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International Women’s Day 2021
AN INTERVIEW WITH GAYNOR WILLIAMS
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we caught up with Gaynor Williams, Partner at Bennett Williams Solicitors.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am a Partner at Bennett Williams Solicitors and I am also Joint Honorary Secretary at Liverpool Law Society.
WHAT IS YOUR CAREER BACKGROUND?
I followed a non-traditional career path and qualified as a solicitor having first practised as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. I did not attend university and came to law having first had a family and a career in a totally unrelated field. I qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive following a number of years of part-time study and then undertook the Legal Practice Course at The College of Law in Chester. In 2012, I established my own law firm, fulfilling a life-long dream. I was initially hesitant to pursue a career in law but ultimately, I chose to take on the challenge. I have always been passionate about inequality and justice and this is why I was drawn to studying law.
HOW HAVE YOU FOUND BEING A WOMAN, WORKING IN LAW? HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES?
On the whole, it’s been great. A career in law is demanding whether you are a man or a woman but there are certain challenges that are unique to women. Finding the correct balance between work life and family life is the obvious one. I have 3 children and a husband who demand a great deal of my time but being my own boss does allow me the flexibility to manage my time as I see fit.
IS ENOUGH BEING DONE TO PROMOTE CAREERS IN LAW FOR WOMEN?
Things are far better than they used to be. According to research by The Law Society, there are now more female law students than male law students and more female solicitors than male solicitors. Slightly less progress has been made at the Bar; in the case of barristers, The Bar Standards Board have indicated that 62% of barristers are male and 37% female. So, there is obvious scope for improvement.
If I could make one suggestion, it would be to increase the numbers of scholarships and bursaries that are available to students from disadvantaged backgrounds as the costs of studying law are high. In my view, they act as a deterrent to budding lawyers who do not have the benefit of financial support from family members and I would like to see that situation change.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN CONSIDERING A CAREER IN LAW?
I would urge all women, irrespective of age, to fulfil their dreams. However distant or unachievable they may seem, anything is possible.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021?
I echo the quote by Gloria Steinem, a journalist and feminist: “the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all”.