Reflections of Women in Law

22nd June 2021

News

Wadham Fellow Laura Hoyano is featured in a new book In Her Words, a unique global snapshot of women in the legal profession.

My legal careers have spanned forty years and seen many battles for women’s equality in the professions (I was the only woman partner in my Canadian law firm’s head office, when maternity leave was a bizarre notion). As an academic I’ve focused on nurturing the lawyers of the future, especially women, to give them the courage to forge their own pathways

Professor Laura Hoyano

  • Laura Hoyano
  • Laura Hoyano

In Her Words features women in the legal profession from around the world at a defining point in their history: following a century of progress but in the midst of a global crisis causing profound uncertainty.

For International Women’s Day 2020, women gathered in six continents to have their photographs taken as part of the ‘Face the Future’ campaign – a celebration of gender equality and diversity in the law. 

Little did they know that these celebrations would be occurring on the verge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound effect on women and threatens to undo decades of progress. In Her Words features the portraits and written reflections of 100 women lawyers selected from this diverse group of women, all united by the legal profession, on the extraordinary times that followed that photoshoot and what they expect for the future. 

“This is purposefully a collection of portraits and subsequent reflections by ordinary women lawyers reflecting on their hopes for the future as the pandemic forced them to stop and stand still for longer than any of us could have envisaged on those special days in March 2020. We are delighted to create this physical memento of 2020 so future generations may understand the legal world as it was for us.”  Dana Denis-Smith, founder of Next 100 Years.

Laura’s contribution to 'In Her Words'

I have enjoyed fulfilling dual careers in the law, as a barrister practising first in Canada and then in England, and as an academic at the University of Oxford Faculty of Law and Wadham College, Oxford. 

My legal careers have spanned forty years and seen many battles for women’s equality in the professions (I was the only woman partner in my Canadian law firm’s head office, when maternity leave was a bizarre notion). As an academic I’ve focused on nurturing the lawyers of the future, especially women, to give them the courage to forge their own pathways. 

The English court system came to an abrupt halt with lockdown, and the criminal justice system is flat on the floor. I’m dismayed that I may never again be in a courtroom. Women barristers have been particularly hard-hit. We cannot allow the pandemic to sap our determination to continue the drive for diversity in the legal professions. 

I’ve faith in the resilience and determination of the extraordinary lawyers whom I’ve taught, and those with whom I work. I’m inspired by those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement globally. They continue their predecessors’ work to effect the fundamental changes essential to a just society.