Navigating a Changing Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities


The COVID-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on working practices across the legal sector and has the potential to change radically the nature of work and the way in which the legal profession operates. From alterations to the recruitment process through to client relationships, the pandemic opens up many challenges for lawyers, but also opportunities.

How should the legal profession respond? Where do we go from here? How are firms and chambers likely to work in the future? Will these changes impact women in particular, either favourably or adversely, and what can be done to ensure that they do not introduce indirect forms of discrimination? In this special webinar run by Oxford Women in Law, we begin to tackle these pressing questions and explore how the crisis is changing the working lives of all those across the sector.

Join us on June 9 2020 for a conversation between

  • Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner at Hogan Lovells
  • James Partridge, Partner at Allen & Overy
  • Rosalind Phelps QC, Fountain Court Chambers
  • Chaired by Fatema Orjela, Partner at Sidley Austin and member of the OWL Advisory Board. 

This event is open to all Oxford alumni, staff, students and friends. The webinar will take place on Zoom. A link to join will be sent out to all registrants before the event.

Registration for this event has now closed.

If you have any enquiries, please get in touch with the Alumni Team.

The webinar will be recorded and made available to the Oxford Women in Law alumni network. If you are an Oxford alum and would like to join the network, you can update your communication preferences here and join the LinkedIn group here.

Submit your questions


Do you have a question you would like to ask the panel? Send in your questions here before the event and they will be put forward for consideration by the panel. Due to time constraints, we cannot guarantee that all questions will be asked.

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About the speakers


Susan Bright

Regional Managing Partner, Hogan Lovells

Susan Bright has been the Managing Partner of Hogan Lovells for the UK and Africa since 2013.  Before that, she led the firm's global competition practice for seven years, helping it become recognised as one of the top practices globally.  She has specialised in competition law for nearly three decades, advising clients on some of the most complex and stressful issues they face. 

Susan leads the Hogan Lovells' Brexit Taskforce, a core team of senior lawyers from across the firm assessing the legal and policy implications of issues emerging from Brexit and related uncertainty for clients.  She is currently leading our practice through the COVID-19 crisis, with almost our entire UK practice working from home and is keen to take the learnings into our thinking about the workplaces of the future.

She is passionate about creating an inclusive and diverse culture.  She has introduced sponsoring and mentoring programmes, work allocation, agile working, championed the retention and promotion of our diverse talent, introduced a comprehensive wellbeing programme and revamped our policy and approach to bullying and harassment.  She is a Board member of the City Mental Health Alliance.  From 1 July she will take on a new role as Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business at Hogan Lovells.

James Partridge

Partner, Allen & Overy

James is the Firm’s Graduate Recruitment partner and Training Principal.  Prior to that he was a partner for 15 years in the litigation department where he acted for financial institutions and corporates in big-ticket court and arbitration proceedings in England and many other jurisdictions.  In recent years he achieved significant victories for clients in the Court of Appeal (Alpstream v. PK Finance and GECAS; Dexia v. Prato) and in the Supreme Court in the OW Bunker (“Res Cogitans”) litigation.  His recent matters include coordinating worldwide litigation arising out of a shipping insolvency, numerous claims relating to the sale of derivatives to public authorities and a variety of aviation finance and leasing disputes.

Rosalind Phelps QC

Barrister, Fountain Court Chambers

Rosalind Phelps is a leading QC recommended by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in banking and finance, aviation and travel law and by Chambers and Partners in civil fraud. Her principal areas of practice are commercial dispute resolution, banking and finance (including the upcoming discontinuance of LIBOR), arbitration, aviation and travel, civil fraud and professional negligence. Rosalind is also a leading aviation silk and regularly acts in large scale aviation disputes as well as advising the Civil Aviation Authority including, most recently in relation to the collapse of Thomas Cook Airlines. Ros is an alumna of Pembroke College with a BA in Law and French Law and a BCL, joining Fountain Court Chambers in 1998.

Chair

Fatema Orjela

Partner, Sidley Austin

Fatema Orjela is an award-winning private equity partner whose practice focuses on providing strategic counsel to European and U.S. private equity sponsors. Fatema has experience on the full range of corporate law matters, including private equity deals, leveraged buyouts, strategic mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures, equity growth investments, equity and debt restructurings, and management equity plans, as well as related advisory work. She has been a member of the Oxford Women in Law Advisory Board since 2014.