Women in Law Summit 2019: What Not to Miss

May 13, 2019 | Daisy Bernard


Following 2018's sell-out event, the Women in Law Summit returns on 17th May at Olympia London. 

 With 60+ speakers, six tracks and 600+ attendees, industry leaders and like-minded individuals will gather at Olympia London to drive change in the legal sector. From workshops on engaging men in gender issues to panels on intersectionality, we round up some highlights from this year's event.


Opening Remarks

Who: Kizzy Augustin, Partner at Russell-Cooke Solicitors 

When: 09:00, Main Plenary 

What: We're delighted for Kizzy Augustin to kick off the event. She has significant experience in defending companies, senior directors and employees in corporate manslaughter and serious fire/health and safety prosecutions. Kizzy has a particular interest in the law relating to corporate and senior individuals' health and safety duties within the construction, care homes, environmental, manufacturing, fire, rail and retail industries. She has been recognised by The Legal 500 as a "Next Generation Lawyer" and was voted one of SHP’s 15 most influential people in Health and Safety. Kizzy has previously chaired the Family Support Network group and been an active member of the “Female Futures” support group at her previous firm and is a keen advocate for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. She is also on the Executive Committee for the Women in Health and Safety Network.


Panel: A War On Attrition

Who: Emma Slatter, Chief Officer, Legal, Regulatory & Compliance at Visa, Miriam González Durántez, Founder at Inspiring Girls, Nilufer Von Bismarck, Head of the Financial Institutions Group and of the Equity Capital Markets at Slaughter and May, and Jenifer Swallow, General counsel at TransferWise

When: 09:15, Main Plenary

What: According to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA), in 2017 in the UK, women represented 66.6% of new admissions to the roll, and yet, in the same year, just 33% of partners were women. This decreases to 29% at the largest firms. The statistics for other protected characteristics are just as stark: just 21% of lawyers were Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) in the same year; 3% identified as LGB; 2% were trans; and 2% of lawyers at the largest firms were disabled.

What is happening to prevent all of these talented people from pursuing a career in law? How can lateral recruitment be improved to ensure that it isn't exacerbating the issue? What is preventing so many women in the profession from reaching the pinnacle of their careers? And what can be done about it?

In this session, a group of experts will set out the challenge that this conference is seeking to address, and offer solutions and ideas for how to ensure that progress is made in all aspects of diversity in law. These statistics are a damning indictment of the state of the industry and must be remedied; are you ready to change the rules?

 Meet like-minded people

Keynote Speech: How I Got Here

Who: Gina Miller, Founder at SCMDirect and the True and Fair Foundation

When: 10:00, Main Plenary

What: In this opening session, our Gina will open up about her professional story, and the trials and tribulations experienced along the way. This session will set the tone for a day of challenging, provocative and, ultimately, solutions-focused conversation, by highlighting the power of the individual in bringing about real, meaningful change within their own industry.


The Future of Law


Who: Helen Libson, Global Community Manager for Peerpoint by Allen & Overy at Peerpoint, and Alexandra Gladwell, Senior Commercial Litigation Lawyer and Peerpoint Consultant at Peerpoint

When: 11:30, Stream I

WhatWhen we talk about the Future of Law there are so many ways in which our industry is rapidly evolving. Does a rise in consulting and alternative working patterns change how women can achieve career success? How will technological advances disrupt the way we work? What skill sets will be most important for the future? This presentation will bring together a range of expertise and thinking to discuss the opportunities and challenges we face.


Why NewLaw has shattered the glass ceiling

Who: George Bisnought, Founder and Managing Director at Excello Law, and Joanne Losty, Recruitment & HR Director at Excello Law

When: 11:30, Workshop 1

What: As lawyers demand that the profession catches up with 21st-century ways of working, the seminar will look at the alternatives to traditional private practice and ask if partnership is the be all and end all for ambitious lawyers in the next decade? By staying agile, can you stay in better control of your legal career?


