost a year later before Ivy Williams became the first woman to be […]

6th June 2018

Georgina “Georgie” Frost was the first woman to hold public office in the UK and Ireland. Born on the 29th December 1879 in Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Georgie was one of five children. Her father was the petty sessions clerk of Sixmilebridge and Newmarket-on-Fergus. Before that, Georgie’s grandfather John Kett had also acted as petty sessions […]

1st June 2018

Margaret Owen OBE is a human rights barrister specialising in women’s rights. In an interview with First 100 Years, she discusses her varied career, founding the charity Widows for Peace Through Democracy, and her advice for young female lawyers today. Margaret was born in 1932, the daughter of a solicitor and a doctor. She remembers […]

31st May 2018

The ‘rebel Countess’ Constance Markievicz née Gore-Booth was an Irish revolutionary, founding member of the Irish Citizen Army, suffragette and the first woman elected to the British House of Commons on the 28th December 1918, although she did not take her seat. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold […]

29th May 2018

Deirdre Trapp is an award-winning antitrust practitioner and partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In an exclusive interview with First 100 Years, she discusses her route to success, improving the work/life balance, and the advice she gives to young female lawyers. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Deirdre’s mother was a nurse and her father was in […]

24th May 2018

Margaret Kidd was the first female member of the Faculty of Advocates and remained the only female advocate in Scotland for over 25 years. She was also the first female advocate to appear before the House of Lords and before a parliamentary select committee, and the first woman appointed King’s Counsel in the UK. Born […]

9th May 2018

Asma Jilani Jahangir was an eminent lawyer and activist, who fought for the rights of women, children and religious minorities in Pakistan and co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Asma was born in Lahore, Pakistan, on 27th January 1952. Her father, Malik Ghulam Jilani was a civil servant and politician who spent many years […]

27th April 2018

R v Ahluwalia; a case which sparked changes in the law of murder and voluntary manslaughter, and raised awareness of domestic violence in non-English speaking families. But who were the campaigners that made the change possible? Kiranjit Ahluwalia was found guilty of murder in 1989, after setting alight her abusive husband’s bed whilst he slept. […]

24th April 2018

In 1970, Claire Palley became a Professor of Law at Queen’s University Belfast. When she did so, she was the first woman in the United Kingdom ever to be appointed to such a post (though Professor Frances Moran had been a law professor at Trinity College Dublin from 1944 to 1963; it is an interesting […]

20th April 2018

Denisa Gannon is the first Roma person to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. In an exclusive interview with First 100 Years, she describes why she studied law and how she’s got to where she is today, as well as her advice to aspiring lawyers. Denisa grew up in the Czech Republic, but […]

17th April 2018

In an interview with First 100 Years, Eileen Pembridge has spoken of her experiences of setting up Fisher Meredith, lobbying for changes in domestic violence law, and being the first woman to stand for the Law Society presidency in 1995. Eileen has had a very varied career. After starting off as a scientist, she switched […]

13th April 2018

© Mitchell Library, Glasgow Madge Easton Anderson was the first woman to be admitted to practise as a professional lawyer in the UK, when she qualified as a solicitor in Scotland in 1920. Born on the 24th April 1896 in Glasgow, her father, Robert Easton, made surgical instruments. She attended Hutcheson’s Girls’ School, and later […]

11th April 2018

In an interview with First 100 Years, Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, has spoken of the changes that she has witnessed for women during her career at the Bar. Born to a working-class family in Glasgow, when Helena was called to the Bar in 1972, she describes the stereotypes that she faced: I […]

10th April 2018

Sybil Campbell was the first woman to be appointed to the professional judiciary full-time in Britain, when she became a stipendiary magistrate at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court in 1945. She remained the only full-time female professional magistrate or judge in England until she retired in 1961. The eldest of three daughters, Sybil was born in […]

9th April 2018

Theodora Llewelyn Davies was the first female applicant to be admitted to the Inner Temple in 1920, and one of the earliest women to be called to the Bar on 17th November 1922. Theodora Llewelyn Davies, usually known as Theo, was born on 18 April 1898 in Birkenhead, the daughter of Maurice Llewelyn Davies and […]

5th April 2018

Dorothy Livingston, first female partner of Herbert Smith Freehills has spoken to First 100 Years about her advice to young female lawyers, and what she hopes will change for the future. She says: I’d like to see a future in which the legal profession is well balanced between men and women. I think to do […]

