The list published was unranked and so the list below shows the law firms in alphabetical order.
I was really excited to see that big commercial law firms including the one I will be training at are up there being recognised as the top 50 employers for women of 2019!
Initiatives are increasing that aim to create a more diverse workforce for both women and people from all different backgrounds, and this also comes year has been an especially important one for women – it marked the anniversary of the first 100 years of women in law! And now, we are here to focus on the next 100 years.
Some of my favourite milestones for women in law have been:
1878 First Female Law Graduate in England
marked the first year that the first woman, Janet Wood, was allowed to graduate with a law degree from Cambridge (albeit she was only allowed to take a Special Exam in Law, not the same exams and qualifications as the men.
1892 First Woman to Study Postgrad Law at Oxford – and she was Indian!
Cornelia Sorajbi, from Bombay, became the first Indian national to study law at postgraduate level at the University of Oxford in 1892.
1940 First County Court and later High Court Judge
Dame Elizabeth Lane was the first female judge in both the County Court and High Court, appointed in 1940 and 1965 respectively.
1981 First Female Partner at CMS
Dame Catherine Fiona Woolf became the first female partner at CMS
1984 First Woman to be appointed to the Law Commission
Lady Hale was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission
1991 First Black Woman Becomes QC
Baroness Scotland of Asthal was the first black woman to make QC!
Even more recently…
2010 saw the first female Muslim MPs elected, Shabana Mahmood elected for Birmingham Ladywood and Yasmin Qureshi for Bolton South East.
And in 2014 there were officially more women than men practising as solicitors in the UK!
You can find out more about the first 100 years and about all the people I have mentioned and more at First 100 Years Digital Museum online.
Whilst there is still much to be done to tackle the misconceptions, prejudices and gaps between men and women in industries across the world, the last 100 years of women in law is something to celebrate and be proud of. All these women fought for their rights to practise law so that we could all have the opportunities in law that we have today, and for that reason I am hugely proud of women both then and today, and the potential that we have to pave the way for future women in the world.
Other blog posts you might be interested in: