As part of Brunel Law School’s preparation for their application for an Athena SWAN award in November 2018, they have chosen to celebrate women in Law as their theme for this year. Look out for events highlighting the roles and achievements of women in law, exploring the historical trajectory, and considering any existent barriers.
To launch this, lead for Athena SWAN and Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity Dr Jurgita Malinauskaite together with Dr Adrienne Barnett from Brunel Law School hosted a half-day symposium on Wednesday 11 October. Opened by our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julia Buckingham, the event celebrated the success and contribution of women judges, barristers, solicitors and academics to law, the legal workplace and to society.
Guests could ask questions of a panel of legal professionals including Her Honour Judge Khatun Sapnara, a Circuit Judge based in East London Family Court and the most senior judge of Bangladeshi origin in England and Wales, Ms Suzanne Rab, a commercial barrister with expertise in EU and competition law, Ms Christina Blacklaws, solicitor and incoming President of the Law Society, and Professor Elizabeth Duff, Head of Westminster Law School, whose research focuses on diversity in the legal profession.
Dr Malinauskaite said: "It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to meet inspiring women who have excelled in their professional career and to hear their personal journeys. In addition, the event was also about acknowledging the tremendous work that Brunel Law students are doing through their volunteering projects, provided by the Brunel Law School, which, as expressed by the professional panel, is one of the main routes to success."
The audience were also introduced to our student panel, with Daniela Peterson and Gabrielle Laurin, who spoke about their experiences in their work placements over the past year; Hareem Naqvi and Alanis Ingham-Cotterrell, who volunteer for the Personal Support Unit at West London Family Court; and final year student Amirah Choudhry and alumna Christiane Sungu, who spoke about their experiences volunteering at the Eleonas Refugee Centre in Athens. Head of Brunel Law School Professor Arad Reisberg closed the symposium.
Dr Barnett concluded: "It was incredibly inspiring to hear about the achievements of the legal professionals as well as the adversity they encountered in their pathways to law, breaking down barriers for the next generation of women lawyers, our amazing students. Their commitment to justice and supporting the vulnerable shone through all our student presentations.”