5th April 2018

Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, after she was elected MP for Plymouth Sutton in November 1919. Early life An American citizen born in Virginia, Nancy was the eighth of eleven children. Her mother, Nancy Witcher Keene, had married when she was sixteen, and her father, […]

29th March 2018

Mella Carroll was the first female judge of the High Court in the Republic of Ireland. Born in 1934 in Dublin, her father Patrick Carroll was a founder member and Commissioner of the Garda Siochana, the police force of Ireland from 1922, and he later qualified as a barrister. Mella read French and German at […]

28th March 2018

In conversation with First 100 Years Cherie Booth QC has urged for greater social mobility at the Bar saying she believes that there are even fewer state educated people being called now than there were in the past, attributing this partly to a lack of legal aid work. Describing her experiences at the Bar, Cherie […]

26th March 2018

In conversation with First 100 Years, Madeleine Heggs, who set up her own legal practice over 60 years ago, has discussed how she juggled the work/life balance, and why she thinks it’s harder than ever for young lawyers today. Brought up by a single mother during the war after her father was killed, Madeleine went […]

20th March 2018

Marjorie Powell is a forgotten name, buried in the history books, but she was, and remains, a very important woman. She was the first female student to join Lincoln’s Inn, paving the way for others to follow her. Marjorie Powell was born on 5th October 1893, her birth was registered in Market Drayton, Shropshire, to […]

13th March 2018

Richard Pankhurst was born in the May of 1836, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire to Henry Francis Pankhurst and Margaret Marsden. He was educated at the Manchester Grammar School and following that, Owens College, Manchester. In 1959, Richard graduated from the University of London with an LLB (with honours) and then an LLD. He had always been […]

12th March 2018

Written by Mark Pallis In 1873, Charlotte Ray became the first African American woman lawyer in America. She set up her own firm and began what a contemporary called “active practice”. Then, just four years later, “on account of prejudice, was not able to obtain sufficient legal business” and shut up shop. And that’s almost […]

8th March 2018

Today, International Women’s Day (IWD) will be celebrated around the world, a day to recognise women’s rights movements and women’s achievements. However, the meaning of IWD has changed over the years, and continues to differ between cultures. From a radical political demonstration, a celebration of traditional gender roles, a communist state holiday, to a day […]

1st March 2018

Written by Laura Vignoles, Associate Barrister, originally as part of Kingsley Napley’s International Women’s Day blog series. In my opinion, it is sufficient to rest this case upon the inveterate practice of the centuries that, ever since attorneys as a profession have existed, women have never been admitted to the office, and, in my opinion, […]

23rd February 2018

Phar Hmee is remembered for being the first Burmese woman to become a barrister in 1926. Little is left in the records about Phar Hmee’s life. Born in 1902, she was the eldest daughter of a well respected civil servant in Rangoon. After studying at University College, Rangoon, Phar Hmee came to London, to study […]

20th February 2018

Joan Stanley Rubinstein, pioneer female solicitor, marriage guidance counsellor, psychotherapist and founder member of Resolution was born in Kensington on the 18th November 1921, into a long standing family of solicitors. After war service at Bletchley Park (breaking Japanese codes) she was articled to her Father and admitted as a solicitor in 1947. Although Rubinsteins […]

12th February 2018

The 2018 Pankhurst Lecture, “2018 – A Year of Anniversaries”, was delivered on the evening of 8th February 2018 by Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE PC FBA, the first woman to become President of the Supreme Court. On the night, the University of Manchester, where Lady Hale taught law from 1966 to 1984, welcomed her […]

12th February 2018

Richard Barr, Law Society Council Member, remembers Mary Smith (1967 – 1979) a trailblazer in legal journalism. My late father David Barr and I (later) wrote for the Law Society Gazette. I think that in the late 60s/ early 70s the Gazette had an editorial committee and that my father was on it. That is […]

12th February 2018

Lord Robert Cecil (born Edgar Algernon Robert Gasgoyne-Cecil), first Viscount of Chelwood, was born in Cavendish Square, London, on 14 September 1864, to the third Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, who would be the Conservative Prime Minister from 25 June 1895 to 11 July 1902. Cecil studied Law at University College, Oxford in […]

8th February 2018

Women winning the right to enter the professions was an achievement “almost as important” as winning the vote, Baroness Hale has said. Speaking at the event “100 Years of Votes for Women: an LSE Law celebration”, a gathering also addressed by Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and Nicola Lacey, Baroness Hale traced the history of events from […]

