Christina Blacklaws yesterday took office as the fifth woman president of the Law Society of England and Wales, succeeding Joe Egan.
Blacklaws’ accession coincides with her appointment by lord chancellor David Gauke as chair of a new panel of Law Tech industry professionals to accelerate the development and adoption of new legal technologies. Blacklaws already chairs a public policy commission examining the impact of technology and data on human rights and justice.
She said: ‘I am delighted to accept the invitation from Lord Keen to chair this important panel. We have little time to waste if we aspire – and I think we should – to ensure that the United Kingdom is the pre-eminent jurisdiction for legal technology. In achieving this, we will not only benefit the economy and society but will directly support UK law firms to compete both globally and nationally.’
The 174th president has also made empowering women in the legal profession one of her major priorities for her 12-month tenure. She was personally instrumental in persuading big law firms to include partners in their gender pay gap statistics earlier this year following some initial reluctance.
She has committed to holding 100 roundtables which will focus on ways to achieve gender equality and further women’s representation in leadership roles in the profession.
Christina Blacklaws studied Jurisprudence at Oxford University and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. She has developed and managed law firms including a virtual law firm. In 2011 she set up the Co-operative Legal Services family law practice, later becoming director of policy. More recently she was director of innovation at top 100 firm Cripps.
Blacklaws holds various public appointments including member of the Family Justice Council, trustee of LawWorks and Council member for the Women Lawyers Division.
A full interview with Christina Blacklaws will appear in Monday’s Gazette.