Discussion Event | How did she do it?

The route to partner is longer than it used to be and arguably more is expected of partners than in the past. The statistics show women still lag behind their male peers in terms of career progress. Much has been written on the reasons, which at least in part include family life, fertility issues, maternity leave and the realities of flexible working.

At “How did she do it?” you will hear from a panel of leading city partners as they share their journey to partnership, as well as some tips and pitfalls of progressing in the profession, including:

  • Their journey to partnership
  • How they handled and overcame the setbacks and hurdles they encountered
  • Insights into how their planned their careers to achieve their goals
  • The steps they took to build their case for promotion
  1. Chinwe Odimba-Chapman, Clifford Chance. Chinwe advises on all areas of contentious and non-contentious employment law, in the UK on cross border. Her clients include major banks, insurers, private equity houses, asset managers, investment funds and corporates. Chinwe is also the co-founder and co-chair of Clifford Chance’s London BAME Network and is an active member of the firm’s gender parity group – Accelerate. Chinwe has been ranked as a future leader by the FT EMpower, listed as a EMpower Executive Role Model and shortlisted as a Future Leader for the Investing in Ethnicity Awards. Through her activities, she successfully launched a reverse mentoring programme that has enabled members to connect with the most senior people within the firm. Chinwe is also a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors, an organisation pursuing increased diversity in the legal profession.
  2. Elizabeth Lang, Bird & Bird. Liz is a partner in the employment team and is also diversity partner for the firm. She advises on all aspects of employment law, with clients in a wide range of sectors. including IT, airlines, advertising, financial services and manufacturing, and she also acts for executives. Liz has extensive experience in the discrimination field. She has written widely on topical employment law issues in the national press and is recognised as a leading practitioner in Who’s Who Legal Employment and Labour 2018. As diversity partner for Bird & Bird LLP, she is actively involved in its wide ranging initiatives both in the UK and internationally, including its award winning social mobility and gender based programmes. These include the Global Women’s Development Programme launched in November 2016, which aims to help to retain the firm’s female lawyers and increase the number of female partners. Liz has three daughters, from 16 upwards, and has worked in the past on a part-time basis for several years.
  3. Emma Harling-Phillips, Pinsent Masons. Having started her career as a barrister at Landmark Chambers, Emma subsequently moved to the planning team at DLA Piper. She joined the country’s number 1 planning team at Pinsent Masons as a Partner at the age of 30, when she was 7 years PQE. She has now been at Pinsent Masons for nearly three years and specialises in obtaining planning and other regulatory approvals for major transport infrastructure, energy, marine and Real estate developments, for both private and public sector clients. She is currently working on some of the largest infrastructure schemes in the country, including promoting the Stonehenge tunnel for Highways England and the third runway proposals for Heathrow.
  4. Louise Woods, Vinson & Elkins. Louise’s practice focuses on international commercial and investor-state arbitration and commercial litigation. She has experience across a wide range of industry sectors, with a particular focus on upstream oil and gas, real estate development and financial services. Louise’s work has been recognised by her inclusion in Legal 500’s inaugural International Arbitration Powerlist: United Kingdom, as well as by Legal 500 UK 2018. Louise also works in support of greater diversity in arbitration. She serves on the board of ArbitralWomen, a nonprofit that works to promote women in international dispute resolution. At Vinson & Elkins, Louise serves as Parental Mentoring Lead, Women’s Initiative Lead, Diversity & Inclusion Lead and Talent Lead for the London office.
  5. And, with special thanks to guest speaker, Simon Cloke, Eversheds Sutherland, to discuss partnership and shared parental leave. Simon heads up the firm’s international telecommunications sector. He provides a broad range of advice on technology and telecommunications projects and has an in-depth knowledge of the technologies that are deployed. Simon has been at Eversheds Sutherland for nearly eight years and was made a partner in May 2016 at 9 years PQE. He has two young children and recently returned to work having taken 3 months shared parental leave to look after his son Josh.

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