8th February 2018

With every great development in history, there comes a pioneer who enabled such progress to be made. Statistics from the Solicitors Regulation Authority suggest that in the UK currently, 33% of partners in law firms are now female, which is a far cry from the social climate prior to the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. […]

30th January 2018

Rosalind Wright CB QC, second woman director of the Serious Fraud Office 1997-2003, remembers Dame Juliet Wheldon (1950-2014) DCB QC, who was Treasury Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service 2000-6. I first met Juliet when, as a young legal assistant in her first post at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in the 1970s, she […]

30th January 2018

In our search for stories of legal pioneers, we came across this interview with Carrie Morrison, the first woman to be admitted to the Solicitors Roll in 1922, published in the Dundee Evening Telegraph on Tuesday 31 October 1922. “Started by accident” “I dropped into the work by accident; she said. ‘I had tried teaching […]

21st January 2018

An exclusive interview with Dorothy Livingston, the original inspiration behind the First 100 Years project. She was the first female partner of what was then Herbert Smith. She was promoted to equity partner whilst pregnant with her second child but believes it took her longer than her contemporaries to be promoted.

21st January 2018

14th November 2017

As part of the aims of the First 100 Years project, Spark 21 held the third annual conference providing a cross-sector platform to debate ‘Women Leaders in Law: a 21st Century Conversation’. The First Hundred Years in 2017 Dana Denis-Smith, the founder of First 100 Years and CEO of Obelisk Support, welcomed the event’s largest audience so […]

21st July 2017

Written by Dana Denis-Smith, founder of Spark21 and creator of the First 100 Years I was extremely privileged to have met Baroness Hale a few times in my legal career, both times part of our First 100 Years work, looking to document and archive the history of women in the legal profession. It is an […]

21st July 2017

Dame Jill Black’s appointment as Supreme Court judge will bring the number of women in the country’s highest court to two. Commenting on Lady Black’s appointment, First 100 Years founder Dana Denis-Smith told Legal Cheek that the judicial appointments represented “one of the most significant landmarks for women in law.” While noting the improvement in […]

21st July 2017

Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond has been appointed President of the Supreme Court, the first woman to become the most senior judge in the UK. She will take up the role on 2 October 2017. A woman pioneer in law, Lady Hale has already broken the glass ceiling in the legal profession on several occasions. […]

19th July 2017

Jamila Hassan is a barrister at Goldsmith Chambers, specialising in immigration and human rights law. Born in Somalia and raised in Kenya and Sweden before completing her education in the UK, Jamila Hassan’s childhood was unlike that of most of her peers. Besides being multi-lingual and multi-cultural (she is fluent in Somali, Swahili, Swedish and […]

19th July 2017

Claudine Adeyemi has been busy not only with her career as a real estate litigation lawyer since qualifying three years ago. She has also been actively making a difference in her community by supporting young people from non-traditional backgrounds in their journeys to become working professionals. In 2014, she set up The Student Development Co, […]

19th July 2017

Charlotte Ray (1850 – 1911) was the first African American female lawyer in the United States. She became the first female admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Ray deserves to be remembered because she fought to overcome the […]

12th July 2017

Women were allowed entry into the legal profession in 1919 but the playing field remains unequal, almost a century later. Read about the women who are pushing for gender equality in The Guardian, featuring one of our very own First 100 Years champions, Funke Abimbola.

12th July 2017

In times gone by, access to the legal profession was governed by three factors: Gender, social class and wealth. In Scotland, 1901, Miss Margaret Howie Strang Hall petitioned the court asking to be admitted as a member of the then-termed Incorporated Society of Law Agents. The courts refused, referring to the Romans’ refusal to allow […]

5th July 2017

More women than men study law, receive training contracts and qualify as solicitors. However, the latest statistics published by Solicitors Regulation Authority indicate that only 33 per cent of partners across the UK are women. Emma Spitz, a director at the Executive Coaching Consultancy who has more than 12 years’ experience advising City law firms […]

15th June 2017

Three women changed the course of history in France at the end of the 19th century. Their names are not well-known even though they contributed to women’s access to the legal profession. Sarmiza Bilcescu was the first woman to obtain a licence to practice law. She also obtained a PhD in Law. A Romanian citizen, […]

7th June 2017

In December 1919, the prohibition on women serving on juries in the United Kingdom was brought to an end. The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was, itself, a compromise, with the government agreeing to lift various sex-based disqualifications but refusing to equalise the parliamentary franchise, or open membership of the Lords to women. And it […]

