Widening the Pool
The 1990’s saw the end of the economic boom and in the recession that followed career prospects in the legal sector became more uncertain for solicitors, both at the junior and senior end. Throughout the decade women began to play a greater role in public life.
In 1994 the Church of England took the landmark decision to ordain women priests and in Parliament 101 Labour women MPs were elected in a landslide Labour victory in 1997. It was a decade which saw women and BAME legal organisations pushing for reform within the legal profession for promotion at the Bar and the judiciary. At the start of this decade 23% of solicitors holding practicing certificates were women, and 17.5% are practicing barrister. Women were continuing to make progress but slowly, and women and BAME lawyers were overrepresented in small high street practices and legal aid. Whereas white men from higher socio-economic backgrounds were over-represented in the highest paid jobs in large city firms, at the Bar and judiciary. A profile which still persists in large part today.
Millicent Grant is the 2017/18 past President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – CILEx and 2017 Black Solicitor’s Network Lawyer of the Year. She has worked in the private, corporate in-house and public sector, and is currently now working as a consultant.
Rachel Spearing is a barrister at Sergeants’ Inn who’s civil and criminal practice has a particular emphasis on business crime, financial and regulatory and disciplinary law. She is a Fellow at Bond University in Australia and The Singapore Academy of Law. She is also the founder of the Bar Wellness Initiative, which aims to address and support the challenges facing the legal profession.
Baljit Ubhey is Director of Prosecution Policy and Inclusion of the CPS and leads a policy team within the CPS operations directorate whilst leading on equality and inclusion across the service.