Before 1919, women were not permitted to pursue a career in law. While they were able to study for a law degree, it wasn’t until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act came into force 100 years ago that women were allowed to enter the legal profession’s work force.
As 2019 draws to a close, we’ve sat down with some of the females employees at Linder Myers Solicitors to show just how much things have changed.
Megan Christie-Copeland is the head of the Court of Protection department here at Linder Myers Solicitors and sits on the management board at the firm. Megan works with social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and charities, supporting vulnerable clients to ease the pressures and challenges they face in their everyday lives.
What inspired you to go into Law?
I wanted to support those most vulnerable in society and make a real difference. I wanted a career where I could work with everyday people in the community and have the opportunity to give back. Having achieved straight As at A-level, a 2:1 LLB and distinction in LPC, I wanted to use my academic skills and life experience for a positive purpose.
Additionally, I felt that law was one of the most ‘traditional’ industries with less female representation at senior management level. My ambitious nature led me to pursue a law career, in the hopes of bringing change for women in law across the UK.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
The legal sector is often very traditional, with mostly white, older males in management roles. The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome in my career is challenging this ‘traditional’. I want to encourage others can reach their potential, no matter what their background is. Currently, my team of 18 ranges from support staff to solicitors, who all contribute to making the team a success. We are the fastest-growing department in the company, commercially viable with sustainable fees that have tripled in recent years.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I am most proud of becoming a Principle Lawyer at Linder Myers Solicitors. Since qualifying as a Solicitor, I have progressed from Newly Qualified to Associate Solicitor, to Head of Department, then Principle Lawyer in four short years. It was within the past 12 months that I reached the highest grade possible, reaching Partner level at the firm before I turned 30; 19 years before the industry average. Up until recently, I was also the only female employee to sit on the management board of 13 male members, out of a firm of around 480 employees. I believe this achievement creates a positive impact on my team and the firm, showing that age or gender shouldn’t stop anyone from reaching their potential.
What advice would you give to young women thinking of a career in Law?
If you are thinking about a career in law, then my advice would be to embrace networking opportunities. It’s so important for business development as it raises your profile and your confidence. The legal industry has changed over the years; work doesn’t simply land on your desk anymore, you have to go out and find it. Joining professional institutions and committees is a great way of meeting others in your field and builds your contacts. Putting yourself out there can be daunting, however, by going above and beyond your norm, you’ll stand out from the crowd and show commitment to your work.Find out more about our Court of Protection department