One Cheshire lawyer is helping readdress the balance at the top of the legal profession

By Rich Wilcock

8th Mar 2023 | Law

Anna Rushton at the Step Legal offices (Image - Anna Rushton)
Anna Rushton at the Step Legal offices (Image - Anna Rushton)

Working in law as a woman is not one of the easiest paths one can take in life, juggling work and family commitments is a challenge that many women must do daily and as they move further up the ladder, it often is harder to take the next step.

As we celebrate International Women's Day today (8 March), we look at some of the challenges faced by women in law with Anna Rushton, Senior Solicitor at Step Legal Solicitors, based in Crewe.

Juggling work with a family life can be hard but very rewarding according to Anna (Image - Anna Rushton)

Anna has been working in personal injury law for over 17 years and chose that sector because she wanted to make real tangible differences in people's lives. After quickly moving up the ranks, she became Head of Personal Injury in 2020.

However, Anna's success story is not necessarily mirrored across the country.

In fact, the issues that women in law have, have been quite stark. The Law Society's most recent report estimates that 52% of practising solicitors in the country are women. This tipping of the scale to most women practising law rather than men is a reasonably new development, with 2017 being the first year that it was reported.

However, nearly 40% of male solicitors in private practice are partners, with only 18% women, and the added pressures that practice partnership can bring, Anna believes, may put some women off.

She says, "The gender gap at partner level within law firms continues to be wide with far fewer women holding partner level positions than men."

She adds: "I do consider that women can be put off applying for more senior positions due to the responsibilities and hours this inevitably requires on top of what they are already juggling within their families and home lives."

For Anna, knowing that she has the backing and confidence of her colleagues at Step Legal has helped her juggle all her responsibilities, which for women solicitors, is a common issue.

She juggles her family life with her role but ensures that she does not miss out on career progression, remaining focused on the two most important parts of her life.

Anna is one of the leading solicitors in the country for gas explosions (Image - Step Legal Solicitors)

Anna says, "To ensure that I can do what I need to do, I prepare and organize my days to be as efficient as I can to try to avoid work time creeping into family time and vice versa.

"It helps hugely that I work in a firm where the importance of being a parent is recognized and is geared towards helping employees strike the right balance between their work life and their personal life."

Anna's career to date has certainly had its fair share of challenging cases, including helping a client win compensation after a fireball explosion left them with life-changing injuries. The challenging aspects of this case, especially in ensuring that the gas company in question accepted liability has helped Anna establish her reputation as one of the countries leading solicitors in the field of gas explosions.

And this type of case is the reason why Anna wanted to practice law.

"I chose to become a personal injury lawyer as I have a natural empathy with people, and I wanted to help victims of accidents with their recovery from life-changing injuries."

There are some shoots of positivity for women practising law, however. The most recent studies suggest that 64% of all law graduates are women and most statistics showed in the most recent studies that the gap was closing, albeit slowly. But Anna believes there is more to do in the future.

"More widely accepted flexible and practical working schemes for all genders will no doubt assist to reduce this gap and, in my own experience, to allow for a cultural shift with the family load being shared more equally between genders", Anna comments.

But as we celebrate International Women's Day, knowing that some progress is being made on all fronts is largely down to women like Anna, showing that the right balance can be struck for any woman practising law.

Find out more about Step Legal Solicitors at

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