Financial & Legal News

Women are Empowered in 100 year Anniversary

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2019 is a landmark year for female lawyers as it’s 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed and what better time to recognise this than this Friday International Women’s Day (March 8th)

This paved the way for women to practise law and inspirational women seized the opportunity to qualify and practice as solicitors and barristers.

At Pearson over half our solicitors are female and Managing Partner, Joanne Ormston, became our first female Partner almost 5 years ago in her early 30’s, so we’re well on the way to achieving the goals and aspirations of those early female lawyers and recognising their achievements on International Women’s Day.

While it obvious huge progress has been made - women represent about 63 per cent of newly qualified and nearly 50 per cent of all solicitors, there is no room for complacency.

It seems difficult to believe but there was actually a ruling which prevented women from qualifying as solicitors, the 1914 Court of Appeal case Bebb v Law Society found that the entire sex of  women failed to fall within the definition of ‘persons’.

Oldham woman, Ada Summers, became the first female magistrate in 1919.  She was sworn in as the first female Justice of the Peace on 31st December 1919, one week after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act.  She was also the first female councillor and mayor of Stalybridge.

So what do our own women solicitors have to say about the profession:

Pamela Walsh, Family/Childcare solicitor: “I knew I wanted to be a Solicitor since I was 12 years old as I always liked to see both sides of an argument.  The job is varied, with no two days the same. I am organised and hardworking which helps in any job but as a Family Law Solicitor,  I get to use my love of reading, writing, evaluating and meeting people to good use every single day as part of a dedicated and hardworking [all female] family department team."

Victoria Marshall, Conveyancing Solicitor:  “As an Oldham girl and the first generation of my family to attend University I am proud to represent women in Oldham. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given by women who fought for what was right. We are more than capable and it is evident from the colleagues who surround me that women play a crucial part in today’s society on a path they decide to follow, whether it be at home or work, the choice is theirs to make.”

Joanne Jones, Private Client Solicitor: “I’ve always been fortunate that my family encouraged me to pursue my goal - I’ve wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember - I’m in control of my career and I have made choices that best suit me and my objectives. I genuinely feel there are no barriers at Pearson and as a female lawyer finding a firm that fits is important.”


Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Joanne Ormston


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