Over 25 years in the legal profession Catherine Calder has worked in private practice, in-house and at the Bar, and as a lawyer and in management.
She is Director of Client Care at Serjeants’ Inn Chambers, which specialises in public law cases, often involving important ethical, social and political issues. Work of particular – although of course not unique – interest to women includes the first FGM prosecution, an important decision this year concerning the legal standing of a child in utero and the forthcoming Deepcut inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James.
Serjeants’ Inn Chambers is the only set of barristers’ chambers to be shortlisted for The Financial Times 2015 Innovative Lawyer Awards and The Lawyer’s Business Leadership Awards. It won three of the six awards available to the Bar at The Lawyer Awards, and Chambers of the Year at the Halsbury Legal Awards this year. It is a finalist for three awards at the forthcoming Chambers and Partners awards, including Client Service Set of the Year.
Catherine was previously Director of Client Care at Radcliffe Chambers. Originally appointed in 1999, she was one of the first solicitors to work in a management role at the Bar. She worked with others at Radcliffe to take the set to “the forefront of a minor revolution at the Bar which has seen the profession take on some of the trappings of modern customer-focused businesses” (Chambers and Partners).
Earlier in her career, Catherine trained and subsequently worked as a solicitor at Macfarlanes. She later moved to work for a client in the Saatchi Group, dealing with the Halifax plc and Amnesty International accounts.
Catherine is described by Chambers and Partners as “charming and clued up”. She is a committee member of the Legal Practice Management Association.
The support and friendship of other women at work has been invaluable to me throughout my career and, having first become involved in equality and diversity issues at university, the First 100 Years project is one I believe in strongly.
Great progress has been made but there is still so much more to achieve, as was most recently illustrated by the study published in July which revealed a 42% pay gap between male and female solicitors in Scotland.
The First 100 Year project challenges the attitudes underlying such statistics with stories of amazing trail-blazing women, such as Rose Heilbron. Born before women had the vote, she was a working mother who (with Helena Normanton) became the first female barrister to take silk, the first to lead in a murder case, the first woman recorder and the first woman to sit at the Old Bailey. As chair of the Heilbron Committee, she made the recommendations that rape victims should remain anonymous and be protected from unnecessary cross-examination about their sexual history, which we now take for granted as law.
Rose Heilbron is just one of an ever-growing number of instructive and inspiring female role models that the First 100 Years project will bring to life in its ambitious, exciting campaign to celebrate the past and change the future.