Coodes is celebrating the First Hundred Years project, marking the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which paved the way for women to become lawyers.
To commemorate the first 100 years of female lawyers, Coodes is putting the spotlight on some of its own team members. Here, Kirsty McAuley, Partner in the Corporate and Commercial team, shares some of her experiences in the legal profession.
I have no idea when it happened but being one of five children may have been part of it as there was always an argument to be had and a real sense of a need to stand your own ground. I think I eventually decided to become a lawyer because I liked the concept of being able to help others and to be that confident person on their side, helping them through difficult or complex times.
I always want to be better at everything I do. The law is constantly developing and I enjoy being part of the change that matches developments in society. That constant change and the need to be the best I can be drives me, together with a desire to make sure that my clients are looked after.
This is a predictable answer for a lawyer but it is Lord Denning. His application of clear, logical thought and process in his judgments was like no other.
We have some really great lawyers that I am proud to work with. We also have at our very core a real sense of being approachable and like no other firm. I like that my clients can see me as a person in their team and not someone who wades in from time to time in a suit.
I think it was getting my degree and qualifying as a solicitor. I don’t come from a long line of lawyers and it was so lovely to see my parents’ faces when I qualified as I knew how proud they were of me.
We are not there quite yet but I have seen some progress being made with the acceptance of parental leave and the need to work different hours. By that I do not mean just female lawyers but parents generally. I myself do not have children but I think we all need to adjust to be more flexible so that we always get the best from people. In corporate and commercial teams, female lawyers were definitely underrepresented but this is now gradually changing. As we as a society grow to take away barriers to equality I hope that this will continue to change.
Be who you are. You don’t need to wear a power suit to be a good lawyer or from a long line of judges. Your clients can benefit from your qualities and so do not feel that you need to change. Oh and good luck!