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Events Exploring Journeys of First Women Lawyers Hosted on St Mary’s Campus

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Events Exploring Journeys of First Women Lawyers Hosted on St Mary’s Campus

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School of Management and Social Sciences


A symposium on the first women lawyers in the UK and launch of a St Mary’s academic’s book on the opening of the bar to women, were held on the campus of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, at the end of June.

The launch of the latest book from law academic, Dr Judith Bourne, ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’, attracted a packed crowd in the University’s Senior Common Room on Thursday 29th June.

Guests at ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ Book Launch
Image: Guests at ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ Book Launch

The event, hosted by the School of Management and Social Sciences, was introduced by Dr Daragh Minogue, Programme Director for Communications, who lead a conversation with Judith and Rhiannon Adams from the First 100 Years Project on the importance of recording the history of women lawyers and their struggle for equality.

Dr Daragh Minogue and Dr Judith Bourne
Image: Dr Daragh Minogue and Dr Judith Bourne

Head of the School of Management and Social Sciences, Chris Hull delivered the vote of thanks on the evening, he commented, 

“I’m delighted we were able to host the launch of this insightful and important book here at St Mary’s. As a member of our academic team, Judith is not only contributing to the wider debate around feminist perspectives on the law, she is an inspiration to the young people who join us each year to dedicate themselves to the study of the law.”

Chris Hull delivers vote of thanks.
Image: Chris Hull delivers vote of thanks.

Dr Judith Bourne added, “The book launch was a celebration of Normanton’s life; she and others worked so tirelessly and selflessly to open the legal profession to women. It was a pleasure to welcome so many guests, as well as past and current students.”

Dr Judith Bourne speaks at Book Launch
Image: Dr Judith Bourne speaks at Book Launch

Judith welcomed attendees to the event earlier in the day, in the University’s historic Waldegrave Drawing Room. The event, that aims to unite academics and researchers in exploring the journey of those first women lawyers. It has now run successfully for two years in the UK. It has drawn papers from England, Scotland, Estonia, Canada and Australia. 

Guests in the Waldegrave Drawing Room
Image: Guests in the Waldegrave Drawing Room

The third symposium, titled: ‘Individual struggles of the ‘successful’-Williams, Morrison, Normanton and the rest of the 1922 cohort’ looked specifically at those early individual struggles. 

Dr Judith Bourne commented, “I am very grateful to all the delegates and contributors of this symposium for making it such an exciting and stimulating day. Together we are filling in the gaps of this important time in legal history. I am indebted to the Society of Legal Scholars for their continued support of the symposia.”  

 Programme Director of the St Mary’s law programmes, Jenny Henry, added:

“The key work and findings of Judith’s research is illustrated by these two highly successful events, both organised by her. By recognising and understanding the struggles and opportunities faced by women in the past, we are better equipped to teach our young students – particularly our female students – about the importance of equality in the workplace, and inspire them to continue to make a difference for future generations.”

“By recognising and understanding the struggles and opportunities faced by women in the past, we are better equipped to teach our young students – particularly our female students – about the importance of equality in the workplace, and inspire them to continue to make a difference for future generations.” Jenny Henry

Judith joined the Law Programme at St Mary’s University as a lecturer in September 2013 having previously worked at London Metropolitan University for 12 years as a senior lecturer.

Her teaching areas include: Land Law, Equity and Trusts and Feminist Perspectives on Law: Past and Present. Judith also supervises dissertations and helps with mooting events and the student law society.

Since joining St Mary’s she has helped to establish the Centre for Law and Culture.  The Centre is a hub for fostering and actively promoting research and scholarly activity related to law and culture.

Judith holds degrees from the University of Westminster (LLB (Hons) and an LLM), and a PhD from King's College, London. 

 Based in leafy Strawberry Hill, St Mary’s University, Twickenham is a thriving academic environment where every student is valued, encouraged and supported. Rated Silver in TEF, St Mary’s is proud to be a teaching led institution. With over 95% of graduates employed in six months, the campus offers students the best of both worlds, based on London’s safest campus but only a short journey from Central London.

Guests ask questions at ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ Book Launch
Image: Guests ask questions at ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ Book Launch
‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ - Judith Bourne
Image: ‘Helena Normanton and the Opening of the bar to women’ - Judith Bourne
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