Janet Morrison

Janet has been a supporter of First 100 years since its early days and is proud to be a
Champion. In 2019, as we celebrate 100 years of being able to practise as lawyers, she will
celebrate her 30 year anniversary as a qualified solicitor. Most of those 30 years have been
spent working for in-house legal teams, such as Universal Music, Experian and, most
recently, ASOS, in the role of Global Ops Legal Director. Alongside this, as a single parent, Janet
have brought up two children and is incredibly proud that her daughter is about to qualify as a lawyer at a magic circle firm.

There have been many changes since 1989; then it was 50:50 for women and men at the
qualification level. However, 30 years later, while more women than ever are entering the
profession, women have still not achieved fair representation at the top levels of our
industry, or equality in terms of pay. Janet wants to see that change and will do her best to ensure
that it happens.

Maria is Senior Lecturer in European Law at the University of Glasgow. She is co-founder and director of the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe which is committed to ensuring that academic expertise on EU matters can be developed and shared with all sections of society. Her academic work and approach are very much underpinned by her commitment to collaborative social justice. Within the School of Law and in her role as employability officer, and board member of the Glasgow University Settlement, she actively encourages student participation in designing and delivering collaborative community benefit projects. Outside of work, Maria is a committed community activist, with 15 years of experience of working as a board member in the voluntary and charities sector. She is a member of Changing the Chemistry, an organisation committed to enhancing board diversity.

Why First 100 Years is important:

When preparing for a public lecture for the launch of RebLaw Scotland in 2017, I came across Madge Easton Anderson, a graduate of Glasgow University and the first woman to qualify and practise as a solicitor in the UK. I knew immediately that her story could and should inspire a whole new generation of aspiring lawyers and I made it a personal mission to contribute to that. First 100 Years is a remarkable and incredibly important project for law students, of all genders, today. It is so important that we acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable breakthroughs of women in the law as we all continue to strive towards gender equality in the legal professions.

Amanda Pinto QC specialises in corporate crime, money laundering, corruption, art crime and business wrong-doing at the Chambers of Andrew Mitchell QC, 33 Chancery Lane. Her practice focuses on trans-national and jurisdictional issues. She is Chair of the International Committee of the Bar Council, a Recorder, a Bencher on the Executive Committee of Middle Temple and a Trustee of the Slynn Foundation, which works to improve justice systems, the rule of law and understanding of human rights around the world. She regularly writes and speaks on corporate criminal liability and rule of law issues.

Why First 100 Years is Important

The First 100 Years project is both a wonderful celebration and an important reminder that the place of women in our legal system has been hard fought and that headway has been made by the resolute determination of practitioners. Every career progression and every judicial appointment changes the norm for our justice system and improves the perception of access to justice to everyone’s advantage. By remaining strong and supporting our colleagues to develop and retain excellent legal practices, we will continue the path our predecessors set. The First 100 Years project commemorates that journey with all its accomplishments and hurdles. I am excited to help change the landscape started 100 Years ago and re-fashioned throughout the last century, for one that is more equal and inclusive – and more effective as a result.

Sarah Greer is the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law at the University of Worcester. She has taught Property Law for many years, co-authoring Land Law Directions (Oxford University Press, 5th Ed 2016). Her research interests lie in issues around cohabitation and trusts of the family home and she has published widely on this subject.

Most recently, she has been proud to be a part of the Women’s Legal Landmarks Project. Sarah is a barrister and a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Together with her colleague Chris Monaghan, in 2016 she set up a Women’s Legal History Project at the University of Worcester, in which undergraduate law students research early women lawyers and #helpful men, visiting archives to discover the hidden stories of the inspirational first women legal pioneers and the remarkable men who helped them. Some of their research has been included in the First Hundred Years Digital Museum, for example articles on Rosina Harris, Ann Goddard and Lord Robert Cecil . Students have also presented their research at public seminars and later this year the Women’s Legal History project team will be presenting at their first UK academic conference.

Stuart is a marketing and business development consultant with a law degree from Birkbeck College and an MBA from UCEM. He spent the first eighteen years of his career working with an international firm of construction disputes specialists and expert witnesses. He set up his own consultancy, Limeslade Consulting in 2017.

Why First 100 Years is important

Perhaps ironically, I first became aware of First 100 Years through a man. At a lunch my colleagues organised, Dana came to speak and explained the purpose of the First 100 Years project and surprised us all (me included) with the history of women in law. Many present were shocked by the statistics on equality in the legal professions. Despite the huge leaps that have been made in the past 100 years, we still have a lot to learn. I still see on an almost daily basis, examples of prejudice and discrimination – I’m also painfully aware that I’ve even been, (usually accidentally!) the perpetrator of them on occasion. The charity’s aim to educate and understand our history is crucial if we’re to learn from it and improve in the future.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-wilks-ls/

Twitter: @LimesladeC

Dean is Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Slaughter and May and works with the firm’s Head of Inclusion and Diversity and Inclusion partners to implement the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy. Prior to joining the firm, Dean was Equality and Diversity Manager at the Law Society supporting member law firms develop inclusive working environments. He also spent six years at Wales’ leading LGBT charity, Stonewall Cymru, where he managed Stonewall’s work with employers and schools throughout Wales which engaged with over a third of the Welsh workforce and education authorities.

