Too many firms appear to have a glass ceiling for women in the law. We need to continue highlighting and discussing this disparity to try to find out why, and to figure out how to make changes.
Yesterday, Fieldfisher and 12KBW jointly hosted an International Women's Day breakfast panel discussion - Women in Personal Injury Law: What is the future?
Hosted by Eman Hassan and barrister Aliyah Akram, the panel consisted of three women: Jill Greenfield, Fieldfisher's Head of Serious Injury, Rehana Azib, a QC at 2 Temple Gardens Chambers, and Nina Ross from 12KBW. They discussed the following:
1. Sponsorship: The importance of sponsorship rather mentorship. Where the pace of change is slow, offering advice is not enough. To effect change, senior lawyers need to take active roles in promoting junior women. A good sponsor should provide support and guidance but also look to train and create opportunities.
2. 'Fake it till you make it': Although a sense of imposter syndrome is common, it was agreed that there is value in projecting confidence and a sense of belonging.
3. Build and grow networks: Surround yourself with supportive people. Create a safe space between yourself and others in the firm or across the legal profession. Connections help you learn from others around you and build your practice.
4. Learn, learn, learn: Ask questions, find out about good or bad experiences from your seniors/peers/juniors, embrace every new challenge and experience and focus on the skills you wish to develop.
5. Drive the discussion: Continue driving the discussion, make noise and encourage others around you to do the same.
6. Be creative: There could be a role for quotas or fast track promotions. Perhaps your firm needs contextual recruitment.
Women have been practising as lawyers for more than 100 years. We need to 'Break the Bias' and show that women can be leaders in the legal profession too.
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