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International Women’s Day Series: Part 2

We caught up with inspiring female members of our workforce to find out what International Women’s Day means to them as legal professionals.


Kate Williams: Housing Disrepair Fee Earner


What is your current role and how did you get to where you are now?

My legal pathway began in 2014, whilst I was on maternity leave from my two part time jobs. I decided to enrol on a course to study an Cilex Legal Secretarial Diploma.

My tutor encouraged me to apply for university – at first, I was hesitant as I was 31 years old and a mother to two children. I worked so hard for my degree, although it never came without struggle, studying, working, and juggling family life. Now, I love my role and the area I practice in and enjoy being a part of a very successful firm.

How do you think Bond Turner is supporting women in law?

I was often misadvised that the legal industry is very male dominated. Obviously, I have realised that this is a very outdated view. I believe it’s a great balance at Bond Turner. The men on my team all treat me with the same respect and courtesy as they do each other.

What advice would you give to young women looking to pursue a career in law?

Never pass up on an opportunity to network. It is critical for your development and success and most importantly will allow you to make contacts with experienced lawyers and barristers, who will be in a position to offer advice, support and possibly career opportunities.

Also seek out every opportunity to gain experience, even if this means giving up your summer to shadow a barrister in Chambers or make late-night calls to attend a police station to shadow a duty solicitor. Even if you don’t end up practising in these areas of law, gaining this experience will equip you with a wide skillset.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a day to reflect on the positive changes that have happened over the years, although in many societies, there is still a very long way to go.

I have a sense of gratefulness that laws have dramatically changed over the years (specifically in the UK), and I am now able to benefit from those advances. I hope that by the time my seven-year-old daughter is a grown woman, equality for women will have developed further. It is staggering that women were once not allowed to vote in the UK until 1918. The following milestones show the developments of sexist legislation being abolished in the UK in the last century.

  • Before 1922- women were forced to give up all rights to property when they got married, putting their legal status on equal ranking to criminals and mentally insane people.
  • Before 1923, Women were not allowed to petition for a divorce if their husband was unfaithful, only men were allowed to petition for divorce if their wife was unfaithful.
  • Women were refused mortgages right up until 1970, before then, a woman was only able to secure a mortgage with the signature of a male guarantor.
  • Women were unable to apply for credit cards and loans up until 1980
  • Bars could refuse to serve a woman on the basis of their gender alone until 1982
  • Violence against women was not officially recognised as a violation of their human rights until 1993

Who are the women that inspire you?  

Lady Hale – the first female president of the UK supreme Court – she attended my graduation ceremony in June 2019. She received an Honours that day and shared her story. She is a true inspiration to any woman in general not just in the legal Industry.


Gemma Bradley:  Housing Disrepair Fee Earner


Being a woman in law, have you faced any particular challenges?

Sadly, there are still many who place more trust in male legal professionals. However, through events such as International Women’s Day, we are demonstrating that women are just as capable of providing good legal advice.

How do you think Bond Turner is supporting women in law?

The culture at Bond Turner is very supportive and there is a strong female presence in the firm at every level. Both team leaders in the Housing Disrepair Team are women which is encouraging and inspires confidence. There are opportunities for progression within the department and the firm as a whole. I’ve also felt very supported by both male and female management to pursue my SQE qualifications.

What advice would you give to young women looking to pursue a career in law?

I would advise young women to have confidence in their abilities and not to be afraid to have a voice. I would also encourage women to build relationships with other women in the profession who can provide support and guidance, having faced similar obstacles themselves.

Determination and dedication are essential qualities in this industry, but it is also important to not lose sight of what is important, such as helping other colleagues and maintaining a good work life balance.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

By celebrating the day, we’re encouraging talented young women to enter the profession and highlight how important it is to ensure that women are not overlooked when it comes to promotion and progression. It’s an opportunity for people all over the world to recognise the contributions made by women, despite the obstacles they sometimes face.

Who are the women that inspire you?

I find Madge Easton Anderson very inspiring. She was the UK’s first ever female solicitor and had to petition the Court of Succession (Scotland’s highest civil court) so that she could be qualified and practice as a solicitor. After she qualified, she was known for volunteering free legal advice to the people of the local community who couldn’t afford to hire a solicitor. She didn’t let the fact that law, at the time, was an all-male profession stand in her way.

Outside of the legal profession, I find Karen Brady very inspiring. She was the first woman to hold a managing director’s role in English football which led to her becoming the youngest woman to be MD of a UK Plc. She’s well known for championing women in the business world, and also sits in the House of Lords.


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