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Encouraging Women in the Legal Sector: Contemporary Considerations

International Women's Day 2024


Warwick Law School's ED&I Team are delighted to invite you to attend our upcoming event in celebration of International Women's Day 2024.


Tuesday 5 March 2024


MS.04, Zeeman Building


Please secure your place now.

About the talk: "Encouraging Women in the Legal Sector: Contemporary Considerations"

Exploring the representation of women within the legal sector, the discussion will delve into the contemporary challenges faced by women aspiring to ascend to leadership positions in law firms. Drawing inspiration from Dana's insightful FT article, "Can you be a mother and a senior law firm partner?", the talk can dissect the dynamics surrounding the 'motherhood penalty' and examine the role of women in the contemporary legal landscape.

Considering the increased representation of women as a harbinger of optimism for the legal sector, the talk will also shed light on initiatives such as the First 100 Years. Additionally, we could engage in a discourse on the ongoing efforts and potential avenues to further enhance gender diversity within the legal profession.

Dana Denis Smith

About the speaker

Dana Denis-Smith is the CEO of Obelisk Support and the founder of the First 100 Years campaign. A TedX speaker, Dana is regularly invited to address industry events and comment in the media on gender equality, entrepreneurship and legal technology. In 2020, she was recognised for her work as a women's advocate and champion of gender equality with the Special Contribution Award at the Women in Law Awards. In 2019, she was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Legal Services by The Legal 500 and, in 2018, she was voted Legal Personality of the Year at the LexisNexis Awards. Dana was shortlisted in the 2022 FT Innovative Lawyers Europe awards, and she was awarded her second honorary doctorate in laws from the University of Glasgow in recognition of her contribution, achievements, and positive impact on the legal profession in June 2022. In October 2022, Dana took her seat as an elected Council member of The Law Society to represent women solicitors and support DEI across the solicitors’ profession.

In 2010, she founded Obelisk Support to provide flexible legal solutions to FTSE100 and law firms by working with lawyers that needed to work remotely and more flexibly around their family or other caring commitments. Obelisk Support was highly commended at the 2022 Lawyer Awards for ‘Law Company of the Year’ and is again ranked in Chambers and Partners 2022 as a leading service provider – praised by clients for being "commercial and flexible". In 2020 Obelisk Support won Supplier of the Year at the Women in Law Awards. In September 2023 Obelisk Support became a certified B Corporation; one of only eleven legal businesses to achieve B Corp status.

In 2014, Dana founded the First 100 Years, a national charitable campaign to celebrate the first 100 years of women in the legal profession in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Under Dana’s leadership the campaign has created a lasting legacy for future generations of lawyers, involving institutions such as the British Library, Supreme Court and The Law Society. As of 2020, the campaign is now replaced by the Next 100 Years, focusing on the future of the legal profession for women.