On the 26 November, the Faculty of Law, in partnership with the Alumni Office, organised a law professional networking event for alumni at the Oxford & Cambridge Club. Hilary Heilbron QC, a barrister and Queen’s Counsel at Brick Court Chambers, gave a fascinating talk on the biography she has written about her late mother, Dame Rose Heilbron QC (Hart 2012). Rose was an English barrister who became a world-famous legal pioneer of the 1950s and 1960s. She was one of the two first female King's Counsel (later Queen's Counsel) in 1949 and the first woman Judge in England in 1956 when she became Recorder of Burnley. She sat as a Judge at the Old Bailey in January 1972, and in October 1974 became only the second woman to be appointed to the High Court bench. Her daughter Hilary is an alumna of Lady Margaret Hall where her mother was an Honorary Fellow.
The Faculty of Law is proud to celebrate and champion its female graduates working in legal careers. Hilary Heilbron’s talk was followed by a short presentation from Oxford’s Pinsent Masons Professor of Taxation Law, Judith Freedman, who spoke about the formation of Oxford Women in Law (OWL). Judith commented on how far women in law have come: ‘Thanks to inspiring women like Rose Heilbron it is now much easier for women to aspire to a legal career than it was in Rose’s time. But there are still significant barriers to conquer, though these tend to arise later in the career path than previously’. OWL is a network for female graduates of the University of Oxford working in any area of the law to discuss career issues, to share experiences, to influence best practice amongst employers and to enhance their relationship with each other and the Oxford Faculty of Law. There was strong support from the enthusiastic audience of alumnae. To be added to the OWL mailing list, please contact Dr Elizabeth Hodges.