During the Month of International Women’s Day, Harneys takes a look at women’s achievements in the law and is proud to feature female litigators as part of its global commitment to #BalanceForBetter. 2019 also marks a significant milestone: it is the 100 year anniversary of women joining the legal profession as practising solicitors. The First 100 Years campaign aims to ensure a strong and equal future for all women in the legal profession by raising awareness about their history and inspiring future generations of female lawyers.
Catherine Newman QC of Maitland Chambers took silk in 1995 and has a commercial chancery practice. Highly regarded as a trial advocate and cross examiner she has countless accolades for her work domestically and offshore. She also sits as a Crown Court Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge. Here she talks to Harneys about her career.
What keeps you busy?
The current case and the next one and the one after that!
What achievement are you proudest of?
When I had my children I also donated my milk to the premature babies at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital. I bet you didn’t think it would be something like that, but it is.
What challenges do women face at the bar?
Juggling career and children – I’m not sure it gets any easier, and for women in publicly funded work, paying for quality childcare is a real problem.
Has anything changed for women in your career?
Yes, definitely – there are more of us, and we cannot be treated as oddities any more. People used to ask ‘Does your husband mind you working?’. I do not think anyone would ask that question today, but there are still real difficulties in being accepted as strong leaders.
What advice would you give to women entering the profession now?
Have faith in your ability to match the skills of your male colleagues. Expect to be treated with decency and civility. As soon as you get the school schedule put the sports day etc. in your work diary and your partner’s work diary. Stay healthy – you need stamina in this job.
On behalf of all of the women at Harneys, the team is delighted to unite and reflect on this occasion and showcase female litigators from around the world.