Female leadership programmes need to start delivering, says PLC boss

Millard: Senior management should lead by example on flexible working

Female leadership programmes within law firms need to “walk the talk” and actually increase women’s representation at the top of the legal profession, the chief executive of soft drinks business Nicols plc has told lawyers.

Marnie Millard, whose company’s best-known product is Vimto, was speaking at an event organised by Women in the Law UK, the Manchester-based lobbying, networking and support organisation.

She said that, while many law firms have women’s leadership programmes, most of these have yet to bear fruit in the upper echelons of the profession.

“I hate to say it, but all these programmes are not yet leading to significant changes at the top,” she told the audience of solicitors and barristers.

She said businesses and law firms should not simply permit flexible working but that senior management should also lead by example.

“I prefer to get into the office early in the morning but, as long as the day-to-day business issues allow, I will leave before 5pm so that everyone can see me going and feel they have permission to do the same,” she said.

Ms Millard was joined by three other female entrepreneurs from the North West: Jennie Johnson of day nursery group Kids Allowed, Rebecca McCann of haircare innovator Pro Blo Group and Emma Elston of waste container refurbishment business UK Container Maintenance.

Ms Johnson said one of the most valuable lessons she was currently learning was to be more discerning about which additional commitments filled her diary and learning she could sometimes say ‘no’.

Alongside this was carving out time each week for herself and her own wellbeing.

Ms McCann, meanwhile, urged the audience to take time to “enjoy the small successes” that occur while working toward long-term goals.

Ms Elston emphasised the importance of determination, but also of taking time out to “have a meeting with your mind”, and of having fun at work.

Sally Penni, barrister at law and founder and chair of Women in the Law UK, said: “Ultimately the legal profession is a business, so it was really useful to hear the stories of women who have overcome all kinds of hurdles to achieve massive commercial success.”

In September, Women in the Law UK will officially launch in London.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Is your law firm protected from ransomware attacks?

Ransomware attacks can have devastating consequences for law firms, including financial losses and reputational damage – and it’s not just the large firms that are being targeted.

Planning your office for the next generation

We strongly believe lawyers now and in the future will want and value a space that’s not their home to work from and, most importantly, a space to connect and collaborate with colleagues and clients.

Why lawyers should be thinking about sustainable development

The UN Sustainable Development Goals have been permeating all aspects of the legal profession – from their impact on everyday clients, to their relevance for big businesses.

Loading animation