Professional Female

Legal seminars in London

AWS London hosts Legal seminars covering a wide range of subjects within the Legal profession. These are great to keep up to date and gain knowledge. 

Our guest speakers have a wealth of knowledge and experience so can answer your questions and give you real-world advice.

Our seminars are held in London so become a member today to come and join our women's only association.

Christl Hughes

Christl Hughes


Christl Hughes is the current Chair of Association of Women Solicitors, London having joined the AWSL Committee in 2014, and a past Chair of the former national Association of Women Solicitors. She was admitted as solicitor in 1980 and was in High St litigation practice for 30 years before retiring in 2011. Her office in Leicester city centre was very near to the burial site of King Richard III and when his bones were found and identified she realised the royal ghost had been haunting her as she sat at her desk dictating at night. On retirement she held the position of Trustee and Secretary of the Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES) for 9 years including representing the gender reassignment protected category on the national Crown Prosecution Service Community Accountability Forum. Having been appointed a trustee of The Solicitors Charity in 2014 she was elected Chair of the board for 3 years 2015/18 and currently chairs the Awards Committee. Christl is Secretary of Leicestershire Medico-Legal Society and only the second solicitor and first woman in 170 years to hold twice the office of President of Leicestershire Law Society. Christl was awarded the MBE in 2020 for her services to Equality & Charity. Her hobbies include walking and reading novels.

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Renee Wright

Deputy Vice Chair

Renee is an Associate Solicitor at Pennington's Manches Cooper LLP, based in their London office. She advises on catastrophic personal injury claims and has a specialist interest in high-value brain and spinal injuries, as well as amputation claims. Prior to joining Pennington's Manches Cooper in 2018, Renée attended inquests, worked on death row cases in Mississippi, and assisted the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in phase 1 of the public inquiry. Renee is a first generation university student, ethnic minority and female lawyer who is passionate about supporting others from similar backgrounds. She is a mentor for students from low socio-economic backgrounds and an active member of the Gender Committee at PMC. Renee has also lectured to secondary school students under the module of crime and punishment.

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Vicki Sales


Vicki qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and specialises in private family law matters to do with children and financial arrangements. She is a senior solicitor for a boutique law firm in South West London, Helen Pidgeon Solicitors, practicing only in family law matters.  She has both national and international clients. After qualifying she spent the first few years with a couple of High Street firms practicing in civil claims on a variety of matters which has given her a broad approach.  Vicki is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law panel. She is a member of the family law group known as Resolution which adopts a conciliatory approach to their practices. Vicki has been a member of the AWS London group for more than 15 years.  After attending many enjoyable sociable social events and seminars, she has finally stepped up to the challenge of being on the committee.  

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Emma Kendall


Emma joined the committee in 2016 after having attended a number of AWSL events. Emma qualified as a solicitor in 2014. She currently works at Fieldfisher and specialises in medical negligence litigation.

Emma is keen to promote women’s interests across the profession and believes that only by working together will we achieve equality and fairness.

We promote and support women’s interests in the legal profession

We provide a forum for members’ achievements on our website and newsletter

We enable professional development through educational events, networking, social and mentoring opportunities

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Margaret Hatwood

Membership Secretary

Margaret was a family law partner in Anthony Gold from 2009 until she retired from professional life in 2018. Margaret has had a keen interest in women’s rights since she was 13. This was a significant factor in her deciding to become a lawyer. She joined the AWS London’s committee in January 2011 and was chair in 2014/2015. During her time as chair Margaret rashly committed to run a half marathon raising over £1000 for Womankind, a charity protecting the rights of women in Latin America, Africa and Asia. AWSL also raised considerable sums for the charity. Amusing fact: Margaret collects countries and she has visited 105 so far which she says is: “not bad for someone who has not had a “gap yah”.

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Lydia Gu

Committee Member

Lydia joined the AWSL committee in 2021 as a newly qualified solicitor. She moved to London to study mathematics at UCL before deciding her real passion was law and qualifying as a solicitor in London.

Lydia has previously worked for medium and large global corporations and law firms in both the UK and China. Followed by having worked for corporate solicitor law firms and a Barrister Chambers in central London, she extended her business legal knowledge in supporting both corporate and high-net-worth individual clients.

Lydia is keen to promote and build diversity, inclusiveness, and equality for women who are working in the legal field.

