First 100 Years Launches ‘Inspirational Women in Law’ Award

8th August 2016
Written by Kerry Jack, CEO of Black Letter Communications.

The First 100 Years, the ground-breaking project charting the journey of women in the legal profession, is today launching its Inspirational Women in Law Awards to identify and celebrate 10 women pioneers that will inspire the next generation of lawyers. The project is managed by Spark21, a charity founded to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women in the professions.

Nominees from across the legal profession are sought and can include practicing lawyers or judiciary members, including but not limited to CMA magistrates, members of CILEX or the Institute of Paralegals, Institute of Barristers Clerks, BILLE, Chartered Institution of Legal Librarians and in-house legal counsel.

Nominations can be made by an individual nominating themselves or by somebody else on their behalf and should demonstrate how they will inspire future generations. Nominees should also have less than ten years’ experience of working in the legal profession and be working in the UK. The deadline for nominations is 16th September 2016 and can be made via the project’s website at:

The first cohort of winners will be announced at the project’s second annual conference, SPARK21, on Wednesday 9th November 2016 at Simmons & Simmons. The all-day event will again be chaired by BBC’s Dame Jenni Murray and has been created to spark a 21st century debate on how far women have come in the legal profession, and how far they have to go to achieve equality.

Nominees will be sought every year for the next three years until the project concludes in 2019. To date over 20 video stories featuring women who have shaped the legal profession since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 paved the way for women to become lawyers have been created including Supreme Court Judge, Baroness Brenda Hale, former High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs; the former director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; former Simmons & Simmons senior partner Dame Janet Gaymer; and Rosemary Martin, general counsel at Vodafone. Videos can be viewed here.

Dana Denis-Smith, founder of The First 100 Years and CEO of Obelisk Support, says: “We’re launching these awards not only to celebrate the future generation of female innovators but to help drive the change we need to see in the legal sector to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality.

“I would urge everyone, male or female, working in the profession to look around them and think about recognising future female role models.”
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