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Cambridge Women in Law'The Changing Face of Diversity in the Legal Profession': CWIL and Cambridge Alumni Festival

28 September 2021

On 28 September Professor Pippa Rogerson, Professor of Private International Law in the Law Faculty and the Master of Gonville and Caius, chaired a discussion with Lady Brenda Hale, a pioneer in legal academia and one of the most distinguished judges in the United Kingdom and two current students, Tolu Mustapha and Julia Freytag, about diversity in the legal profession today, the changes that have taken place and the objectives that are yet to be met. Tolu Mustapha is a Third Year Law undergraduate at Fitzwilliam College and Julia Freytag is a Fitzwilliam alumna who has just completed a Masters in Criminology.

CWIL was delighted to lead this event in collaboration with the Cambridge Alumni Festival. The discussion between the speakers took place live in the Lady Mitchell Hall and was relayed to a large online audience of Cambridge alumni who had the opportunity to submit questions to the members of the panel in the second part of the event.

This hugely interesting session is available to view online on YouTube:


Women in Publicly Funded Law: CWIL/CUGLS Webinar

29 January 2021

Cambridge Women in Law and the Cambridge University Graduate Law Society joined forces for the first time to host a discussion whose theme was the work of women lawyers in Publicly Funded Law.

The discussion was chaired by Professor Nicky Padfield, Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice and Director of the Cambridge Centre for Criminal Justice. She was joined by an impressive array of distinguished panellists who kindly agreed to take questions from the audience, which included both alumnae and current law students in the Faculty. The event was very well attended and generated a thoughtful and lively discussion.

The panellists were: Alison Munroe QC, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, specialising in Family and Public Law; Busola Johnson, a specialist Prosecutor in the Specialist Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the Crown prosecution Service; Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in Human Rights; and Olivia Magennis, a barrister at 1GC Chambers and an expert in the application of human rights law in cases involving children.

The discussion was very informal with the audience fully engaged both with questions and through the zoom ‘chat’. Topics ranged from the realities of practice, including managing both racism and impostor syndrome, to tips on managing applications for pupillage.


Law and Race Group: 'In Conversation with Alexandra Wilson, author of In Black and White: A Young Barrister's Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System'

9 November 2020

As a junior criminal and family law barrister, Alexandra finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which fellow barristers sigh with relief when a racist judge retires: "I've got a black kid today and he would have had no hope".

In her debut book, 'In Black and White', Alexandra re-creates the tense courtroom scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients, and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister's life. Alexandra's account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.

In this webinar, held by the Law and Race Group at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, Alex talked about her book 'In Black and White' and her experiences of Women of Colour at the Bar.


Cambridge Women in Law explore what keeps women needlessly trapped in the criminal justice system

25 September 2020

Part of the Alumni Festival, this webinar explored some of the barriers faced by women stuck within the criminal justice system: barriers which lead some to find themselves in a revolving door of prison admissions, others to lose their homes and their children, and many to fail in attempts to overturn unfair convictions and unfair sentences.

Professor Loraine Gelsthrope, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justine and Director of the Institue of Criminology, Professor Nicky Padfield, Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty and Naima Sakande, a criminal defence investigator at APPEAL together shared their work and vast experience of studying and working with women in the criminal justice system, from sentencing, parole and recall to the barriers that deter women from appealing in court.

Book launch: 'FIRST: 100 Years of Women in Law'

22 November 2019

First 100 Years were delighted to hold a launch for their brand new book 'FIRST: 100 Years of Women in Law'. This launch was held in partnership with Cambridge Women in Law (CIWL) and generously hosted by the Law Society of England & Wales.

Lady Hale attended the event to say a few words, along with Dana Denis-Smith, Founder of the First 100 Years project, and Professor Albertina Albors-Llorens, Deputy Chair of the Faculty.

CWIL Launch

27 September 2019

On 27 September the Faculty officially launched a new initiative, Cambridge Women in Law (CWIL), to mark the contribution of women in Law and, in particular, to celebrate the contribution of Cambridge alumnae both to legal practice and the wider world. The launch event, which coincided with the Cambridge Alumni Festival, marked the centenary of the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, when women were finally allowed to practise law. A new social network, Cambridge Women in Law is open to all who studied at Cambridge and who work in the legal sector, or apply their legal skills in other fields.

The launch event was divided into three parts. The first was a panel focusing on issues facing women in practice. This was followed by a panel which was oriented around women who have had an impact on the world outside practice, such as in the field of public policy. Finally, there was a discussion with UK Supreme Court Justices Lady Hale and Lady Arden. Equality and diversity were key discussion themes throughout. To coincide with the launch of Cambridge Women in Law, the Faculty hosted an exhibition of the much heralded First 100 Years Project.

For more information about the event, download the full programme.

For more information about CWIL you can sign up to the CWIL mailing list to receive information about future news and events, or get in touch with the Faculty Development Officer, Clare Gordon at

The three sessions are available to view online:

Panel 1: Women in practice

Panel 2: Women in the wider world

In discussion: Lady Brenda Hale (President of The Supreme Court) and Lady Mary Arden (Justice of The Supreme Court)

A gallery of photographs from the event is also available:

Cambridge Women in Law Launch Event September 2019

CWIL is supported by the Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law