International Women´s Day 2021

8th March 2021

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge.

From challenge comes change and we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements.

To mark IWD 2021 we asked some of BHP’s inspiring women what has been their greatest challenge to get them where they are today…

Simone Kent, Assistant Team Leader/Solicitor – Court of Protection

“I would say achieving my goal of qualifying as a Solicitor. This is a long and difficult process that takes hard work and commitment. Whilst at university I found it particularly challenging to study alongside working part-time and commuting, without any financial support from my family, but those challenges made me more determined to reach my goals and pushed me to work harder.”

Gillian Mitchell, Chartered Legal Executive – Family

“Sadly, despite all of the hard work and learning which is put in to qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive (and there is a lot of it as I am sure others will contest to), I came across a lot of prejudice in the early part of my career from some legal professionals who did not regard a ‘Legal Executive’ as a qualified lawyer, with one Solicitor even commenting to their client at Court “she’s just a Legal Executive, nothing to worry about”. Suffice to say, such behaviour simply pushed me to fight the client’s corner even more, getting good outcomes for my clients. It is fair to say, those professionals often had a different view of a ‘Legal Executive’ at the end of their case than they did at the beginning!  Happily, CILEx has also worked very hard to promote the position of Legal Executive’s in the legal profession and whilst there is still some prejudice around, this has greatly reduced now with Legal Executives being recognised as being legally qualified lawyers who have specialised in their area of expertise.“

Emily Crick, Solicitor – Residential Conveyancing

“Obtaining a training contract after law school is probably the greatest challenge for any aspiring Solicitor. Attending university is a hugely worthwhile experience as it teaches life skills as well as academic skills, but it is expensive and it can be stressful not knowing whether you will find work afterwards. I was fortunate enough to secure a position at The Co-op, working in their City of London office as a family law paralegal in an amazingly supportive team which helped me grow as a person and as a lawyer, before embarking on my training contract, also with the Co-op. My training contract saw me taking seats in family and probate and working in Manchester as well as London before eventually moving to the North East. Although it has now been nine years since I started working full-time, I still remember my delight at securing my first legal role!

The new solicitor apprentice route is a brilliant way of providing students with an income, paid training and job security going forward – removing some of the stress facing many young lawyers. I am glad to see BHP investing in this career route.”            

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