Then and Now

Published 25th January 2019

I studied Law accidentally, after going to University to read English, I was so determined not to be a teacher like my mother that I chose law instead. I was admitted in 1984 after retaking my law finals. There were no lawyers in my family, I got my articles after being asked 3 memorable questions at my interview. “Do you wear shoes?” (The Senior Partner didn’t – he had bad feet) “Do you object to blood sports?” (The sporting prints were a bit of a give-away) “Do you drink?” (50:50 call – answer “only to excess”). within a month I was the litigation department -my principal was wildfowling in Scotland. I had the most fantastic articles – I was taught well if a little eccentrically. My advocacy training was as many unfunded Employment tribunals I wanted to take on. Always followed by the question “did you win?”
There were 3 female solicitors in Blackburn when I was an articled clerk. The police refused to let me walk through the male cell block as the duty solicitors rep, Looking back it was amusing – at the time it was irritating. I moved into local government in the late 80’s because they had maternity leave and in private practice you mostly got sacked when you even mentioned starting a family.
Local Government has been tremendous fun and I have been privileged to work with some exceptional people both politicians and officers. I would pass on this wise advice – if you love the Law, rather like Sausages, never watch it being made!
These days of the 12 City Solicitors Borough Solicitors General Counsel in Greater Manchester I am delighted to be one of the 9 who are women.

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