Law Society’s Gazette, August 1959

A Unique Occasion by The Editor

Sir Sydney [Charles Thomas Littlewood, elected July 1959] is the first President of the Society to be the husband of a solicitor. This has never happened before, owing I imagine to historical causes and not through any conviction among solicitors generally that their sisters in professional life make unsatisfactory wives. Among professional people as a whole the normal marrying age is 30 and among Presidents of The Law Society the average age on election to office is about 65. Thirty-five years is also the period which has elapsed since the first women were admitted, following the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919. Lady Littlewood’s unique achievement may therefore become more common in the future. She herself was an articled clerk at the time of her marriage and was admitted in 1935.

Law Society’s Gazette, August 1969

Discrimination against female lawyers [letter from Ms BE Gardiner]. Having studied the law for three years and having passed my LL.B examinations, I find that as far as ever becoming a member of the profession is concerned, I am severely handicapped – I am ‘female’.

At a time when this venerable magazine was echoing to the anguished cries of the profession that not enough graduates were being attracted to private practice, I took the opportunity of writing to a firm of solicitors who were advertising for an articled clerk, requesting an interview. In reply they informed me that they could not even consider me because I was a woman.

Surely, it is time that solicitors in private practice realised that, apart from the fact that many clients prefer to deal with a woman, they cannot afford to reject such an increasing regiment (monstrous though it would have appeared to John Knox) of graduates in law merely on the grounds of their sexual misfortune.