International Women’s Day (IWD) – Meet Family Law solicitor Sarah Hay

Today (March 8) is International Woman’s Day, (IWD) a focal point in the movement towards women’s rights.

This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, which sees a number of missions to help forge a gender equal world.

Carrie Morrison qualified as the first female solicitor in 1922. Now, a century on and after various pieces of legislation giving rights to women, things should have improved significantly for women

However, gender discrimination is still an issue in the workplace. A staggering number of women are entering the profession, yet are still behind men when it comes to career progression.

In private practice 71 per cent of the partners are male, compared to just 29 per cent of female partners.  In larger law firms less than 30 per cent of the partners are women, with some firms at the lower end of the scale having 14 per cent of the partnership being female.

Today, as a token of appreciation for some of the women at Watermans, we reveal some of our family law solicitor Sarah Hay’s mottos to live by and the changes she’d like to see in the industry.

What inspired your decision to become a lawyer? 

Meeting Professor David Lessels, who taught law at Aberdeen University at the university open day.  He was such a character and a very inspiring teacher.  He was very popular amongst all of the students on our course, and sadly passed away a few years ago.

Are there any aspects of being a female lawyer that you feel passionately about?

That we continue to work towards gender diversity and equality in the judiciary and legal sector as a whole.  Female and male lawyers bring different approaches and I think diversity is really important.

Who is your role model and why?

Within the legal world; Lady Hale, who is the first female of the Supreme Court and an amazing individual, and Sheriff Sheehan, who is a sheriff within Edinburgh, who is very knowledgeable and a fantastic sheriff.  Outside of law, I spend a lot of time running and I am very inspired by Jasmin Paris, who is a very successful British ultra runner.

For those who are not familiar with who she is, she was the first female to win the 268 mile Spine Race (which is one of the toughest running races in Britain).  She broke the course record for the race, and during the 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds it took her to complete the race, she did not sleep at all, and expressed milk at the race checkpoints in order to feed her baby!

What motto do you live by? 

What is for you, won’t go by you.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Every time I am able to assist a client, from the first time they initial contact us, through to the outcome they wish to achieve. – Are there any changes you’d like to see in the law industry for females in particular? A greater number of females in the judiciary and top legal jobs.