jmw solicitors

'Clients frequently request our equality statistics during the tender or onboarding process'

When I began my legal career 20 years ago, the property and professional services sectors were both male-dominated. While that still seems to be the case, particularly in senior roles, the balance is definitely beginning to shift.

I never gave it any real thought at that stage of my career, but it wasn’t unusual for me to be the only woman in the room at networking events or conferences. Thankfully, the lack of female faces isn’t quite so stark these days.

JMW has some fantastic talent coming through at the junior levels and we are finding that the majority of the training contract applications that we receive are now from women. It’s really positive to see so many female candidates; we know that the fact our firm is spearheaded by a hugely well-respected female managing partner plays a big role in that. Joy Kingsley has been a real trailblazer and, for many years, was the only female on an exclusively male board. She is a real inspiration for many and I’ve no doubt that it has helped to attract more exceptional women to the firm.

Diversity is a major corporate agenda for many businesses; clients frequently request our equality statistics during the tender or onboarding process, which is indicative of the growing focus on diversity and equality and the role it plays in good corporate governance. It will begin to impact the bottom line for those businesses who haven’t put the work in, and many now have a very steep hill to climb.

While it’s positive to see more female trainee solicitor applicants, the business world — across all industries — needs to do more to retain women in senior roles. We still see far too many talented, highly experienced women taking a career break to have children and never coming back. In the property and finance industry, that’s generally due to a mixture of factors including unsociable working hours dictated by the role, expensive and limited childcare options, and a lack of support and investment to retrain those who have taken a more-lengthy sabbatical. The introduction of shared parental leave has created the mechanism to move toward a society where the burden of childcare is shared equally among both parents, but there is still an educational and cultural job to be done to ensure that men feel able to pick up the mantle without fear of judgment or damage to their own career.”

Are you a woman in the financial services industry keen to get your voice heard? Contact [email protected] - we would love to chat!

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