Why First 100 Years is important

Role models are important to our sense of self. They show that difference is valued and that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. The First 100 Years project is a fantastic vehicle for sharing the stories of female role models who have contributed so much to the legal sector. For me, one of the reasons why this project is so important is that has the potential to inspire a young people who aspire to start a career in law and empower women already working in the sector to reach their full potential.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dean-lloyd-51437b46

Twitter: @deenlloyd

Katie is a postgraduate researcher in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, researching the opening of the legal profession to women in 1919. She is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the creator of the exhibition Celebrating the Centenary of Women Lawyers. Having been a longstanding champion of the First 100 Years project, she is now also a member of the team, co-writing the First 100 Years book to be released at the end of 2019.

David is a Partner and Insolvency Practitioner with KPMG LLP; where he heads the market leading Contentious Insolvency team. David leads a range of insolvency and high profile bankruptcy appointments. He also has extensive expertise in International fraud and asset tracing assignments.

Judith Bourne is an academic at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham and Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Culture. She founded and chairs the ‘First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire Symposia’. With a doctorate from King’s College, London, Judith formerly practised as a barrister. Her research focuses on Feminist Perspectives on Law, Land Law and Equity and Trusts Law. Judith is the co-author of a textbook on “Women and Law” and is shortly to publish books on “Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women” (Waterside Press) and “Gender and Law” (Routledge). Judith recently ran a student-led prison teaching module pilot and is an advocate for prisoner higher education.

Ania Rontaler is a Corporate partner in the London office of international law firm, Simmons & Simmons.

Ania trained and qualified as a solicitor at Simmons & Simmons, having joined in September 2003. She studied law and French at Exeter University, with one year spent studying French law in (the beautiful and very sunny!) Aix-en-Provence, France.

She advises clients on a variety of aspects of corporate law and has a strong focus on the asset management sector, advising alternative investment managers on all aspects of their business.

In 2015, Ania was listed as one of the 50 leading women in hedge funds by the global publication, The Hedge Fund Journal. Ania has spent time at the firm’s office in The Netherlands, and on secondment to a well-known US hedge fund manager, and is also the co-chair of the Simmons & Simmons women’s network, The Number One Club (TNOC). TNOC has both an internal and external focus – internally, TNOC looks to support women throughout the firm in their careers by putting on a variety of “Looking After Number One” events and externally, the network puts on various events focussed on its female client base.

Why First 100 Years is important

The First 100 Years project is a fantastic initiative which we (Penny Miller and Ania Rontaler, on behalf of Simmons & Simmons) are very excited and proud to be part of. It is a great opportunity to highlight the history of women in law for those in the legal profession and for the general public. The project will allow us to celebrate the achievements of many highly successful and leading women who have paved the way for so many other women in law over the last 100 years. Hopefully, they will be able to act as inspiration and role models for even more women as a result of this project.

2019 marks the 100 year anniversary of women being allowed to enter into the legal profession in the UK. Since becoming involved with this project, we have learned so much about the history of women in the law, much of which has been both surprising and inspirational. Having an understanding of the history in this area provides context for the way we work today and is important when trying to improve the future. Penny and I are the chairs of the Simmons & Simmons women’s network, The Number One Club and have a very keen interest in gender diversity issues and initiatives. Whilst so much has been achieved in terms of increasing gender diversity in law, there is still much work to be done and no one solution.

We are particularly excited about hosting the first annual First 100 Years conference at our offices. We see this as a great way of spreading the word about this fantastic, important project and bringing together interested people from across the legal industry – solicitors, barristers, academics, students etc. We are very much looking forward to 2 November!

Anne Davies is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Oxford and the Dean of the Law Faculty. She writes about public law, with a particular interest in government contracts and in the delivery of public services, and labour/employment law, where her interests are wide-ranging, encompassing international, European and domestic law. She is the author of five books and numerous articles in these fields. She is delighted to support First 100 Years as a way of learning about the history of women in the legal profession, celebrating our pioneering predecessors and paving the way for a more equal future.

Barry trained and qualified at Hogan Lovells and has held numerous roles at ITV. He is currently the Director of Legal Affairs and Third Party Sales with responsibility for two divisional legal teams covering all UK commercial, global pay TV distribution and online legal matters; he also overseas advertising content compliance and ITV’s third party sales representation business in the UK and ROI. He sits on the board of BCAP and Clearcast and is a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Education and Training Board Committee. He has a passion for diversity in the legal profession and to this end created the Legal Social Mobility Partnership which comprises over 30 law firm and in-house partners delivering work insight and skills training to over 100 state school 6th form students annually in London and the regions.

Why First 100 Years is important

The key to breaking down actual and perceived barriers in our profession is the celebration of role models to encourage individuals to follow in their footsteps; the First 100 Years project use of all forms of media enables all ages to access and take inspiration from pioneers in the world of law. I believe the aggregation of these stories in this form can only help our shared goal of making our profession a true meritocracy.

Kevin Crosby is a lecturer in law at Newcastle University. His main research interest lies in the history of jury trial. He is currently working on an archival project, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust and Newcastle University, exploring the uses and representations of female jurors in the assize courts of 1920s England and Wales.

