Until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act came into force 100 years ago, women were not permitted to pursue a career in law. Despite being able to study for a law degree, it wasn’t until 1919 that this pivotal change was established, allowing women to enter the legal profession’s workforce.
As 2019 draws to a close, we’ve sat down with some of the female employees at Linder Myers Solicitors to show just how much things have changed.
Claire Reddicen is a Chartered Legal Executive in the Occupational Disease department here at Linder Myers Solicitors. Qualifying in 2016 and being admitted as a Fellow in 2019, Claire specialises in industrial disease claims, general personal injury and historic sexual abuse claims.
What inspired you to go into Law?
When I was due to leave school I still hadn’t made my mind up as to what I wanted to do with my future. I saw an advertisement in the local paper for an office junior role at a law firm that I applied for and was accepted. I immediately became interested in the law and developed a passion for becoming a lawyer. Working with lawyers from a young age meant I could see the type of work they dealt with and how they were helping many people, which was when I decided that was what I wanted to do myself.
How did you get into Law?
I completed the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice. I completed my training whilst working as a paralegal. I went to college twice per week; one evening and one afternoon to complete the academic stage of training. During my academic training, I satisfied the requirements for Qualifying Employment and had gained four years’ experience of working alongside experienced lawyers, building my own caseload and representing clients. Upon achieving my diploma I later completed my Work-Based Learning Portfolio and was admitted as a Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer.
What do you find the most rewarding about your role?
My role involves securing compensation for individuals that have been injured through no fault of their own, and for the victims of crime. The majority of clients I represent suffer from industrial disease – including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illness – or they have been the victim of a crime, including sexual abuse, and have suffered physical injury or mental health problems.
I also secure compensation for families where they have lost a loved one because of an industrial disease or an accident that has proved fatal. In all of those circumstances, securing compensation for the individual or their family will not change what has happened to them, but can help with allowing them a better future. I get great satisfaction from being able to provide the help and support that clients need and I am passionate about supporting my clients and helping them get the justice and the compensation they deserve.
What advice would you give to young women thinking of a career in law?
Time flies! I started working in law upon leaving school in 2005, and before I knew it I had qualified as a lawyer and I now have several years of experience working in law. I would advise young women thinking of a career in the legal profession to consider all available options to them for the routes available for study, and make every effort to work towards that goal and don’t give up! There are so many groups available for young trainee lawyers to be a part of who offer valued support and assistance. Take full advantage of that throughout the training process and upon qualification, as it can offer valuable support and be a great way to socialise with other trainee lawyers and open the door to potential employment positions in the future.Find out more about our Occupational Disease department