On Sunday 8 March 2020, people around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day and at Bevan Brittan we are proud that everyone at Bevan Brittan has the opportunity to have a rewarding career with in law. Today, over 37% of our partners are women and Bevan Brittan is among only 20 of the Top 100 law firms with a female Senior Partner.

To mark the occasion, three of our female lawyers have talked through their day-to-day experiences of life in law.

1. Joanne Easterbrook, Senior Partner, Clinical Negligence

2. Samantha Ross, Solicitor Apprentice, Clinical Negligence

What led you into a career in law?

I had a place at university to study law, but after doing some work experience, I realised that there were other routes into the profession. My work experience with local firms gave me the chance to see first-hand what working in law was like.

My Mum was also a big influence for me. She decided not to follow the conventional route into law by becoming a legal clerk at a firm that paid for her to become qualified – she’s now a chartered legal executive. So it shows what can be achieved if you’re willing to work hard.

What’s it like working as an apprentice at Bevan Brittan?

Being an apprentice at Bevan Brittan means working closely with lawyers at all levels of seniority, taking an active role in the day-to-day life of a busy national law firm.

Working within the Clinical Negligence practice, I have had the opportunity to work with high-profile clients, manage a live caseload, liaise with doctors and medical experts and even assist with a trial win.

I have since progressed to managing a small number of my own pre-action cases with limited supervision.

I like the fact that there is real responsibility; it’s long way from just making the tea and doing the photocopying!

I hope to be able to work my way up as a qualified solicitor.

Which women at the firm do you most admire?

My supervisor, Marie Shoulder, really is an inspiration to me. Her positivity is infectious; she goes out of her way to arrange extra training for paralegals and always shows an interest in life outside of work. Nothing is ever too much for her, even though she manages a busy team.

3. Joanna Lloyd, Partner and Head of Clinical Risk Team

Tell us about your role

I am a dual qualified barrister and solicitor and head up Bevan Brittan’s market-facing NHS Health Practice.

I have been a Partner in our Health practice for more than 20 years. I advise NHS clients and staff, supporting them through the range of legal and investigatory processes that follow an adverse event, be that a Serious Incident investigation, a clinical negligence claim or an inquest.

What does a typical day look like?

My interest in patient safety has led me to work closely with the Safety and Learning team at NHS Resolution, so I may be exploring a cohort of claims to identify any system wide lessons. I might be training with my team so we keep pace with changes in the healthcare investigatory landscape, or speaking at or attending a Patient Safety Conference.

There aren't many typical days and that’s one of the reasons that I love what I do.

What advice do you have for young women starting their careers in law?

My advice for young women starting out in their careers, whether in healthcare or another industry is – don’t stay in the shadows, step forward. Take the credit where it’s rightfully yours and accept praise.

Bevan Brittan made me a partner when I was on maternity leave with my first child. There are employers out there who practice what they preach.

And, finally, identify role models you can learn from. I work with lots of very talented women, and I find Dr Suzette Woodward (a patient safety specialist) very inspiring. As she says, her work distils down to caring for the people that care in order to help them work safely.

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