Ladies of law help buck the profession’s profile

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 28 Jul 2017

JULIE Brearley is the latest woman to take a leading role with Wilkin Chapman, joining the Cartergate House law firm as head of human resources.

The appointment, hot on the heels of operational change manager Liz Walmsley – as reported last month – and business development and marketing head Lindsay Rubie, earlier this year, has led to a feeling of a firm bucking the trend within its profession.

Despite half of all solicitors being female, law is still heavily-dominated by male partners. A third, 15, of the Grimsby-headquartered partners are female, including three departmental heads, against a national average of a quarter.

Julie’s appointment sees another talented individual move into Lincolnshire from outside the area, having previously been with Sheffield law firm Nabarro.

With more than 15 years’ experience in HR, she is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and will work across the firm’s seven offices with responsibility for recruitment, talent management, development and the firm’s HR strategy.

MORE: Wilkin Chapman goes for growth on the North Bank with new East Yorkshire appointments

​Reflecting on statistics, Julie was keen to make the point that “the right person should get the job”, regardless of gender. of the attraction of the move, she said: “During the interview process, and now, several weeks in, it is clear that everyone is pulling in the same direction. It is also an extremely friendly place to work, we all spend a lot of time at work and that matters.”

For Julie it was the ‘openness’ of the firm that was also a key factor.

“We are not working in silos here, instead we are all able to help shape the strategy of the firm as it moves forward with a clear vision.”

Looking at the profession as a whole, she added: “Law firms need to embrace diversity and ensure that there isn’t a culture of unconscious bias that is preventing women from getting promoted.”

Lindsay, who joined from HSBC, has a strong belief that the ‘open’ nature of the firm is why women she considers to be at the top of their profession are joining Wilkin Chapman.

“There is certainly an open culture that is reflective across the whole of the firm here, meaning the best person for the role will always be successful – a fact that is so important for businesses today.”

Praising the diversity of the firm, Wilkin Chapman chief executive Des Mannion, said: “I am extremely proud of what we are achieving here with regards to diversity, which is reflected in our senior operational team with four females, which I believe is unique in a traditionally male-dominated sector.”

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