23rd May 2017

One of the first 10 women solicitors in England and Wales, Edith Berthen was also the first woman to qualify in Liverpool and later formed the first all women partnership with Beatrice Honour Davy. She was born in 1877 in Rockferry, Cheshire, the daughter of corn merchant Thomas Jones Berthen and his wife Lucy Anne […]

11th May 2017

One of our student ambassadors from the University of Oxford, Wenyi Gaia Shen, discusses the current gender gap in university applications, with 100,000 more women applying to university than men. However, if we look more closely, the gender divide is reflected in the choice of subject, with maths and computer science being heavily male-dominated. __________________ […]

3rd May 2017

Four women, Carrie Morrison, Maud Crofts, Mary Elaine Sykes and Mary Elizabeth Pickup, passed the Law Society’s finals examinations in December 1922. Later that month Carrie Morrison became the first woman to be admitted as a solicitor by the Law Society of England and Wales. The other three women, including Mary Elizabeth Pickup, were admitted […]

18th April 2017

One of our student ambassadors, Ndifreke Ekaette, has been discussing the FHY project with a local school in Blackpool. The first of a series of meetings, Ndifreke tells FHY about her first event and the importance of talking to a younger generation about the history of women in law. _______________ Lawyers are a crucial part […]

29th March 2017

This years’ winner of the Inspirational Women in Law Award, Keily Blair, discusses the First 100 Years project, being disruptive, and having a ‘jungle-gym’ approach to your career. In her words, “diverse organisations simply perform better”. ——- The First 100 Years chronicles the journey of women in law since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. […]

21st March 2017

As one of the Inspirational Women in Law Award finalists, Georgina Wolfe submitted a short essay on ‘How can Women Shape the Future of the Legal Industry?’. She tells the story of her own experiences in the world of law, in particular at the Bar, and how women bring unique experiences and skills to the […]

7th March 2017

My maternal grandparents, Elsie Waugh and Stanley Turner, married in 1932, and their first child, a boy, was born in 1940. They were living in Willesden when in May of the following year, in the thick of the Second World War, Stanley joined the Royal Navy, leaving his job as clerk in the Lincoln’s Inn […]

28th February 2017

Written by Baroness Deech QC(Hon) I studied law at a time when it was not at all fashionable for women to choose this – there were 8 women amongst 150 men in my year at Oxford. I got a place at Oxford on my 9th attempt at the admissions exams for Oxford and Cambridge (one […]

21st February 2017

The story of Ada Yeates and Sisters, legal stationers, scriveners and typists, who were the successors to a “law and commercial stamp retailer” business operated by Catherine Carroll since 1851. Ada Yeates was born in 1852 to Robert Eustace Yeates and his wife Sarah. The Yeates family lived at Elm Hall in Celbridge, but in […]

18th February 2017

We hosted a celebration party in support of the project attended by Lady Hale, the only woman on the UK Supreme Court, and Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court.

31st January 2017

Did you know that one of our FHY Professional Champions is the World Bank Group’s Senior Vice President and General Council? Sandie Okoro, appointed to the position in November 2016, previous worked for HSBC Global as their Global General Council and has devoted much of her time to improving diversity in the City. She has […]

1st December 2016

The First 100 Years Champions have been selected for their committment to furthering equality in Law and beyond. This week, two champions have been featured in the national media to advance the causes of diversity and equality in the profession. Barry Matthews has been a champion for diversity in Law throughout his career. He currently […]

30th November 2016

A woman of fierce determination, Agnes Twiston Hughes qualified as a solicitor in 1923 and thus became the first Welsh woman to qualify as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Born in 1896, the younger daughter of solicitor John Williams Hughes, Agnes was trained by her father; on qualification she joined […]

29th November 2016

We are delighted to announce the winner and finalists of the First 100 Years’ Inspirational Women in Law Award. From the huge number of nominations we received from all over the legal industry, the First 100 Years team and our brilliant panel of judges were able to narrow the competition down to five finalists, from […]

23rd November 2016

Born in 1896 Mary Elaine Sykes was one of the first four women to pass the Law Society’s Final Examinations in 1922. She was the middle child of Huddersfield solicitor James Sykes and his wife Emma Amelia Turner. Her elder brother, Eric, died in France in May 1917 at the age of 22 but her […]

17th November 2016

On November 9th 2016, Spark 21 and the First 100 Years project held their second annual conference to promote gender equality and diversity in the legal profession. They day was a great success, with 150 delegates from all over the country (and beyond!), and raised nearly £3,000 for the project – thanks to the generous […]

8th November 2016

Lady Hale speaks to the First 100 Years about her journey in law, her role models and the progression of women in the legal profession.

