Female lawyers to get their own football league

Footballing female lawyers could soon join their male counterparts with their own legal football league.

Until now male lawyers, barristers and clerks have enjoyed a league of their own, with the 23-strong London Legal League (LLL), set up in 1966.

But now its founder, retired legacy Baileys Shaw & Gillett partner John Wilson, thinks it is time for the growing number of female legal teams in the city to get their own group.

Wilson is setting up a league for women, which he wants to be affiliated to the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA) like the LLL, and is currently scouting out venues for future matches.

He said there was no shortage of demand for female partners wanting to square off against each other on the pitch and that growing female representation in law firms should be matched on the pitch.

“I think it’s important for women to be give the opportunity to represent their firms,” he said. “I’ve made many friends in the legal profession over the years through football, some of whom are substantial partners in their firm.

“I used to kick lumps out of them on the pitch and we’re still pals, that’s what it’s all about. We have currently six or seven firms who are definitely interested in joining. They’d only be playing five or seven a side which means that you don’t have to have that many players available for the matches,” Wilson added.

CMS, Hogan Lovells, Taylor Wessing, Bird & Bird and Clyde & Co all have female five-a-side teams who do not have a legal league to play in so have joined others elsewhere.

CMS partner James Thomas is also helping organise the league along with associate and CMS women’s team captain Hayley Stevenson. He said: “There are probably more female lawyers now than male lawyers, or at least as many, so the fact that we have a really succesful men’s legal league running which has been going since the mid 60s, but don’t have anything for ladies, is disappointing.”

The firm organises a football ‘World Cup’ every year in a different European city and has roughly the same number of men’s and women’s teams and matches.

“We send two ladies’ teams from the London office, [CMS] Hasche Sigle send a ladies’ team from each of their offices across Germany, and the Bristol office sends one too as well as a men’s team,” Thomas said.

This year the tournament will be held in Belgrade in May.

Wilson, James, Stevenson and AFA country welfare officer Jackie Newing are now in the process of tracking down interested women’s teams and aiming to find new ones to join the league.