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Women in the Law
On Tuesday evening (31st January), the Sixth Form found themselves before an impressive team of seven women lawyers, with two parents and an old girl amongst them, who visited us with a united purpose - to inform the girls about the many different facets that make up the UK legal profession.
With the wide-ranging roles of District Judge (Sarah Smith), Crown Advocate (Lynne Eddy), Magistrate (Anne Hollingworth), Tribunal Judge (Diana Reid), Assistant Coroner (Katy Skerrett), Solicitor (Biddy Wyles) and Barrister (Lucy Wyles), they were able to talk about the legal world they inhabit in vivid detail, as well as the qualifications and qualities that have helped them reach where they are today.
A Law degree was not a necessity, as the required qualifications could be obtained by attending Law School after university and degrees in the Sciences, Languages or the Humanities could actually be advantageous. Surprisingly, no legal qualifications were required to be a Magistrate, although Anne herself has a legal background, and anyone between the ages of eighteen and seventy can apply. Ninety-five percent of cases were heard at the Magistrates Court, leaving only the most serious cases being taken to the Crown Court. Sarah advised that anyone with an interest in a legal profession should visit their local Magistrates or Crown Court to watch the judiciary and advocates in action, as they were generally open to the public.
The girls heard each of our visitors - all hugely passionate about their legal careers - describe their own particular experiences and what they enjoyed most about their jobs. From personal injury claims, such as slipping on grapes in the supermarket, to the more sombre work of the Coroner’s Office, the girls were given a wide range of examples of the challenges to be expected and the variety of work available. Key requirements were skilled drafting, clear communication and the ability to spot crucial facts in a mass of paperwork.
As well as the demands of their workload, the girls were most impressed to discover that our visitors had twenty-one children between them – an exceptional example of work-life balance!