Why First 100 Years is important

The First 100 Years Project offers a focal point for a variety of perspectives on the significance and the consequences of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. As we approach the legislation’s centenary, there are inevitably a number of projects underway (including my own) which are drawing on particular aspects of the end of the total bar on women acting as lawyers, magistrates, judges and jurors. The First 100 Years project helps tie these varied projects together, enriching our understanding of the reforms as a whole, both in terms of their relationships with one another (what connections might there be between varied regional rates of female jury service and of female magistrates in the years after 1919?) and in terms of their ongoing significance today (what can the earliest years of women’s entry into the legal professions tell us about their status in the professions today?).

Elizabeth Cruickshank is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, having obtained both her MA and M Litt at her “local” university. She taught English Literature at a Sixth Form College in Surrey for 10 years before qualifying as a solicitor and practicing Law in the City of London. Her current focus is on researching and writing about the lives and experiences of women solicitors, especially those few who qualified between 1922 and 1962.

She was the founding editor of “Link”, the magazine of the Association of Women Solicitors of which she was Chairwoman in 2004/5. Her involvement with that organisation led to her being given the Eva Crawley Award in 2005 for services to women solicitors.

She is the author of “Women in the Law” and “Sisters in Law”, both of which are based on interviews with outstanding women lawyers, the first dealing with English lawyers and the second, co-authored with Boma Ozobia celebrating women lawyers in Nigeria. “All You Need to Know About Being a Trainee Solicitor” co-authored with Professor Penny Cooper offers practical advice to young and aspirant lawyers. Currently she is engaged in researching and preparing material for the 100th Anniversary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 and writing a biography of Carrie Morrison, the first Englishwoman to qualify as a solicitor, although being a Scot herself, she usually points out that the first woman to qualify as a lawyer in the United Kingdom was a fellow Scot, Madge Easton Anderson.

Why First 100 Years is important

I believe that the exploration of the past enables a better understanding of the present and can help us to make better choices about our future. When I became a solicitor it was under the naïve impression that there had always been women lawyers, and it was not until 1997, when the AWS decided to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Carrie Morrison’s admission, that I realised just how brief a time women had had even a walk-on part on the legal stage. Even forty years after Carrie’s admission only about 400 women held Practising Certificates, but now more women than men qualify into the profession.

In 2019 we shall justifiably be celebrating the passing of The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which prohibited the professions from refusing women the right to be admitted to their ranks simply on grounds of their gender. This was the culmination of several attempts by women going back to the latter decades of the Nineteenth Century to become solicitors or barristers. They carried on through rejection by the Law Society, the Inns of Court and in 1914 by the Court of Appeal in the famous case of Bebb v The Law Society and through years of lobbying and argument until with the passing of the 1919 Act they were entitled to be called to the Bar and to be admitted as solicitors and members of the Law Society.

Rather than swamping the profession as many men had argued, women solicitors were initially so few that many practised for almost the whole of their careers without encountering another solicitor of their own sex. Despite this they were notable for the skill, knowledge and determination that they devoted to benefit the legal position of other women. They were to be found arguing for Divorce Law Reform, for the rights of women to retain and manage their own property, to have custody of their own children and even in 1943 to retain some at least of the savings they had made from judicious use of their housekeeping money (Blackwell v Blackwell).

The First 100 Years project is an opportunity to remember not only the 1919 Act itself but to celebrate the achievements of those many highly intelligent and tenacious women who have worked over the past one hundred years to improve the legal position and social status of those less advantaged than themselves. And who continue to do so.

Susan Belgrave was called to the Bar in 1989 at Inner Temple after an initial career in the Barbados foreign service. Her early years of practice were spent in Brussels at the European law firm Stanbrook and Hooper. She held a Masters in European Law from Universite Libre de Bruxelles. Susan moved to London in 1992 with her late husband and at first found it difficult to obtain a tenancy in chambers where she could practise European law. She worked initially in the area of housing and local government law and moved into employment as an area where European law is the cornerstone of much legislation and case law.

Susan was recognised as a leading practitioner in her field in Legal 500 and appeared in a number of high profile discrimination cases. As a mother of two, she was passionate about education. Her work in the field of discrimination gave her special insight into the role of women in the legal profession and the difficulties they face.

Susan sadly passed away in February 2020. She was a much loved Champion of the project and an inspiration to many women in law.

Why First 100 Years is important

This is an exciting and innovative project from which we can all draw inspiration. The struggles and successes of other women can only propel us to greater achievement. We should never forget that we are standing on the shoulders of many unsung heroines.

A pioneer of women’s studies and feminist legal studies in higher education in Britain, Rosemary (Australian by upbringing) is Professor of Law at the University of Reading, where she teaches Property Law and Gender and Law.  Before joining Reading she was Associate Director of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, a joint enterprise between the Universities of Westminster, Keele and Kent.  Prior to moving into law she wrote widely in the areas of women’s history and children’s literature, including three books: Australia’s Daughters (Sydney: Methuen, 1978), A World of Girls: the Appeal of the Girls’ School Story (London: The Women’s Press, 1992, 2nd ed. 2004) and A World of Women: growing up in the girls’ school story (London: The Women’s Press,1999, 2nd ed. 2008). She co-edited the 2-volume Encyclopaedia of School Stories(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), wrote several entries for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (2006) and, most recently, provided the programme note for a musical called Crush!,based loosely in the school-story tradition, which premiered in September 2015. As well as property law and legal education, her research interests include gender and sexuality – she recently completed a British Academy funded project on dissolution of civil partnerships – and feminist legal history and biography, about which she has written a number of articles on early women law students and women’s campaign to enter the legal professions, as well as several entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) including that of Miss Bebb, who challenged the Law Society’s refusal to admit women in 1913.