7th November 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Keynote […]

31st October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. The […]

26th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, we feature one of our Red Chair Interviews with Funke Abimbola from the 2015 Spark21 Conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend this year’s conference. The idea behind the Red Chair […]

24th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. The […]

19th October 2016

In 1923 Mithan Tata became the first woman called to the bar by Lincoln’s Inn and the first practising Indian woman barrister. She would have been remarkable in any era, but for those times she was extraordinary. Mithan was born into a Parsi family in Maharashtra in 1898 and spent her childhood in different parts […]

17th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. In […]

13th October 2016

Mercy Ashworth was called to the bar on 26 January 1923 at the same time as Mithan Tata. They were the first two women from Lincoln’s Inn. At the age of 54, Mercy had waited a long time for to be called. Mercy’s age was not unusual amongst the early barristers. Cornelia Sorabji, Amy Edwards […]

10th October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

3rd October 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

26th September 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Panel […]

19th September 2016

As we look forward to the Annual Spark 21 Conference on 9 November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons LLP, the First 100 Years Project will be publishing excerpts of speeches from the 2015 Spark21 Conference every Monday, leading up to this year’s conference. Please visit the website for more information on how to attend. Opening […]

16th September 2016

In September 2016, Dana Denis-Smith, founder of the First 100 Years project, introduced the project to employees of a large multinational banking organisation. Her speech at the presentation was titled, Why We Must Not Succumb to “Diversity Fatigue’. The First 100 Years project started with a photograph. I happened to glance it as I browsed […]

12th September 2016

These are excerpts from the First 100 Year’s video interview with Ruth Lady Morris of Kenwood. The video is currently being produced and will be released shortly. Let me start by saying that in my day, and it’s as long ago as that, there were only 28 women a year who qualified, so it was […]

9th September 2016

The First 100 Years project hosted its annual reception at the Supreme Court, thus marking the amazing achievements of the last year in the presence of the country’s top judges – the Supreme Court President and Baroness Hale, the only woman on the Supreme Court.

7th September 2016

The Founder of the First 100 Years project, Dana Denis-Smith, shares her personal story and her journey from Transylvania, in Romania, to being a journalist, City lawyer, woman in law and entrepreneur as well as a mother and wife.

5th September 2016

These are excerpts from the First 100 Year’s video interview with Dame Janet Gaymer, first woman to become Senior Partner of a Top 20 law firm. The video is currently being produced and will be released shortly. I think the story of women in law is very much a slow burn. It’s obvious if you […]

2nd September 2016

#OnTheRoll captures the story of how women were prevented from getting a job in the legal industry for decades, simply because there were no female toilet facilities at law firms and legal institutions. This unbelievable story has been printed on one hundred limited edition toilet rolls. You can purchase this special edition roll for £100. […]

29th August 2016

These are excerpts from the First 100 Year’s video interview with June Venters QC, first woman solicitor to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel. The video can be found here. What happened was that the solicitors firm where I was working, one morning, on a Monday called me in to say they were closing the department […]

26th August 2016

June Venters QC, the first woman solicitor to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel, speaks to the First 100 Years about her journey in law. Her interview transcripts can be found here.

24th August 2016

Barry Matthews, deputy General Counsel at ITV, in conversation with Mrs June Foote, his school headmistress and a magistrate, who inspired him to succeed in life and train as a lawyer.

22nd August 2016

These are excerpts from the First 100 Year’s video interview with Shami Chakrabarti which can be found here. I think I wanted to become a lawyer fairly early on. I think I was partly shaped by the books and movies that my Mother shared with me, that’s ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’, ‘Rumpole of the […]

17th August 2016

A member of the first small cohort of women to practise at the English Bar, Ethel Bright Ashford was called alongside Helena Normanton and seven other women at Middle Temple in November 1922. Her political background and subsequent career were very different to Normanton’s, highlighting the diversity of the legal pioneers. Thirty-nine years old at […]

10th August 2016

The elevated social status of peers in the House of Lords might conjure an image of rigid and old-fashioned hierarchy and, more specifically, patriarchy. In contrast, an idealisation of the apparently more modern Commons may create assumptions of equality and fairness between MPs. I went into Parliament with these preconceptions when I carried out ethnographic […]

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