The Six Key Traits of Emotional Intelligence and their Role in your Success

Who: Chris Pether, Founder at PeopleSmart

When: 11:30, Workshop II

What: More and more people are recognising the value that Emotional Intelligence (EI) plays in business. Optimising your EI skillset is essential for anyone wanting to succeed in business, as well as in their personal and social life.

This fun, participatory and practical workshop will introduce you to the six important traits of EI, and how they can be used to your professional and personal advantage. You will see how varying levels of EI play out in your day-to-day interactions in a law firm, in your own practice and in the wider world. Using real-life examples and exercises, you will leave the session with clarity around the benefits of optimising these skills at work, and guidelines about how to implement them in your professional (and personal) life.


Interview Series: Intersectionality and the Law

Who: Katherine Ramo, Associate at CMS, Stephanie Dominy, Commercial Lawyer, member of The Legal Pod and founder at Dominy Legal, Yasmin Sheikh, Founder at Diverse Matters

When: 12:00, Main Plenary

What: In this series of one-on-one interviews, we will hear from people who have experience navigating different aspects of intersectionality at work in the legal industry. What is the multiplier effect in terms of professional disadvantage when we consider other protected characteristics, such as disability, race and sexuality? This session will provide an essential grounding to the day's discussions. What are the benefits of a truly diverse workforce? How can companies do more both to protect their employees from discrimination and to allow them to flourish professionally without compromising their authenticity? And what important lessons can we learn from individuals who have direct experience dealing with these issues?


Engaging Men in Gender Equality at Work

Who: Dr Daniel Guinness, Director at Good Lad Initiative, and Rebecca Collins, Head of Development at Good Lad Initiative 

When: 14:15, Workshop I

What: This fun and interactive workshop will unpack what it means to work in a male-dominated industry and asks questions about what the barriers are to equality and whose responsibility is it to make the change. This session is about sharing experiences and insights: What are the ways in which masculinity shows up in your workplaces and what can be done to challenge the practices and cultures that favour our male colleagues? By identifying some of the problems, we can establish the changes that need to happen and who is best situated to make those changes. This session is about how men can actively contribute to more positive cultures. Are there good ways and bad ways to be an ally for equality at work? And what can we expect of men joining the movement for equality? Answering all these questions and raising a whole lot more, this proactive and provocative session will give you insights into how you can bring men along in the fight for gender equality at work and how we can all make more concrete steps towards change.


How to Talk About Gender in 2019

Who: Ellen Stewart, Head of Platforms at PinkNews, and Alex Ehmcke, Head of Operations at PinkNews
When: 15:15, Stream III

WhatThe past few years have seen an increased media spotlight on gender politics, with the #MeToo movement, pay-gap legislation and gender self-identification looming large in national headlines. How can the legal industry ensure it is an inclusive space for marginalised groups, at this time of increasing polarisation? Hear from PinkNews, the world's most-read LGBT+ outlet, about how they have reflected this shifting landscape both in their editorial output and their organisational policies.


Pride and Prejudice – Why Women Need to be at the Heart of Law

Who: Dame Justine Thornton DBE, High Court Judge at Queen's Bench Division (QBD)

When: 15:15, Main Plenary

What: Dame Justine Thornton DBE is a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. Justine grew up in Nottingham and went to a local comprehensive school. After originally training as a barrister and completing pupillage, she wasn't taken on by chambers. Justine decided to try a different route and went to work for solicitors, Simmons & Simmons and then Allen and Overy. After nine years working as a solicitor, she returned to the bar and joined 39 Essex Chambers. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2016, a Deputy High Court Judge in May 2017 and a High Court Judge in February 2019. In this session, she'll be using her experience to discuss gender diversity in the legal sector, offering solutions on how to push for progress.

The Women in Law Summit kicks off on 17th May 2019 at Olympia London. With limited tickets left, secure your place now to avoid disappointment.