Rosemary is delighted to become a Champion of the First 100 Years project.  She is currently, with Erika Rackley and about 100 participants, engaged in a collaborative project called the Women’s Legal Landmarks Project, which aims to document landmarks in women’s legal history in book and website formats.  Like the First 100 Years Project, it was inspired by the centenary of women’s admission to the legal profession in 1919.  While the First 100 Years project aims to capture firsthand experiences, our focus is on recovering the past in a series of scholarly but accessible analyses.  We see the projects as complementary and are delighted to be working  with others keen to celebrate women’s achievements and struggles in the legal world.

Fiona Tucker is the Head of Legal Publishing at ARK Group, and is responsible for leading industry brands Solicitors Journal and Managing Partner. Her particular areas of interest are human rights, diversity, and access to justice, and she is also a Trustee for the South West London Law Centres. Outside of office hours, Fiona is a very keen baker and runner (the latter cancelling out the former… or so she tells herself!).

Why First 100 Years is important

I’m not a lawyer, but I am a woman. I am smart, capable, and ambitious and I have always wanted a career, and not just a job. Having always worked in publishing, which is a female-dominated industry, I have been exposed to many strong, successful, and inspiring women – though so many of them never seemed to break through that glass ceiling. In industries such as legal, the struggle for women seems so much harder, and that’s why it’s important to for me to lend a helping hand celebrate and support everything this project stands for.

Helen Dodds is the Global Head of Legal, Dispute Resolution, reporting to the Group General Counsel at Standard Chartered Bank. She set up the Bank’s Dispute Resolution Team in 2005 and it has hubs in London, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The team is responsible for managing the group’s significant disputes and investigations around the world.
Helen is also currently Co-Chair of Network For Knowledge and a former director of the London Court of International Arbitration.

Why First 100 Years is important

The first 100 Years Project is important because it underlines not how long women have been able to practice as lawyers, but for what a short time. It helps women lawyers (and others) to understand how recent their gains are, how precarious, and how much remains to be done. Women lawyers now need to defend, embed and extend their gains very robustly as we move forward into the 21st century.

Monica is Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s Senior Partner and chairs the firm’s Board. Monica is a Non Executive Director of Channel 4 Corporation, Chair of The Mentoring Foundation ( a not for profit Foundation which runs the FTSE cross company mentoring programme, helping senior women break through to the top) and was appointed a Recorder (Civil) in 2010. She was on the Board of charity Prime from 2012 to 2015. She was named by The Lawyer magazine as one of the “Hot 100 Lawyers” in 2007 and 2011 and was named in the 2014 Timewise part time power list.

Laura is Head of Marketing and Business Development at Withers Worldwide. She specialises in all aspects of communication and relationship development in a law firm context, and in the management of legal services provision. She leads a team of 16 people and has been shortlisted as Business Development Professional of the Year 2015 by Modern Law Magazine. She was part of the team establishing and growing a thriving Women’s Network at Withers and works alongside her colleagues there to provide a varied programme of talks and networking opportunities for everyone at the London office of the firm. She is particularly interested in the impact gendered language and assumptions have on the treatment and experience of both men and women in the workplace and beyond.

Why First 100 years is important

The project is vital as there is still so much to be done to achieve gender equality in the legal sector and more broadly, and what better way to do it – to really make people sit up and listen – than through story telling.

Harriet Sassoon is an Associate at US law firm Morrison & Foerster, specialising in anti-bribery and corruption litigation, and is a founding member of Fractio Vitri (breaking the glass ceiling), a young women’s network with a focus on gender equality in the workplace.

Erika Rackley is a Professor in the Law School of Birmingham University. She has undertaken pioneering research on judicial diversity, the nature of judging and gender equality in the legal profession. Her book, Women, Judging and the Judiciary: From Difference to Diversity, won the Society of Legal Scholars Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2013. She is involved in a number of collaborations with other scholars as a member of the executive committee of the Equal Justices Initiative, as co-organiser of the ground-breaking Feminist Judgments Project and, more recently, through her co-leadership with Rosemary Auchmuty of the Women’s Legal Landmarks project.

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff is a mental health and human rights solicitor, having spent most of her working life representing mentally disordered offendors detained in high secure hospitals. During this time she won a number of test cases in domestic courts and the ECtHR that protected and asserted the rights of this unpopular section of society. She acted in the first case under the Human Rights Act that resulted in a remedial order, as a result of which the discharge criteria to be applied by Mental Heath Tribunals was amended in favour of detained patients.

Lucy also founded, and still manages, the first virtual firm of solicitors in the world, in which all the lawyers are self-employed consultants working from home or their own offices. They have to work to the firm’s standards but free to set their own working hours and make their own arrangements, which has meant the firm is particularly attractive to people who want or need to work flexibly.

