Female Tech Law Heroes: Nominated by you

March 6, 2020

December 2019 marked 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 received Royal Assent, the Act that allowed women to be admitted as solicitors and not to be barred from judicial office.

As part of the celebrations of that event the SCL Women in Technology Law group asked members to nominate their female tech law heroes of today and now, to mark International Women’s Day, we are delighted to share some of the nominations (in no particular order) below.

Thanks to every one of you who took the time to celebrate your peers.

1. Susan Singleton, Singletons

“Her energy is unsurpassed. She has written an incredible number of books about IT law (last figure I heard was – 27!) and has lectured frequently in this area. She has also set up her own very successful law firm and raised 5 children (almost entirely on her own). She is also a genuinely nice person and is very self-effacing. In her spare time she is an accomplished musician. I feel tired listing just some of what she has done.”

Jeremy Holt, Partner, Commercial, IP and IT, Clark Holt

2. Christina Demetriades, Deputy General Counsel, Accenture

“Christina is an inspirational role model. She champions and supports others, leads by example and has the unique and incredible ability to break down barriers while building teams.”

Liz Osako, Legal Director, DLA Piper 

3. Eleonora Rosati, Of Counsel, Bird & Bird LLP

“I met her few years ago. Although she has an important cultural background, she maintains a humble and helpful attitude towards her colleagues and especially towards the students. 

As I’m a law PHD student, I consider her a really good example to follow!”

Valentina Borgese, Ph.D. Student in Private Law, Roman Law and European Legal Culture at Pavia University

4. Zoe O’Sullivan QC, Serle Court

“She is a tech law hero because of her substantial voluntary work encouraging junior female lawyers in her field. She volunteers as a mentor under a scheme set up by the Middle Temple Hall Committee and separately under the Bar Council Mentoring Service. On top of this, she is generous with her time providing informal advice to a number of junior women barristers. Zoe attended a comprehensive school, was the first lawyer in her family, and is a working mother who has taken time off to have children. She has risen to be a star of the IT Bar, with Chambers and Partners UK 2019 describing her as someone who is “fiercely intelligent” with “strong analytical skills in dissecting facts and applying legal principles”. She is an inspiring figure who richly deserves a place on the SCL list.“

Lucy McCormick, Barrister, Henderson Chambers

5. Alicia Speake, Senior Legal Director, Expedia 

“The reason for the nomination is because as well as working on major technology transactions within Expedia, Alicia is also a pro cyclist. Alicia has made a strong name for herself in British Cycling having competed has cycled for various clubs (such as Team LDN and CC London.

I had the opportunity of working alongside Alicia whilst I was on secondment and I saw first-hand her commitment to her career and cycling, balancing the two with seamless grace whilst also being open and honest about the challenges within each. I found Alicia very inspirational and an amazing female tech hero to learn from!”

Sophie Lipton, Solicitor, Pinsent Masons 

7. Vivien Lantree, Senior Privacy Lawyer, BT

“Vivien was an informal interim supervisor for my first training seat at BT and she was really good at digesting the technical info about tech to make it more accessible and understandable by all! She’s also ace at applying current and future law to see how it’ll impact any tech developments. Boss lawyer!”

Luxika Ellalan, Trainee Solicitor, Consumer Partnerships, BT

8. Dame Caroline Sheppard OBE

“While I must declare an interest as an employee of the Tribunal, Caroline’s career and credentials speak for themselves in the judicial and tech space. She has contributed a lifetime’s work to an often overlooked and negatively perceived, but essential part of the way town and city communities ebb and flow.

Caroline has been Chief Adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal since 1999 and she is a digital champion, taking a leading role in the development of the Tribunal’s award-winning online appeals management system – a platform that has facilitated increased workload and accelerated outcomes, while significantly reducing costs.”

Patrick Duckworth, Traffic Penalty Tribunal

9. Sophie Walker, CEO and Founder JUST: Access Ltd 

“Sophie Walker is an inspiration to many aspiring techlaw entrepreneurs – both male and female! She leads JUST: Access Ltd, a social enterprise committed to demonstrating that technology can improve justice. 

Recognising the strength of collaboration, she regularly meets with and connects folks who are working in this space and is well known both online (for her cheeky tweets) and offline leadership. 

To say she is an inspiration is an understatement; she not only encourages me and others to be ambitious and strive further than we originally thought possible, she is willing to listen and learn from others, recognising where her weaknesses are and finding experts who she can collaborate with so that as a team, we can achieve more.”

Emily MacLoud, Product Manager, JUST: Access

10. Alice Stephenson, Founder and CEO, Stephenson Law

“Alice’s path to law is really inspiring and she is a fantastic lawyer and role model for all of us. She is incredibly ambitious and motivated to build an alternative law firm which fulfils the needs of both its clients and its employees. And she still finds time to hit the gym!”

Ed Boal, Senior Solicitor, Stephenson Law

11. Professor Sofia Ranchordás, Public Law, University of Groningen 

“There are many reasons why I want to nominate Professor Ranchordás as my hero, but I will highlight one of them. 

As a professor, she always takes special interest in her students and seeks ways to empower young students. In her free time, Professor Ranchordás mentors many of her (former) students. As a mentor, she shares her (life and) academic experiences, wisdom and technical expertise. She listens and supports her students and actively helps them to become the best version of themselves. 

She often actively seeks to inspire them for law & tech related topics. Thereby she shows students parts of academia that students normally would not see (for example she motivates student to transform student papers into journal articles, encourages them to present their bachelor/master thesis’ at international conferences etc)

Professor Ranchordás is the person who inspired me to pursue a PhD on the regulation of person data in the public sector. Next to being my biggest academic inspiration, Professor Ranchordás is also a personal role model for me. It is my honour to nominate Professor Ranchordás as my female hero!

Fatma Capkurt

12. Paula Barrett, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland International LLP

“It is difficult to sum up in a short paragraph the myriad ways in which Paula inspires those in her team and her clients. She has worked as a full-on tech lawyer and Partner for many years (and was one of the first female practitioners in the sector when she started) before moving to focus in the data protection, cybersecurity and privacy and information law world. Since then she has worked to create one of the largest specialist privacy and cyber security teams globally, comprising over 100 lawyers worldwide. She was one of the first women in the firm to reach equity partnership. In developing her practice and career, she shows the lawyers in her team that there doesn’t need to be a limit to your ambition. She also shows us that it is important to have interests and a life outside of law, which is not as commonplace as it should be in this era where junior lawyers now crave a balance. She mentors us without us really realising, guiding us on technically challenging matters, empowering us through example and coaching to develop. Under Paula’s leadership, we never feel that we are working in a male-centric tech sector, and we are proud to work as part of her truly diverse team. “

Rebecca Sherry, Senior Associate & Lizzie Charlton, Senior Associate Professional Support Lawyer (Data Privacy), Eversheds Sutherland International LLP