Somaya Ouazzani, the firm’s CEO and Founder of Mimoza Fleur, along with Natalie Sutherland (a partner and fertility officer at family boutique, Burgess Mee) and Emma Menzies (Fertility at Work Coach and Consultant at Ready Steady Coach, who make up the In/Fertility in the City trio, won the Age and Life Stage Initiative of the Year at the inaugural Women & Diversity in Law Awards.
John Malpas from The Global Legal Post ran an article on the awards ceremony, and is set out below.
Winners unveiled at London ceremony dedicated to professionals making the UK legal sector more diverse and inclusive.
Law firms, legal teams and individuals from the across the UK have been recognised for their trailblazing work in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at the Women and Diversity in Law Awards.
Former Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, Reed Smith’s European managing partner, Tamara Box, and Natalie Sutherland, co-founder of the In/Fertility in the City initiative, were among the individuals recognised at last night’s awards.
Successful law firms included Browne Jacobson, CMS, Clifford Chance (CC), FieldFisher and RPC, while the barristers’ sets Matrix Chambers and 4 Pump Court were also among the 34 award winners.
Some 400 finalists, awards’ judges and other representatives of the UK legal profession attended the ceremony in London, which was hosted by the prominent diversity campaigner Baroness Floella Benjamin.
The evening culminated with the Lifetime Achievement Award, whose recipient is chosen by the judging panel. It went to Boyce, who in 2021 became the first black president of the Law Society of England and Wales as well as the first president of colour.
Boyce, who received a standing ovation, said: “I am deeply humbled to be the recipient of this Lifetime Achievement Award to be recognised for the contribution we have made and I say we because this has been a shared endeavour, that we are making to advancing diversity, equality, equity and inclusion within the legal profession and beyond.”
The prestigious Woman of the Year award went to Sutherland, who specialises in fertility and surrogacy law at London firm Burgess Mee Family Law and co-founded In/Fertility in the City, an initiative which encourages more open conversations around fertility issues.
Box, who was named Law Firm Leader of the Year – Large Law Firm, has been involved in an array of DE&I initiatives, including as a founding member of the steering committee of the 30% Club, which seeks to increase the number of women on corporate boards.
The awards were divided into three sections. The first half of the ceremony recognised outstanding women leaders and practitioners while the final section was devoted to all the strands of DE&I.
Browne Jacobson was among the DE&I winners, picking up the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programme of the Year award, while other team awards went to CMS (Environmental Sustainability Initiative), Clifford Chance (Faith), FieldFisher (Disability) and RPC (Mental Health and Wellbeing).
Litigation boutique Keller Postman UK won the Race Equality award, Matrix Chambers was named Responsible Business of the Year and the LGBT+ award went to 4 Pump Court for holding a student moot competition for aspiring lawyers from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
Sarah Clarke KC, of Serjeants’ Inn, was named Responsible Leader of the Year, with the judges recognising her role promoting access to the profession through her post as director of the South Eastern Circuit Advanced International Advocacy Course.
Winners of Outstanding Women Practitioners awards included Jill Greenfield, head of the serious injury team at Fieldfisher, who has campaigned on behalf of victims in the film and television industry, and Dealmaker of the Year Mei Lian, co-chair of Paul Hasting’s London office and a financial restructuring specialist.
The 25-strong judging panel included Julia Chain, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Dignity Trust; Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Justin D’Agostino, who founded his firm’s first LGBT+ network in 2007; and Lesley Wan, general counsel and whistleblowing officer at FBN Bank and founder of the Through the Looking Glass charity.
The official charity for the evening was LawCare, which promotes and supports good mental health in the legal community across the UK.
Click on the following links for a full list of the winners, and why they won, across the awards’ three sections:
The article was published in The Global Legal Post on 22 March 2023, and can be found here.
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