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Faculty photos mark International Women's Day

7 March 2017

Photographed above are a group of members of the Faculty of Advocates – practising counsel and others now serving as Court of Session and High Court judges – captured in Parliament Hall, Edinburgh.

The group shot was taken to commemorate International Women's Day (tomorrow, 8 March), and illustrate the recent advance of women within the legal profession.

Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk, the woman who has attained the highest position in the Scottish legal system, noted that in 1901, the Court of Session ruled that women were not "persons" for the purposes of the Law Agents Act 1873, and thus could not be admitted to the practice of law.

She continued: “This year’s theme of International Women's Day is women in the changing world of work. To reflect the massive changes which have occurred for women in Scotland in the world of work over the last century, it seems very fitting to mark IWD with photographs of what is in fact only a small number of the women who currently practise in Scotland, in all branches of the legal profession and at all levels.”

Frances McMenamin QC, the Scottish Bar’s senior woman, having practised since 1985, added: “There are some of us still in practice today, on the bench and at the bar, who remember only too well the difficulties faced by women in the workplace, including in the legal profession, simply by reason of their gender.

“Those days are long since gone, particularly in the law and even more particularly in the Faculty of Advocates, thanks to the many inspirational women whose abilities, drive and commitment paved the way for the rest of us to be able to enjoy fulfilling and rewarding careers of our choice.”

Gordon Jackson QC, Dean of Faculty, commented: “The idea of a Scottish legal system without women playing a vital part, as happened in the past, is now unthinkable. I look forward to the number of women continuing to rise in the years ahead, both within the Faculty and in the wider profession.”

The photograph was taken by Victoria Young, advocate, who took a second image of other female members of Faculty outside the High Court in Glasgow.

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