Women in law

On International Women's Day, partner Elaine MacDonald reflects on the role of women in law

Around this time last year, I made a conscious decision to take control of my professional life. After years of working for other solicitors, I took a leap into the unknown and decided to start my own business. In hindsight, it was a risky move.

We were still in the grip of Covid, the country was in lockdown and I had no previous experience of running my own business. But I just knew it was the right thing to do – for me, my family and my colleagues, many of whom put their own careers at risk by leaving relatively secure jobs to join a new start up. Even though we were taking over an existing business – Lynch & Co – with a strong reputation in the local community, success was not guaranteed.

I’ll always be indebted to those colleagues, most of them women, who believed in me and believed in a better way of working. I’d like to think that, one year on, all of us have developed personally and professionally and that their loyalty has been rewarded.

The new business has been an unqualified success. Less than a year after we launched, we have already expanded, adding home sales to our portfolio of services, thanks to our new relationship with leading estate and letting agents Residence. There is no shortage of solicitors in the Southside but they chose to work with MacDonald Lynch. That speaks volumes.

And judging by the many positive reviews we receive from satisfied clients, the team are performing well. I’m immensely proud of all of them.

At MacDonald Lynch, we thrive on the diversity of our people. We come from all walks of life and our team is multigenerational, with employees ranging in age from 18 to almost 80. Unusually, it’s a predominantly female team:

  • Lorna, a legal secretary, who was part of Lynch & Co, has had a long career in the legal profession. Lorna is local to the Southside and knows the business inside out, the local area and most importantly our clients.

  • Rena, an experienced cashier has decades of experience in the legal profession. Outwith work, she has conquered the West Highland Way, several marathons, the Great Wall of China, and now has Kilimanjaro in her sights.

  • Tracey, a senior paralegal, mother of five, and expert in land registration left a long career at Registers of Scotland as a higher executive officer where she dealt with complex casework, and left to study commercial and residential conveyancing at Strathclyde University. Tracey and I have worked together for several years and she is an integral part of the success our team.

  • Aylie, a legal assistant and our youngest employee, is currently studying International Business and French at the University of Strathclyde. Over the past year Aylie has had an insight into the legal profession and is considering changing her course to Law with French. I think Aylie would make a fantastic lawyer.

It would be remiss not to mention our two male colleagues – our associate Robert and our partner Colin. Robert and I have worked closely together for over five years and together we make a great team. I have known Colin for many years; he is a well known and highly respected figure in the legal profession and I am delighted to have him as my partner.

The legal profession was a very male dominated environment when I joined. However I have noticed a shift over the past decade, with more women not only entering the profession but taking on senior positions within legal firms.

Our paralegal Gillian is a great example of the new landscape. Gillian has previously written about her journey towards becoming a lawyer.

Gillian was part of the founding team at MacDonald Lynch. I’m delighted that she has now embarked on her LLB at Glasgow University. Gillian is a huge talent with great potential. She is fundamental to the team and I am so excited to see her develop.

A new generation of women is transforming the legal profession and making it more accessible. On International Women’s Day, I hope that many more girls and young women consider law as their future career.

Here at MacDonald Lynch, we’ll continue to do everything we can to nurture the new generation of female lawyers.

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