Women Supporting Other Women – this is what WLAM is about. 

The project was created for the purpose of tackling the low numbers of female partners in private practice. 🔝

Originally this was meant to be an internal initiative to support progress of lawyer career within the firm.

I left the firm before I had the chance to pitch my idea. 💡

Now it has turned into national network with the help of local representatives that share my values.

I was helped by my friend Shumi Kadir and continue to be supported by local reps around the UK – Hannah Beko, Tanya Dolan, Suzie Stanley, Sarah Green, Rebecca Bidwell, Natalie Matthews-Bunting, Gemma Adams, Amanda Adeola, Hayley Johnson, Nadine Martin, Rachel Jones, Elizabeth McGlone. 🙌🏼

I thank them all for being part of the network. 🙏

The idea was to focus on the following:

1) Existing policies.

Review existing maternity, paternity, shared parental leave, adoption leave policies to see whether these provide option to share leave or is there only one possible choice. (For example if you only enhance maternity leave)

Existing policies should not only help women but allow and encourage men to take time out with their children if this is want to do. Opportunities for both parents to take time to take care for their children is crucial for gender equality. This is the modern society we live in – both men and women should have the choice to take care of their children.

2) Gift.

Gift ideas for new parents. I am a huge fan of From Babies With Love, who provide not only organic baby gifts but also donate 100% of their profits to abandoned children around the world. How amazing is that?

3) Support.

Support during and after parental leave for both parents. What support is available during the parental leave – do you offer any baby friendly events? Keeping in touch days? What else could you do to support those on parental leave because it can be very lonely. What about support on return – confidence and guilt? What about flexible working arrangements and presenteeism? What about returners? Job sharing or creating a business role? What about roles being proudly advertised as part time or flexible?

4) Career progression and gender pay gap

Once you become a parent things change so leaders should acknowledge this change and impact.

I also believe this is the stage where we should talk about gender pay gap.

There is so much that can be done to support employees and their career progression.

In my eyes you are a better leader if you do. Parents won’t always be available in the evenings but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be – why can’t some business development events or career progression events take place in the morning or lunch time? WLAM has accumulated interest from women in business, who not only understand the challenges but support our lawyers and often seek help from them.

If there is no support provided I believe we can create your our opportunities. I do this all the time.

My focus is on business, networking (bringing solicitors, barristers and women in business together), personal brand, public speaking, customer service, sales, marketing, volunteering (mental health, flexible working, shared parental leave are huge topics any involvement is a positive) innovation and collaboration and social media to raise visibility – all that can contribute to adding value to the business of the law firm.

I don’t agree with the long hour culture and chargeable hour/billing target business model.

In my opinion – it damages employee health and their performance, and therefore affects the quality of work and doesn’t encourage adding value to our clients businesses.

A task that should be 20 minutes now takes 1h 30 minutes.

You can’t instantly reap what you sow today, it does not work like instant grits, no matter what you sow in life it takes time to grow and be ready for harvest

James D Wilson

My events are carefully planned and speakers carefully chosen. My time is my most valuable currency, so I use my time wisely always.

Everything I do – has a bigger picture in mind. I call myself a visionary for a reason.

Every event, every topic and every connection. This is my vision of the bigger picture in my mind.

Most asked questions:

“what about men?“ – women in the legal industry face very different challenges. Whilst the support is available for dads too,  they are welcome to attend events and encouraged to be speakers (you can also view list on twitter of all contacts that can provide such a support),  I am a huge champion shared parental leave but sadly there are not many dads who have taken time out and their careers been affected. When this happens – I will be the first to support them.

The network was only created to start a movement to give an idea for law firms to support their women in law so they don’t feel that they have to leave the profession. Hopefully, we will cease to exist when such a support is provided in all law firms.

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