Ivy Williams

Published 27th June 2014
Dr Ivy Williams was the first woman to be called to the English bar in 1922, and the first woman to teach law at an English university. Born in 1877, by 1903 she had passed all her law examinations with flying colours, but the university regulations at the time meant that she was prevented from receiving her degree, until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act came into play in 1920.

Upon receiving the degree she was owed, she became a student at the Inner Temple, before being called to the English bar in 1922.

Such a landmark event was this that the New York Times saw fit to comment:

The jollities of Call night at Inner Temple were touched with historical significance tonight when a woman was for the first time called to the English bar.

She is remembered for her persistent yet measured resolve to open access to the bar to women, and the fruition of this is her legacy.