Women in Law: Look How Far We’ve Come

It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago, careers in the law weren’t available to women. In fact, they weren’t even allowed to study the profession.

As a female lawyer myself and having been the first female trainee solicitor at MSB, I cannot imagine a world in which women are not involved in the legal profession. Since the start of my career, I have been passionate about ensuring MSB provides equal opportunities. It’s important not just for our staff, but for our clients.

A whole century later, we have thankfully seen women slowly but surely making their mark in the legal industry. But there is more to be done.

A recent study from the Law Society showed only 48% of women believe there has been progress on gender equality in the last five years, compared to, ironically, 74% of men. This may not come as a surprise to many of us, but that doesn’t mean that it should be the norm. Across all industries, we need to do more to make sure that statistics like this are the rarity, rather than something we expect to see.

Analysis of a recent report by the Solicitors Regulation Authority shows the prospects of becoming a partner in a law firm are still higher for white males than any other group, while minority groups women are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to progressing as solicitors. This has to change.

I’m incredibly proud that at MSB, women represent 50 per cent of our firm’s board, bucking the national average of 33%. From a personal perspective, in my 19 years working for MSB, having started as a trainee solicitor in 2000, becoming partner and head of MSB’s family department in 2005, and most recently taking on the role of managing partner in 2018, I know that I have a responsibility to create a working environment in which everyone can achieve their full potential.

This is something that I am passionate about upholding in my position leading the firm. If we are to address the shocking statistics that still exist when it comes to diversity, we must accept that measures need to be put in place to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities, equally.

Diversity, inclusion and equality are a top priority for us, and we recognise the positive impact that having a diverse team has. That’s why we have introduced a number of initiatives such as flexible working and an Equality and Diversity Committee, to ensure that our firm offers equal opportunities for everyone, no matter their gender, race or sexual orientation. I am passionate about making MSB a business which encourages people to bring their authentic selves to work every day, enabling us to provide outstanding support for our clients.

Here’s to another 100 years and more of women in law.