Lucy was President of the Law Society of England and Wales in 2012/13 and is currently Chair of it’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Why First 100 Years is important

Women have made great progress in the profession since I started in the 1970’s, such that now most new entrants to the solicitor’s profession are women. However we all know that equality has not yet been achieved, and this project, in allowing us to see where we have come from, and how we have got to where we are, may also show us how we can best achieve our objective of full equality.

Peter is the Chief Executive and Dean of BPP University Law School. He is a qualified barrister, specialising in Land Law, having practiced at the Chancery Bar across a spectrum of law including mortgages, wills, probate, intellectual property, company law, and landlord and tenant.

He gained the Institute of Directors’ Diploma in Company Direction in 2007.

Steve attended Birkbeck, University of London, and King’s College London. He is Head of Communications at General Council of the Bar Council, having previously worked as a PR Manager at ACCA, a global accountancy body, where he worked across a number of markets on a range of PR campaigns.

He has a Law degree and an MSc in Politics and government.

Laura Clenshaw has been the managing editor of 159-year-old legal trade press publication Solicitors Journal since autumn 2014, and has overseen the publication go through much change as it evolves in the 21st century. Also the editor of Young Lawyer, Laura has a specialist interest in legal education and training, and has followed the development of the ever-multiplying vocational routes into the profession with much vigour. Laura has strong ties with the junior end of the profession, and is a regular speaker at the Junior Lawyers Division ‘Helping you to secure a training contract’ forum.

In addition to a penchant for legal education, Laura is a strong advocate of access to justice and diversity across all professional industries.

Dr Mari Takayanagi is an archivist and historian with a 1st class honours degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford, an MA in Archives & Records Management from UCL, and a PhD in History from King’s College London.

Her PhD thesis ‘Parliament and Women c.1900-1945’ examined legislation affecting women’s lives and gender equality in the period following the First World War, the role of women in Parliamentary committees including the early women MPs, and female staff in Parliament. In particular she studied the Parliamentary passage to the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which amongst other things allowed women to become barristers, solicitors, magistrates and jurors for the first time.

She works full time as a Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives, where she has worked in various roles since 2000 including public services, outreach, preservation and access. She was previously an archivist at LSE Archives for three years. In 2008 she was project manager and curator for ‘A Changing House’, an exhibition and website marking 50 years of the Life Peerages Act 1958 which allowed women to sit in the House of Lords for the first time. She currently is joint project manager and co-curator of ‘Vote 100’, Parliament’s project to commemorate 100 years of the vote for some women and all men in 2018.

She is on Twitter as @satisfactory20 and occasionally blogs at Parliament and Women in the Early 20th Century.

Why First 100 Years is important

I find that people often have no idea how recently equality battles were won. I have talked to many audiences over the years about aspects of women’s history, and I have found that it is possible for everyone, from young schoolchildren to hardbitten journalists, to be amazed to find that we have had equal franchise for less than 90 years – nothing in the grand scheme of things – and that women could not sit in the House of Lords until 1958, a date within plenty of people’s living memories. Even in Parliament, an institution imbued with history, what should be ‘famous firsts’ can be lost to collective memory. My PhD research on women staff in Parliament re-discovered early pioneers, such as the first women Accountant in the House of Lords and the first woman Clerk in the House of Commons, who had been forgotten within a generation. We should not let this happen with the first women lawyers; we need to make sure that this story is out there for anyone to readily discover.

After some women got the vote in 1918, women’s organisations were able to move on to campaign on other issues, which had been outstanding for years or even decades. And now that MPs had female constituents for the first time, they were much more inclined to legislate on these subjects than previously. One of these long-standing issues was the entrance of women to the legal profession, and I think that the First 100 Years project is really important in telling both the legal profession and the general public how this happened. We have plans in Parliament to commemorate 100 years of the vote in 2018, and it’s really important that the story doesn’t stop there, but goes on to what happens next, because the vote was not an end in itself but a means to proceed to other battles. And this is why I think it’s incredibly important that we mark the centenary of women in the law in 2019, to get this particular battle into the public consciousness. It’s important in particular to help young women today appreciate what their predecessors had to go through, and therefore better understand the context in which they are working.

Sandie is Global General Counsel of HSBC Global Asset Management. Her previous roles have included Global General Counsel at Barings and Head of Legal for Corporate Services at Schroders.

Sandie is on the Management Board of P.R.I.M.E Finance which was set up to handle complex financial disputes and is based in The Hague. She is also a council member of the Human Rights organisation JUSTICE. In November 2014 Sandie was appointed as a Board Member and Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

In July 2014, Sandie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by City University in recognition of her career in business and law and her voluntary work in the community to help others achieve the same success. She is passionate about mentoring and promoting diversity and inclusion to the City.

Sandie is a recipient of the 2014 Chambers Europe Award for Excellence in the category for Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession.

Sandie is named in the 2015 Powerlist as the fourth most influential black person in Britain, pipping Lewis Hamilton at the post!

You can follow Sandie on Twitter @SANDIEOKORO.

Nancy Scott is a Senior Director and Associate General Counsel for Avaya, the leading global provider of solutions for customer and team engagement. Avaya provides technologies for unified communications and collaboration, contact center and customer experience management and networking, along with related services to large enterprises, midmarket companies, small businesses and government organisations around the world. Nancy has responsibility and oversight of the EU and Global Growth Markets Law and Contracting functions at Avaya, including managing a team of over 20 legal and contracting professionals.

