The recent commemorations across the country to mark the centenary of the First World War, including the fantastic display of poppies at Tower of London, marks a timely achievement of reaching this milestone. Having been a music teacher at a school in Halifax for most of her life, it made me think about how things have changed over the past 100 years, the recognition of professional women and how different the legal profession is today.
Some of the biggest changes over the past 100 years have been in technology and science. We have seen rapid changes in technology - the internet, email, mobile phones (and voicemail apparently), computers, laptops, tablets, wireless - only to name a few. We now take free movement for granted, of people, business, trade, investment and information. In the world of science, we are living through the gradual eradication of more and more illnesses and living longer. Combined with greater connectivity and instant access, all of these things have played their way in the way we live, work and communicate.
Looking back at the last 100 years, we have seen the evolution of the recognition of equal rights, including equal access to education and training. Many previous generations have not had the privilege of the freedom of choice that we enjoy and take for granted in today's society. Changes of attitudes to home and family life and the role of what men and women are supposed to do is no longer the status quo. There is now much more of an awareness across all levels of society to equal opportunities and discrimination legislation that wasn’t there 100 years ago. What was once a male dominated profession is now seeing more women than men entering the profession and rising through the ranks. The Law Society of Scotland recently reported that the legal profession is now 49% female. Earlier this month, Morton Fraser also announced the promotion of three senior associates to partner, all of whom are women.
Having talked about the content of this blog with colleagues, there was much reminiscing of when law firms operated from workplaces with open fires, wind-up clocks and heavy smoking. As I sit looking out of our floor to ceiling glass windows, typing away on my computer, enjoying the regulated air environment, I am really quite grateful to be a trainee in 2014. The changes over the past 100 years have had a huge impact on the legal profession and many of the roles within law firms. It will be interesting this weekend to reflect on the past 100 years, whilst looking forward to the future and the changes it will bring.