This International Women’s Day, Partner & Head of Family, Lisa Dawson, discusses what shaped her as a lawyer, challenges she’s faced in her career and words of wisdom for women starting their career. 

When I qualified into family law we had a large Legal aid department. Eventually the decision was made to no longer do that work and our client base moved to privately paying clients only. Whilst it was difficult from a career perspective in terms of transition I believe that my days of doing legal aid work helped mould me as a lawyer and laid the foundations of my work ethic. It was also challenging as a woman returning from maternity leave on two occasions and trying to strike that very difficult balance between work and career. However I feel that by working hard and having the support of colleagues and family I have been able to achieve this balance the majority of the time (it is far from easy and never perfect!).

To women starting their career I would say don’t be scared to ask for help whether it be work or personal life. I don’t see this as a weakness I see it as a strength. To me it demonstrates self-awareness and emotional intelligence which is vital in the work place. Whether this is that you recognise that you aren’t quite hitting the target you have set yourself, that you are struggling with whatever is going on, or just need another perspective on a problem to make the solution clearer, asking for help or advice will more often than not get it resolved quicker than trying to tackle it alone. Also if your gut tells you something is wrong it probably is, so learn to listen to your own intuition.