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 inspired Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support to create the First 100 Years project to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women in the profession.
Work is well under way to produce a new digital museum made up of video stories, a timeline, biographies, articles and podcasts that tell the story of women in law. We have uncovered much information about the first women pioneers both solicitors and barristers, but the details of the ‘middle years’ how women progressed through the ranks of the profession is missing, and we are calling on you to help us. Did your law firm have the first woman solicitor to make partnership in the UK? Was your mother or grandmother a first?
The Law Society, AWS, among others is helping us in our search, please ask colleagues, friends and relations, dig out your firm’s archives and let us know by email [email protected]
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. The project is powered by Spark21, a charity founded to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women in the profession.