Hill Dickinson marks Women in Law centenary with Liverpool event
Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was passed a century ago and upheld the equal right of women to study and practise law alongside their male counterparts
Law firm Hill Dickinson brought more than 200 employees together in Liverpool to celebrate the 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was passed, allowing women to work as lawyers.
The act was transformational, formally recognising, for the first time, the equal right of women to study and practise law alongside their male counterparts. One of the first 10 women to qualify as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1923 was Edith Berthen, who joined Hill Dickinson in 1927 and acted as a pioneer for women in the profession.
The legacy of Edith and other early pioneers such as her is evident today. Between 1922 and 1930, only 101 women qualified as lawyers. By comparison, latest statistics for 2017-18, show there were 6,478 solicitors admitted to the roll, of which 61.6% were women.
To mark this historic milestone and as part of a year-long programme of activity nationally, Hill Dickinson hosted a celebration at the end of September for all of its North West-based employees.
More than 200 employees from across the firm’s three North West offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, attended the event at One Fine Day, just yards from the firm’s Liverpool HQ, where chief executive Peter Jackson made the welcoming speech.
He said it was right and important for the firm to acknowledge the immense contribution that women had made to the legal profession since 1919 and continue to do so today. He said: ‘We at Hill Dickinson work hard to ensure we promote women at partner level and in senior leadership roles.
“We recognise that while women are now entering the law in equal or greater numbers than men, there are often additional barriers to them staying in the profession, so we have adopted, and actively promote, a wide range of polices and workplace practices that aim to take account of the need, for example, to work more flexibly.
“As a firm, we strive to be, and continually work towards being, a first choice employer whose people at all levels are proud to work for us.
“We are also committed to the aim of doubling the number of senior women we employ by 2024, whether as partners or in any of the multiple senior management roles across our firm that that keep the wheels going round.”