SUNDAY 8th March 2020 is a very special day for women. It is a day of recognition. A day of celebrating success. A day of campaigning and the continuing battle for equality.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It began way back in 1911 when it was supported by over one million people. Today it is a world-wide event. Coincidentally, we have recently celebrated 100 years of women in law – December 23 last year marked the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (removal) Act which allowed women to qualify as a solicitor or barrister.
But do women get a fair and equal deal in today’s legal workplace after all that campaigning all those years ago? Yes, and perhaps in some cases no. The profession has made great progress to achieve equality for women. Nationally, women have made up over half of the practising solicitors since 2018 – but the profession continues to be led predominantly by men.
There are also still challenges for women with unconscious bias and conflict of work/life balance for some statistics show that women now represent 50.8 per cent of practising solicitors and 62 per cent of new entrants – but only 30 per cent are partners in private practice.
Wollens prides itself on being equal to all and recruiting and promoting are based on ability and merit. It has nothing to do with gender. It is seen as a great place for women to work, with flexible working practices available, women -led networking opportunities and good career progression.
Half of the partners – 10 out of 20 – are women. Wollens has six team leaders – three of whom are women.
Katrina Vollentine is the head of the firm’s Private Client department, which consists of a team of lawyers across Wollens’ five offices in Devon. She mainly assists people who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs and she is a specialist in matters relating to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Her work includes powers of attorney, advising and assisting clients in relation to health care and welfare issues both in a care home and in their own home.
Judith Manser is the Head of the Property Team for Wollens and deals with residential property transactions involving sales and purchases of freehold and leasehold titles, re-mortgages and the transfers of equity.
And Rebecca Procter is the Head of the Family Team at Wollens, She has been practicing Family Law since qualification in 1996. She specialises in separation/matrimonial finance work. Rebecca also trained as a Family Mediator and now carries out mediation work for Devon Family Solutions Ltd based in Exeter. She is also a trained Collaborative Lawyer.
The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. An ‘equal world is an enabled world’ is the tag where the aim is to help create a gender equal world.
Wollens believe in that ethos.