Nancy grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada and received a Masters in Political Science (International Relations) at the University of Toronto, before studying law at the University of British Columbia. After qualifying as a barrister & solicitor in Canada, she hopped on a plane to Europe with the hope of an international legal career, where she eventually ended up in England, where she also qualified as an English solicitor.

Nancy joined Avaya over 14 years ago, initially as UK Corporate Counsel, and has since supported a wide and varied geographic and legal remit including supporting the Avaya Services business across EMEA and the Global channels business globally. She now supports a combined Avaya sales region of over 1 billion USD sales per annum and a geographic footprint spanning from the UK to China.

Penny is a partner in the Simmons & Simmons financial services regulation practice which forms part of our financial markets practice in London. She specialises in a wide range of UK and EU regulatory matters focussing on advising financial institutions on product regulation and the impact of current and future regulation on transactions relating to derivatives, structured finance and retail structured products. Penny also advises clients on the ongoing global regulatory reforms. Penny is involved in navigator – the Simmons & Simmons online regulatory subscription service which provides information in relation to over 90 jurisdictions – her key focus is on navigator: securities and navigator: derivatives.

Penny regularly presents to clients on key aspects of current regulatory change and is closely involved in trade association discussions and responses to EU and other regulatory bodies.

Her recent work includes advising financial institutions on regulatory reform and the implications of various European Directives (such as EMIR, the Prospectus Directive, MiFID), advising financial institutions on product regulation and, in particular, on the impact of RDR and the UK Product Governance regime on retail structured products and the changing landscape on OTC derivatives clearing, and advising financial institutions on the provision of financial services and offering of financial products across the world involving licensing, marketing and selling restrictions on a number of products

Penny regularly participates in a number of ISDA and ICMA committees on regulatory issues. Penny qualified as a solicitor in London at Simmons & Simmons in 1997, having been a trainee at Simmons & Simmons.

Penny co-chairs, alongside Ania Rontaler, the Simmons & Simmons’ women’s network – The Number One Club – which looks to develop relationships with the firm’s female clients as well as supporting women across the firm, committed to the development and retention of talented women in all business areas and levels of the firm. Penny recently authored a chapter on The Prospectus Directive Regime of debt, asset backed and derivative securities in “A Practitioner’s Guide to the Regulation of Investment Banking” published in The City Library. Penny was recently featured in the BIS “Inspirational Women in Business” Government survey.

You can find her on Twitter here.

Why First 100 Years is important

The First 100 Years project is a fantastic initiative which we (Penny Miller and Ania Rontaler, on behalf of Simmons & Simmons) are very excited and proud to be part of. It is a great opportunity to highlight the history of women in law for those in the legal profession and for the general public. The project will allow us to celebrate the achievements of many highly successful and leading women who have paved the way for so many other women in law over the last 100 years. Hopefully, they will be able to act as inspiration and role models for even more women as a result of this project.

2019 marks the 100 year anniversary of women being allowed to enter into the legal profession in the UK. Since becoming involved with this project, we have learned so much about the history of women in the law, much of which has been both surprising and inspirational. Having an understanding of the history in this area provides context for the way we work today and is important when trying to improve the future. Penny and I are the chairs of the Simmons & Simmons women’s network, The Number One Club and have a very keen interest in gender diversity issues and initiatives. Whilst so much has been achieved in terms of increasing gender diversity in law, there is still much work to be done and no one solution.

We are particularly excited about hosting the first annual First 100 Years conference at our offices. We see this as a great way of spreading the word about this fantastic, important project and bringing together interested people from across the legal industry – solicitors, barristers, academics, students etc. We are very much looking forward to 2 November!

Harini Iyengar was called to the Bar in 1999. She specialises in the law of Employment, Discrimination and Equality, Education, Partnership, and Procurement. She combines intelligent advocacy, incisive legal argument and astute litigation strategy with sensitive treatment of witnesses and clients. Her oral and written advice is clear, down-to-earth and commercially sensible. Clients describe her advice in conference as “helpful, persuasive and slick”, are impressed by her “meticulous preparation” for trial, and have appreciated that she “cross examined like a venus flytrap” and recommend her for “her supreme intellect and accessibility”.

Harini recently represented the consultant cardiologist, Dr Kevin Beatt, in his successful NHS whistleblowing claim, and Ms Latifa Bouabdillah in her successful victimisation claim against Commerzbank.

She is an external trustee of Oxford University Student Union, sits on the steering committee of the Temple Women’s Forum, and is a trained interviewer for Inner Temple oral history project. Harini is regularly asked to provide expert legal comment to the media including, most recently, Sky News, LBC radio, and for the Independent newspaper, read here. She also maintains a popular Twitter profile.

Why First 100 Years is important

I am delighted to be a Professional Champion. As a discrimination specialist, I sometimes find it demoralising continually to see the evidence of how far we still are from achieving equality for women in the legal profession and judiciary, so the First 100 Years project is a refreshing change, an opportunity happily to celebrate the impressive – but often underrated and unrecorded – achievements of the women who came before us. On a personal level, I relate to and am inspired by Carrie Morrison (the first woman to qualify as a solicitor) and Edith Hesling (the first woman called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn) who both attended my school in Manchester and were strong women who had to create their own opportunities for themselves.

