The First Hundred Years project celebrates the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time.
To commemorate the anniversary, Coodes is sharing some of its own team members’ experiences of working in the legal profession.
Abi Lutey, Partner in the Commercial Disputes team, reflects on her experiences.
1. When and why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I stumbled into the law by accident about 20 years ago after realising that riding horses for a living just wasn’t going to cut it. I started off temping as a legal secretary for a law firm in Penzance working for a litigator and caught the bug! I was always very competitive (and argumentative!) as a child and this seemed like the perfect career choice.
2. What drives you in your role?
My competitive nature drives me. I want to solve my client’s problems, win their disputes and work for the best law firm in the region.
3. What or who has inspired you in your career?
Baroness Hale has always been an inspiration to me. I love the fact that in her 70s she is still at the top of her game and effecting change. Another inspiration was my great grandmother. In her 90s, before passing away, she told me to always try to learn one new thing every day. I aim to apply this to my career as the law is ever changing.
4. What do you like about working for Coodes?
The people! My ‘work family’ are awesome and I love that we are all part of a big team who help each other to help our clients. Flexibility is another major benefit – I have never missed a single sports day or nativity play and I believe this has cemented my loyalty and commitment to the continued success of the firm.
5. What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was being in the Commercial Court in London representing my client (an individual) with counsel against a large international finance house with a huge legal team. I am proud of my legal career: I started out as legal secretary and worked hard at my studies in the evenings through CILEX, qualifying as a Fellow over 15 years ago I am now a Partner at Coodes.
6. What changes have you seen during your career that have affected female lawyers?
There are many more of us. The majority of lawyers at Coodes are now women and I am proud to work alongside some fantastic legal brains.
7. What advice would you give to a young woman considering a legal career?
There are no limits! Be the lawyer you want to be.
Based in Truro, Abi Lutey is a Partner in Coodes Solicitors Commercial Disputes team.