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Tilly Bailey & Irvine Are Proud To Champion Women Every Day

View profile for Alison Leith
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With International Women’s Day upon us and recent reports in certain legal press suggesting that senior roles in the legal profession are still dominated by men, I thought it an opportune moment to consider our firm and the roles that women play within it.

Since joining Bailey & Irvine almost thirteen years ago, I have always considered it a forward-thinking firm and have certainly never encountered any gender bias internally. Employees and partners are recruited and assessed based on their abilities, irrespective of their gender.

In fact, there are many instances within the firm of women excelling in their chosen field and taking on senior or unusual roles within the firm and also externally.

Within the current partnership, seven of the sixteen partners are female and, on our management board the ratio is 50:50, with Carolyn Tilly, Head of the Private Client Department, and myself being Head of the Commercial Department.

I was very proud to be awarded Lawyer of the Year at the 2015 Northern Law Awards. My team also received the Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year at the same award ceremony.  At the time, the team comprised of five female solicitors and one male. It is unusual in the commercial litigation sector, which is still predominantly male dominated compared to other areas which are sometimes considered “softer” such as matrimonial or probate.

Across the firm, we have examples of female employees who have progressed through the ranks, one of which is Kay Ditcham who started at the firm many years ago as a secretary and subsequently qualified as a solicitor and is now a partner in the Personal Injury Team

Annaliese Barber is one of very few notaries in the area and Helen Dexter currently holds the role of Under Sheriff of County Durham.  Last year, Helen Lyne who is a solicitor in my team, was the youngest ever President of the Tees Valley Law Society.  This role has been passed to another female solicitor in the area this year.

Whilst there is no doubt that there is still a great deal of prejudice and discrimination present in society, I am pleased and proud to say that this is not the case at Tilly Bailey & Irvine. In addition to the support and encouragement provided internally, as a firm we are very proud to assist and support women in many areas, including having strong links with local women’s refuges such as Harbour and My Sister’s Place.