Funke is a black, female, single mother and the solicitor leading the UK & Ireland legal team of Roche, the world’s largest biotech company. She is currently the most senior black lawyer working in the UK pharmaceutical industry. Her legal expertise has been recognised through multiple awards and other recognitions including being the only female finalist for Most innovative European in-house lawyer (2014 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards).

She has overcome significant obstacles in progressing her career due to the narrow view of black women in UK society, especially single mothers. She is determined to improve the lot of those following her and recently won Career Woman of the Year at the 2015 Women4Africa awards. Persistent and tenacious, when entering the legal profession 15 years ago, she was advised to be less ambitious as corporate law was “too competitive for a black woman”. Instead, she cold-called the corporate department heads at the top 100 UK law firms and the heads of the top UK in-house legal departments with a “sales pitch” about herself confirming what she could offer as a trainee, resulting in several interviews and entry-level job offers. Importantly, she is a recognised diversity champion within the UK legal industry. She is an active member of the Black Solicitors’ Network and Women Lawyer’s Division of the Law Society and has been an Association of Women Solicitors member since 2000.

Relentless in her pursuit of diversity within the legal profession, Funke has made it her mission to promote diversity to the best of her ability across all fronts including gender. She is personally supporting a report on social mobility issues within the legal profession, due to be launched later this year, a follow up to Alan Milburn’s 2012 “Access to the professions” report commissioned by the government. She also recently established the Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law network, the only international network dedicated to developing future female leaders working as lawyers within the life sciences industry. She mentors and sponsors under-represented groups into roles in various organisations and is a strong role model showing that it is possible to achieve against the odds. She featured in the Diversity League Table Publication (DLT) (with Chukka Umunna, MP for Streatham and Shadow business secretary), a reflection of the work she has done to promote diversity within the legal profession over several years. As key note speaker at the DLT launch, she called for quotas and the need for flexible working which contributed towards many leading law firms setting diversity targets and establishing flexible working committees to enable retention of legal talent.

Funke is a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors (an organisation that supports/ promotes diversity within the legal profession) and has been nominated for several diversity awards (2014 National Diversity Award nominee; Finalist for 2014 European Diversity Awards and Diversity Legal Awards (diversity champion of the year award category); finalist for 2015 Tesco mum of the year award). She judged the “Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion” award category at the 2014 Law Society Excellence Awards and will be judging the inaugural 2015 We are the City “Rising Star” awards. She is regularly invited to comment and speak on diversity issues within the legal profession and in the media generally. She is also a diversity commentator for the BBC.

Funke participated as a member of the Legal sector focus group for Project 28-40, launched by Opportunity Now in November 2013 and the largest ever UK survey of women at work (http://opportunitynow.bitc.org.uk/). She believes strongly in the importance of education and its impact on diversity and is a past governor of both Uxbridge College and Sandridge School. She regularly provides inspirational talks to state school students as part of Speakers4Schools.

A former director of City Growth Luton (government-funded economic regeneration project in the Luton area), she also supports several charities, including Cancer Research UK and is a Friend of that charity. All her diversity work is provided on a voluntary basis on top of a demanding, full time job and being a single parent. She believes strongly in giving back to the community to make a positive impact and improve the lot of others less able to help themselves.

Anecdotes – First 100 Years Project Race

I found it extremely difficult to secure an entry-level position when I finished the QLTT (now QLTS) transfer test and needed to gain experience before qualification. To get my foot in the door, I drew up a list of the top 100 law firms specialising in corporate law and did the same with the top 50 in-house teams. I then proceeded to cold-call the heads of department at all 150 organisations. This lead to several interviews, including one with a major, fully listed PLC. At that interview, the head of legal (who is English but whose partner is of Asian descent) asked me if I thought my race had been a factor in me not getting interviews with other organisations. That was, honestly, the first time I had even considered race as being something that could inhibit my progress. Thankfully, I was offered a role by her and was able to qualify as a solicitor in-house. Soon after qualifying in 2000, I vividly remember waiting in reception for an interview at a top 30 City law firm for a corporate solicitor role. I reported into reception, telling the receptionist the name of the corporate partner who was interviewing me for the vacant role. The receptionist remarked, “How odd. I didn’t realise that he was looking for another secretary!” I calmly told her that I had no idea about his secretarial situation either but was there for the solicitor role. She was visibly embarrassed when I said this and did apologise but this is a good example of the barriers posed by unconscious cultural bias.


Fast forward to October last year (2014) when I was challenging a male, senior equity partner at a top 30 City law firm on why they only had one female non-exec on their senior leadership team. His response was that none of the female partners at the firm were good enough to lead, this despite the fact that there are a number of female partners at that firm who are recognised leaders in their field. It is incredible that these views still exist in this day and age but, sadly they do. Further on gender, I was in negotiations with a firm for a corporate solicitor role about 10 years ago and mentioned the fact that I was a mother. Soon after that conversation, negotiations cooled significantly and, eventually, the offer was withdrawn. When I asked the firm why things had changed, the reason I was given was that the firm was “looking for slightly different experience”. I am convinced that the reason was because I revealed that I am a mother but was unable to prove this at the time.

You can follow her on Twitter here

Leonora studied photography at The Bournemouth Arts Institute and Kingston University, and is based in London. Specialising in portraiture, Leonora’s work has featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and The Evening Standard as well as The Royal Photographic Society Magazine and other photographic journals.

