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Three Welsh female legal professionals have been celebrated for empowering other women in the profession, having each won an Inspirational Women in Law Award.

Angharad Price, Legal Advisor at the Independent Monitoring Authority, Ella Watts, a Paralegal at NewLaw Solicitors and law student La’Shaunna Williamson, now feature in the Inspirational Women in Law hall of fame, having won their categories at (listed below) at this year’s awards.

Also noteworthy is Jenine Abdo – Partner / Head of the Children & Public Law Department at Hutton’s Law, and Vice-President of Cardiff & District Law Society – a finalist in the Solicitor of the Year category.

In their 7th edition, the 2022 Awards will be expanded to form part of Spark21’s ongoing celebrations marking 100 years since the first women were admitted as barristers and solicitors in England & Wales in 1922. The celebration of the 2022 Winners will be framed by a celebration of the achievements of women in law over the past 100 years, promising a magical evening which celebrates some of the top legal talent.

Winners from Wales

In-House Lawyer of the Year 2022: Angharad Price

Angharad joined the Government Legal Department in 2021 and became the diversity and inclusion champion for the Knowledge and Innovation Group. Through her in-house role, she has worked hard to promote diversity and inclusion, and is a most deserving winner of the In-House Lawyer award category. In her last role as public law knowledge development lawyer at the Government Legal Department, she created the public law centre of excellence. This included arranging GLD’s first ever mock trial – with Victoria Wakefield QC as our female judge and trainee solicitors and barristers as advocates, it encouraged lawyers across GLD to think about how they can support and create an equal profession for future generations.

In her new role at the Independent Monitoring Authority for Citizens’ Rights Agreements, she is a member of the Ministry of Justice (our sponsoring department) Social Mobility Ambassadors and Able network (disability), both of which have schemes to encourage participation from underrepresented groups. She has already volunteered for the Able mentoring scheme and to attend social mobility events at several schools across Wales.

Paralegal of the Year 2022: Ella Watts

Ella founded the Ladies of Law platform in November 2021. This is an educational platform which promotes women in Law, aiming to help and support women to succeed in the legal profession. According to her nomination, Ella ‘reminds us that we can pursue our dreams in Law’, and as such is a very deserving winner of the Paralegal of the Year award this year.

On winning the award, Ella said:

“I am so grateful to have been selected as Paralegal of the Year for the Inspirational Women in Law Awards 2022 as part of the Next 100 Years project. To have been considered inspiring enough to even be nominated is absolutely amazing and I cannot thank those enough who took the time to nominate me. The objective of Ladies of Law from the beginning was to create an empowering and supportive platform, to highlight the value of women in law and their individual journeys. Never did I think my own journey would lead me to being Paralegal of the Year at 25. If I have inspired one woman in law in a small way, I consider that to be a massive achievement.

“Winning this award has empowered me to continue helping other women realise their potential. This is evidence that empowered women empower women.”

Her proudest project is the Connections Database, which is made up of experienced women in law who are happy to be contacted by those who need support or make contacts within the legal field, to further support each other. They have messages from aspiring and working women in law who are motivated by the platform she created which makes all the time spent on it worthwhile – ‘it truly is my passion to help others realise their potential and go for the legal career they want and deserve. I have helped women make connections which have led to job offers.’

Law Student of the Year: La’Shaunna Williamson

La’Shaunna is a young woman going into her third year of her LLB Law Degree. During her academic studies, La’Shaunna has sought to increase diversity and representation around her, and to provide an inclusive environment for all to inspire each other.

As the Blogs and Content Co-Lead position for The Neurodiverse Lawyer Project she supports neurodiverse lawyers. She said:

‘We have worked as a team to simplify the application process for training contracts by having conversations with magic circle law firms and organisations. I help their voices be heard through our website, where they can submit their articles to me which I upload. These help us create the change that is needed for the legal profession to be equal and inclusive in the future.”

La’Shaunna will undertake a Paralegal Placement Year this coming year.

What are the Inspirational Women in Law Awards?

The Inspirational Women in Law Awards seek to identify individuals from across the legal profession who are leading the way in improving equality and diversity. The awards recognise those who are both excelling in their areas of practice and are working for the changes needed to ensure women working in the law are able to thrive.