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Partner promotions bring female majority to Balfour+Manson

14 January 2019

Balfour+Manson is claiming to be the first of Scotland's larger law firms to have a majority female partnership, after announcing three promotions that take the firm’s full partnership complement to 24, including 13 women.

Commercial law solicitor Stephanie Zak and employment law specialist Sarah Shiels in the firm's Edinburgh office, and family lawyer Lynne Mulcahy in Aberdeen, all advance to partner. In addition, Catriona Torrance, who specialises in private client matters, and Andrew Wallace, an employment lawyer, have been promoted to associate.

Balfour+Manson believes this is the first time a firm with 20+ partners in Scotland has had a majority of female partners – and it has happened at the firm where Ethel Houston was appointed the first female partner of any Scottish law firm, 70 years ago.

Stephanie Zak, who qualified as a solicitor in 2010, joined Balfour+Manson in 2014. She has worked in both private practice and in-house with some of the UK’s leading banks and financial institutions. Her prime focus is commercial property work including leasing, acquisitions, disposals and development work.

Sarah Shiels joined the practice in 2012 and became an associate in 2014. She specialises in employment litigation, both in tribunal and the Court of Session, and advises on all aspects of employment, discrimination and trade union law.

Lynne Mulcahy, a respected family law practitioner in the north east, came to Balfour+Manson last year. She has over 20 years’ experience working with families in Aberdeen, providing assistance arising from relationship breakups to negotiating complex financial cases.

Of the newly appointed associates, Catriona Torrance is an experienced private client specialist, whilst Andrew Wallace, who joined the firm last year, advises SMEs and charities on various employment law matters, having extensive experience of staff management, policies and contracts.

Elaine Motion, executive chairman of Balfour+Manson, commented: “The gender profile of the legal profession in Scotland is shifting as a majority of those entering the profession are young women.

“I think Ethel Houston would be very proud of what we have achieved at Balfour+Manson. As a firm founded in 1888, people sometimes think of us as rather traditional but the truth is very different. Times are changing and Balfour+Manson is delighted to be ahead of the curve – as it was back in 1949 when Ethel Houston joined the partnership.”

She added: “These promotions are all very well-earned. We place significant importance on our developing talent within the firm. Moreover, we have formidable expertise and these promotions speak loudly of all our talented individuals. Our focus has always been and remains on promoting excellence and we will continue to do that, whatever a lawyer’s gender or background.”

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