For the past few years Leonora’s work has been focused on exploring issues surrounding gender equality. “10%… and rising” is a book project of portraits and interviews with women working in male dominated professions, specifically where women make up less than 10% of the workforce. This body of work aims to celebrate these women, explore their experiences of being in the minority and challenge our idea on gender and ability, presenting memorable and inspiring portraits of these often hidden role models in our society.

Recently commissioned projects around the subject of gender and diversity include ‘The Athena Project’ in collaboration with CMS Cameron McKenna – an ongoing project celebrating women in the legal and financial sectors; ‘Against the Odds’ – currently in production for exhibition in Autumn 2015, comprising portraits and filmed interviews of female alumni for Birkbeck, University of London and ‘Prospect Pioneers’ – a body of work celebrating women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based roles for Prospect Union.

Her work has been exhibited around the country and in London with ‘The Athena Project’ being nominated for ‘Best Diversity Project‘ at the 2014 Lawyer Management Awards and Prospect Pioneers highly commended at the TUC Media Awards, 2014.

Leonora also has a residency at Harris Academy, Bermondsey, working with teenage girls looking at women in photography and female representation in imagery. She was a judge and guest panel speaker at the Opportunity Now Awards 2015 and is also a regular contributor to discussions looking at gender equality and the role of the image, including presentations at the TUC Congress, the TUC, Birkbeck, University of London and the Judicial Images project.

You can discover more about Leonora’s work on her website.

Why First 100 Years is important

Looking back at the first hundred years there is much to celebrate, so many inspirational women who have forged ahead, challenging conventions and paving the way for others to follow. It is projects like First 100 Years that establish fascinating archives and also provide a platform for debate and celebration of role models, both past and present.

Sophie is an Associate at Mishcon de Reya, specialising in employment law. She began her legal career at magic circle firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she say on the Committee which established the Freshfields Associate Women’s Group.

Acting for both companies and individuals in all areas of employment law, with a particular focus on high value complex litigation in the Employment Tribunal and High Court, she has a large and varied client base across sectors including financial services, technology, fashion, legal and charities.

Sophie is a co-founder of Women in Law London (WILL), an active network with over 1,600 members from 350 different law firms and companies across London. WILL aims promote and engage the next generation of women leaders in law. It does so in a variety of ways, including providing members with networking opportunities and talks/ workshops and through engaging with law firm management on issues facing women in the profession. WILL has gained support from high profile speakers such as the Lord Mayor of London and Shami Chakrabati. It has also secured a research partnership with Kings College London, through which it was able to conduct a large survey of its members who reported their experiences of the profession and their career aspirations. In connection with her work with Mishcon de Reya and with WILL, Sophie has spoken at diversity conferences and events including University of Cambridge and City Law School.

Why First 100 Years is important

The power of the role model cannot be overstated. For me, there are few stories as inspiring as that of Maud Crofts. In refusing to accept the University of Cambridge’s decision not to award her well-deserved First Class law degree (because how could a woman hold a degree?) and in refusing to accept the Law Society’s decision to refuse her entry to the Law Society (because how could a woman call herself a solicitor?), she and her female contemporaries whipped up the storm which changed the legal landscape forever. These stories must be celebrated, as must those of countless other successful women who have followed in Maud’s footsteps and practices law over the last 100 years. The First 100 Years Project will be a powerful and creative expression of all that the profession has achieved, and a reminder of the fact that we can (and should) achieve so much more.

Fatema is a private equity partner at Sidley Austin LLP. She was previously a partner at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, having trained and qualified at Lovells LLP (now Hogan Lovells International LLP). She has experience on all areas of corporate law, in particular the structuring of private equity deals and leveraged buyouts, strategic mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures, equity growth investments, equity and debt restructurings, and management equity plans, as well as related advisory work.

Fatema is a co-founder of Women in Law London (WILL), an active network with over 1,600 members from 350 different law firms and companies across London. WILL aims to promote and engage the next generation of women leaders in law. It does so in a variety of ways, including providing members with networking opportunities and talks/ workshops and through engaging with law firm management on issues facing women in the profession. WILL has gained support from high profile speakers such as the Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf and Shami Chakrabati. It has also secured a research partnership with Kings College London, through which it was able to conduct a large survey of its members who reported their experiences of the profession and their career aspirations.

In connection with her work with Kirkland & Ellis and with WILL, Fatema has spoken at diversity conferences and events including Oxford University and LSE. In addition, Fatema is an avid member of various other women’s networks, such as Oxford Women in Law (OWL) and 85 Broads (having co-founded the Oxford chapter).

Why First 100 Years is important

The fact that 100 years’ ago there were no women formally involved in law or the legal system is astonishing, yet also inspiring. In 2005, I sat my law examinations at Oxford University, mind racing with academic commentary as opposed to whether or not I would be entitled to be awarded my degree. This is far removed from the story of Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to read law at Oxford University (and likely sitting in the same exam hall in 1892) who had to wait 30 years to receive the recognition she deserved. Brave pioneers such as Cornelia started a wave with their impressive journeys. The First 100 Years Project will serve as a powerful reminder that, in a relatively short time period of time, there has been real progress and we can each play a part to ensure that the wave continues to amplify.

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