As part of the celebrations we speak with some of our fantastic female Solicitors beginning with Sarah Reid Managing Director at Richard Reed Limited
What inspired you to pursue a career in law?
It probably started with LA Law! But truthfully, wanting to advise those who find themselves in situations where they need help. I was drawn to family law and legal aid work. I wanted to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
What was your route from school to now fully qualified solicitor/head of department/managing Director of RR?
Educationally, it very traditional – school, university, training contract. I’ve been with the firm for 16 years and was made salaried partner in 2007 when I was 29 years old and Managing Director in 2017 so my path since education has been less traditional.
What advice what you give your 18 year old self from a career perspective?
Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end even if its not what you thought it might be. Be confident, and limit self doubt.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt in your career to date?
Don’t give up, if you make mistakes, acknowledge them, move on and do your best not to make them again! I always feel that there’s not a lot that can go wrong that you can’t put right.
Do you think we have now reached a position of equality amongst the sexes in the legal profession?
Probably not, I’ve achieved the top level in my own firm but in reality I’m part of a minority. But that an issue not confined to the legal profession
What excites you about your job?
As a lawyer, achieving the best outcome for a client and their children. As MD, seeing the achievement and success of others within firm.
Who inspires you?
This isn’t any one person that I could say inspires me. I always had a sense of what I wanted to do as a lawyer and wanted I wanted to achieve, I think that has inspired and motivated me the most.
A study conducted by the SRA in August 2017 found that women make up 48% of all lawyers in law firms, however, within larger law firms (with 50 plus partners) women make up only 29% of partners. What can be done to change this?
We need to change attitudes to traditional ways of working, for example 9-5 and only from the office. Technology means we can be flexible. People can be in charge of their own working lives. Recruitment should be a long term investment and investment in the person means investment in their home ambitions too. It’s a two way street. There needs to be flexibility and balance to life and work and if women remain the main child carers unless attitudes change there will always be barriers to progression. I’ve changed nappies and fed my children at home whilst on conference calls. Why not?
Would you say there has been an attitude change in terms of equality since you started your career?
I would like to think so. Legislation such as the Equality Act has helped move us on, but is there equality? I’d like to think we’re heading in the right direction. There has to be equality in all walks of life, without equality there’s no justice.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s an opportunity for women to be inspired
In the end any inequality means there is a wasted opportunity, as you will only ever get half or part the story