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Pauline Lyle-Smith

Committee Member

School: Redlands, in Sydney BA LLB: University of Sydney. College: The Women’s College Carillon Avenue Newtown Residence: International House City Road Sydney She practised law in Sydney at Freehill, Hollingdale & Page (now Herbert, Smith Freehills) a leading international law firm. After coming to the UK, she founded, established, and developed the unique and successful system of document exchanges (DX) in the UK, Ireland and North America. She was instrumental in having the UK Post Office monopoly law relaxed, and the law changed to make service of documents ‘good service’ under court rules. The DX system began with the legal and insurance sectors but was extended to a wide range of businesses and organisations including government departments. It is now a successful logistics company. She then set up and edited the UK Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession. This assesses and ranks in their specialisations the leading law firms, barristers’ chambers, solicitors, and barristers across the UK, and which is now a brand leader in its field internationally. She carried this knowledge forward to help publish Legal Profiles across Australia. She has also assisted in the establishment of leading legal magazines. She has served on various Boards and Committees (see below) and has been closely involved in assisting the local community and businesses in Hammersmith and Fulham for over 30 years including two years as being Mayoress of Hammersmith and Fulham. She is very involved in the interface of the relationship between Britain and Australia. Qualified to practise law in NSW, (Australia), England & Wales and the USA (NY State). Boards and Committees. She was Chairman of the University of Sydney UK Alumni Association (USUKAA) for eight years, was 2011 Chairman of The Cook Society (formed by Robert Menzies and Alec Douglas Home in 1969), was a member of Menzies Centre Bicentenary Scholarships and Fellowships Selection Committee, has served as board member of Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservative Association, and as Mayoress of Hammersmith and Fulham 2011/2012 and 2013/2014. She is Deputy Chairman of the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust (BASET) which oversaw the Arthur Phillip Memorials in the UK in 2014 (the bicentenary of his death), including a memorial in the main aisle in Westminster Abbey, the armillary in Bath and memorials in the New Forest and which is now concentrating on educational grants. She is on the committee which oversaw the construction and siting of the statue to Matthew Flinders in July 2014 (the bicentenary of his death). (This was by unveiled by Prince William at Australia House and is now on public view at Euston Station). She Is a trustee of the Friends of the University of Sydney Trust, a committee member of The Cook Society, Brand Ambassador of the DX, a Council member of USUKAA and was a member of the Menzies Australia Institute Advisory Board at King’s College London 2015 to 2020.

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Virginia Cannon

Committee Member

Ginny is a retired commercial solicitor. Most of her working life was spent at British Telecom as a corporate and commercial lawyer dealing with a wide variety of both UK and international transactions and contracts, mainly for its international division. After a stint as BT Broadcast Services’ first sole dedicated lawyer, she became BT’s International Compliance Manager. She left BT in 2003 when the international division was sold and went back to work for 7 years in a part-time position dealing with London Underground’s PPP and PFI Contracts. Ginny retired in 2010. She joined the AWS London Committee in 2012, was Secretary from 2013 to 2016, and Chair from 2020 to 2021. Chair of the Friends of Moorfields Eye Hospital until 2021, Ginny is now Chair of The Solicitors’ Charity (also known as the SBA), and also Chair of the Investment Managers’ Charitable Trust. She is senior Steward on the Court of the City of London Solicitors’ Company, and Vice Chair of that Company’s Charities Committee. Ginny enjoys using her experience to help the Association in its work to support the success and wellbeing of women lawyers. Her interests include a passion for opera and ballet, and for finding out what makes people tick.

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Mine Toufeq

Deputy Vice Chair

Mine Toufeq is an LPC graduate who specialised in Mergers and Acquisition, Intellectual Property Law and Commercial Law. During her undergraduate studies, she volunteered as an intern at the Bar Bro Bono Unit and Triage legal helpline to aid individuals with no means of access to legal services. Her work involved helping distressing cases such as abuse of young girls and deportation of young adults who were worried for their safety. She is passionate about campaigning for women’s rights as there is still an alarming gap between the employment rates of women and men in the legal profession. Mine considers that women are still stigmatised and thus offered fewer opportunities to work in the legal profession and joined AWSL to help break this stigma and make a difference to the system.

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Suleikha Ali

Committee Member

Suleikha joined the committee in 2016 after attending a number of AWS events over a number of years. Suleikha qualified as a solicitor in 2013. She is a Senior Associate at JMW Solicitors LLP where she practises exclusively in clinical negligence. She is a member of AVMA (Action against Medical Accidents ) and accredited member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Suleikha is also a committee member of Black Women in Law

Suleikha is passionate about women's rights.  

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Nicola Wainwright

Committee Member

Nicola qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence. She is currently a Partner in niche London firm Leigh Day & Co, where she practises exclusively in clinical negligence. She works solely on behalf of Claimants in claims arising from a wide range of negligence and injuries. Nicola is a Law Society clinical negligence panel member. She is a member of AVMA (Action against Medical Accidents) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. She joined the AWS London Committee in 2010, having attended many excellent London AWS events over the previous years. Nicola is a past Chairwoman of AWS London.

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Beth Balkam

Committee Member

Beth is a Corporate Associate at Farrer & Co after qualifying as a solicitor in September 2021. She advises a broad range of clients on a variety of transactional and advisory matters, and is particularly passionate about promoting female entrepreneurs and investors. Beth is also a Diversity & Inclusivity Champion at Farrers, and sits on the committee for the firm’s Women’s Network. Prior to joining Farrers, Beth studied English Literature at Durham University and a Masters in Gender, Society and Representation at UCL before completing the GDL and LPC at BPP Law School. Beth joined the AWSL committee in 2021.


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