Women solicitors – a recent phenomenon

3rd February 2014

Women solicitors – a recent phenomenon

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January 2014 brings the news that women are set to outnumber men as solicitors for the first time.

It is incredible to think that only a hundred years ago women were prevented from qualifying as solicitors because they were categorised as having a “disability” – they were women and could not practise.

In January 1914, four women brought proceedings against The Law Society seeking a court order that they be allowed to take the professional exams to qualify as solicitors.

The court said its hands were tied unless the government changed the law. Until then, although the court acknowledged the ability of women, they were not included in the categories of “persons” who could practise law.  It took a World War to change attitudes and in 1919 the law was changed. It wasn’t until 1970 when the Equal Pay Act and 1975 when the Sex Discrimination Act, came into force that the concept of sex discrimination was formally recognised.

Gotelee has always prided itself on being ahead of the times and recruiting staff based on merit, and over half of our Lawyers are women.  See our full list of female lawyers on our Lawyers A-Z page.

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