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Women in the Law


The First 100 years…

Here at Maguire Family Law we are celebrating the first 100 years of women in the law.

On 23rd December 1919 the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was passed which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time.

It was 3 years later on 18th December 1922 that Carrie Morrison at aged 34 became the first woman to be admitted as a solicitor in England and who throughout her legal career was a strong advocate of Divorce Law Reform.

Carrie was the first woman to speak at the Law Society Annual Provincial Meeting in 1931 where she spoke about the setting up of a Court of Domestic Relations to deal with matrimonial issues. Today we have the designated Family Courts. Her vision was to make the divorce process more reasonable and the result fairer for both parties.

Since then, there have been pioneering, trail blazing women in all areas of law over the last 100 years who have their stories to tell which can be found here on a project endorsed by the Law Society and Bar Council to celebrate, inform and inspire future generations of women in the profession.

All have contributed, as have all women lawyers to where we find ourselves today in a legal profession that is diverse and inclusive culminating in the appointment of Lady Hale as the first female President of the Supreme Court in 2017.

The law is accessible now to all genders, ethnic backgrounds and religions.

At Maguire Family Law, we share the vision of the early women divorce solicitors which is to make the divorce process accessible, fair and reasonable for all.

We pride ourselves on our diversity and inclusivity. One of our three Directors is female. Four out of four partners are women. Our female solicitors are an integral part of our team and know that their path to promotion and recognition is based on merit and inclusivity.

Eimear Maguire, Director commented

“In our business we are fortunate enough to take equality for granted thanks to the trailblazing women who have gone before us. Any industry or business that doesn’t harness the energy and creativity of women are at a huge disadvantage.”

Lisa Brown, Partner commented

“It is clear that in the last 100 years considerable progress has been made in breaking down the gender barriers, both within the legal profession and society in general.  Day to day, that can make it easy to forget the difficulties which have historically been faced by women, but it is important that we do remember, and celebrate, the strength and bravery of those who paved the way for us today.”

Carole Nettleton, Partner commented

“A considerable amount has changed in the legal Profession since I started as a trainee in 1993, all for the better. I recall at that time at the firm I worked in women could not wear trouser suits and the culture was very misogynistic with female employees regularly being the target for bulling and sexual harassment – a situation that would not be tolerated today. Things can only progress over the next 100 years to a place where women solicitors occupy senior roles in a progressive workplace environment”.

Honor Giles, Associate commented

“The progress made by women in the legal profession in the past century has without a doubt inspired and supported the next generation of lawyers. The legal profession is focused on justice and fairness, the profession should therefore be a leader in diversity at work. The Law Society states that since 1990, women have represented over 60 per cent of new entrants into the profession. This is brilliant progress given that women were only allowed to qualify as solicitors as recently as the 20th century. That said, there is always more to be done, to include ensuring diversity in senior positions in the profession. Ongoing commitment and teamwork across the whole profession will hopefully continue to improve equality and diversity in the legal sector for the next 100 years to come.”

Frances Bentley commented

“I am proud to have so many strong women around me every day in both my legal career and my personal life. Women have such a big presence in the legal profession and it is hard to believe that has not always been the case”.

Rebecca Ranson commented

“For many years, people have viewed the stereotypical lawyer as a white, middle class, late 50s male, even despite it being 100 years since women could qualify too. It is fantastic that the profession is moving away from that assumption and finally, people have begun to recognise that the legal profession is made up of much more than that. As society changes, it is imperative that professions move with it and, as a woman in her early 20s, I feel extremely lucky to have entered the profession at a time where inclusivity and diversity is so important.”

We can confidently say that Maguire Family Law welcome employees and clients from all backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation and religion.

Our aim is to ensure that whatever background you come from your case will be dealt with by a suitably qualified professional who can make the legal process accessible for you.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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