Like-minded women see birth of own network

A NEW association promoting the interests of young women across the legal profession has been launched following strong interest in its formation.

Inaugural meetings of Young Women Lawyers (YWL) will be held in Leeds and London next month, and group organisers – Rowley Ashworth solicitor Sam James and barrister Suzanne McKie – are looking for regional organisers in the Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield areas.

James says the group, which will have its base in London, will aim to establish a network of “like-minded professional women” including solicitors, barristers, trainees, pupils and legal executives.

James and McKie say the group, established after the pair received almost 200 enquiries from around the country, will hopefully fight against the “old boys' network” they believe is currently operating in the legal profession.

“It is 75 years since women came into the profession and we don't appear to have gotten that far,” says James.

“Although a lot of women have started to come through the lower ranks, there's still not enough representation in the upper levels.

“These days discrimination against women is more inherent than overt, and we need to educate male lawyers against this.

“We want to try to build up women's networking skills and let them know that there are others out there in the same position as them,” she says.