Nominated by Margaret Hatwood, AWS Committee Member
After my degree at Newnham studying Chemistry, Physics and Biochemistry, then a year’s Russian, I took a Diploma in Russian and French at Bath. Using these skills, I worked in Vienna as a scientific translator for the International Atomic Energy Authority then other UN agencies.
I then embarked on a change of career inspired by my work with Release. I qualified in 1975. Immediately (as one could in those days) I started my own firm of solicitors, Fisher Meredith.
I managed work/life balance because I married and had my children late (at age 43 and 53) so I could by then help run the firm during maternity leave and afford a live-in nanny.
I got involved in legislation for Equal Pay, domestic violence, and anti-discrimination generally—at a time when women solicitors were not even allowed into the Law Society building itself!
From 1987 I was one of only five female members of Council and I stayed for 16 years. There were far fewer women in the profession and I really felt there needed to be better representation and to shake up the Old Boys’ Club that the society was in those days.
In 1976 I became the first woman to stand for President of the Society and was called ‘the most dangerous feminist in England’ by the ‘old boy’ who was elected. Whilst on the Council I dealt with all issues affecting the profession and its development. I was a member of, or chaired, many committees including Family Law, Dispute Resolution, Reputation, Legal Aid, Human Rights, Governance, Equal Opportunities/Diversity.
I represented the Law Society at national and international conferences.
I was instrumental in the creation of the Judicial Appointments Committee for the Lord Chancellor for drawing up selection criteria for judges and best practice in the legal profession.
In 2005 I was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Open University for services to Family Law and Legal Aid.
Fisher Meredith was a legal aid firm of repute for many years in several niche areas, but as public funding was cut back, we reduced our staff to about 40 in 2017. At that point we merged with the larger firm of Bishop and Sewell LLP where I still I work.
I now work with higher net worth clients on relationship breakdown, financial and private law children issues, prenuptial agreements and practice Collaborative Law when possible.