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Pioneers: Those who tried and "failed" and the quasi-lawyers

Thursday 30th June 2016


First Women Lawyers in Britain and the Empire Symposia

Location: Waldegrave Drawing Room Time: 10am (registration and coffee) for 10:30am start The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 heralded women’s long awaited entry to the legal profession.  What do we actually know about that journey?  How much of that struggle has been recorded?  Where is it recorded?  The ‘First Women Lawyers in England, Wales and the Empire’ Symposia seek to unite academics and researchers in this area and explore the journey of those first women lawyers. The first symposium was held in September 2015 and following its success the second symposium will be held on Thursday 30th June 2016 at St Mary’s University. The symposium, entitled ‘Pioneers: Those who tried and “failed” and the quasi-lawyers,’  will focus on early individual struggles as well as establishing and recording the activities of the women's movement pre 1919 and its contribution to the 1919 legislation. Submissions are welcomed from those researching in this area, including anyone with knowledge that will place the struggle for entry to the legal profession in England and Wales in an international context.  Skype participation is welcomed and possible. Contributions of £15 are requested to cover refreshments and lunch.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

  • Prof Leslie Howsam (via Skype)
  • Dr Cheryl Law
  • Dr Anne Logan


Please submit your abstract (max 300 words) by email, no later than 8th April 2016. Presentations are to last 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions. Please also indicate whether you would like to attend a light supper at 6pm for an additional cost of £20. Please contact: Dr Judith Bourne, Book now 10-10.30am: Registration and refreshments (sponsored by the SLS) 10.30-10.40am: Introduction and welcome Session 1: The past and its relationship with the present 10.40-11:10am: Plenary 1: Dr Cheryl Law “Understanding the historical context of early women lawyers” 11.10-11.30am: Paper 1: Funke Abimbola FRSA (Solicitor) ‘Senior women lawyers where are they? – Are Women still “failing”?’ 11.30-11.50am: Paper 2: Charlotte Coleman ‘How have historians’ perspectives of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 shaped our understanding of “success” and “failure” of women’s entry to the legal profession?’ 11.50am-12.05pm: Discussion 12.05-12-25pm: Paper 3: (skype) Professor Kim Rubenstein, ANU College of Law ‘Patricia Hackett and Isla Murphy’. 12.30-1.30pm: Lunch Session 2: Individual Women Matter 1.30-1.50pm:  Plenary 3: Dr Anne Logan, Senior Lecturer in Social Science, University of Kent, ‘Why Women Magistrates Matter’ 1.50-2.10:pm: Paper 1: Dr Alana Harris, Lecturer in Modern British History, KCL, and Maya Evans, Undergraduate Research Assistant, KCL, ‘Dr Letitia Fairfield – Medicine and the bar’ 2.10-2.30pm: Paper 2: Alison Lindsay, Head of Historical and Legal Search Rooms, National Records of Scotland ‘Margaret Hall’ 2.30-2.50pm: Paper 3: Dr Frances Burton, Senior Lecturer in Law, Buckinghamshire New University, and co-director International Centre for Family Law, Policy and Practice, ‘Very Early Women Lawyers’ 2.50-3.20pm: Discussion, afternoon tea and paper by Ros Wright, AWB, Barrister and Middle Temple Bencher, ‘Ruth Ginsberg’ Session 3: The “cement” ceiling 3.20-3.40pm: Plenary 2: Professor Leslie Howsam, (via skype) History Graduate Faculty, University of Windsor, Canada, ‘Eliza Orme: these women were not “failures.”’ 3.40-4pm: Discussion 4-4.20pm: Paper 1: Judith Bourne ‘The vanishing act of Bertha Cave’ 4.20-4.40pm: Dr Caroline Derry, London Metropolitan University ‘Ethel Bright Ashford: ‘Using “failure” to promote the greater cause’ 4.40-5pm: Paper 2: Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, School of Law, University of Reading ‘Whatever happened to Miss Bebb?’ 5pm: Discussion and drinks sponsored by Obelisk Legal Support Solutions Ltd in the Senior Common Room 5.30pm: First 100 Years Video 6:15pm:  Dinner (Senior Common Room)
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Thursday 30th June 2016

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For more information about this event please email or call 020 8240 8219.

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