Sacha Grimm

Sascha Grimm ǀ Cooley

Sascha Grimm is an associate solicitor at the London office of Cooley, sitting in the commercial litigation department. Sascha is also the Chair of a women’s legal network called Women In Law London (WILL), which aims to tackle the poor retention rate of women in law.

Having always been passionate about diversity within the legal profession, Sascha became involved early on in her previous firm’s internal women’s group. This experience made her appreciate the complexity of the issues behind the huge loss of female talent in the legal profession and she became determined to be part of the movement to drive change.

At the end of 2013, after unsuccessfully trying to find an external women’s network focused on associate-level women (the very demographic leaving the profession), Sascha pulled together a group of lawyers and together they set up WILL – a young, dynamic, grassroots network aimed at pre-partnership and senior management female lawyers in London.

WILL launched online in July 2014, with the official launch event in October 2014. Since then WILL has acquired over 1,700 members representing more than 350 different law firms and companies in London. WILL holds frequent events and has set up a number of initiatives, working with members as well as with firms and companies directly, to drive positive change in the legal profession.

Sascha is extremely passionate about encouraging law firms and companies to invest in and pull up their female talent. She is an energetic and committed Chair of WILL, balancing this role with her day job, as well as sitting on her current firm’s internal Women’s Initiative. She regularly speaks at public events about women in law and also sits on the Executive Committee of the Equal Justices Initiative, which promotes greater diversity within the Judiciary.


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Gemma Lodge ǀ DLA Piper

GemmaLodgeWith tremendous hard work and talent, Gemma has built a career for herself in the Real Estate team at DLA Piper and is now a highly regarded associate in the London-office.

When Gemma first joined DLA Piper as an office assistant almost 19 years ago she had no inkling as to the opportunities that might lie ahead. After some challenging periods early in life - including a brief spell in local authority care - before leaving home at 16, Gemma admits that it just did not occur to her that a career in such a highly regarded profession as the law would be open to her.

After years of combining full-time work as a legal assistant with part-time study, she proudly qualified as a legal executive (in 2007) before re-qualifying as a solicitor in 2011. Gemma handles a wide range of commercial property transactions, primarily dealing with sales and purchases for institutional investors and high-value commercial lettings.

Gemma is keen to use her personal experiences to help champion the talents of others who have never even considered a career in law or who might have disregarded traditional routes to qualification due to the financial burden and risk involved. She is convinced that the ability to "learn while you earn" is the key to improving diversity in the workplace.

Gemma says "Hard work and determination aside, the only reason I am where I now am is because a woman I whole-heartedly respected in her professional capacity as a senior partner at DLA Piper took me aside one day and told me one day that I could. I can only hope to encourage others in the same fashion".


Alicia Millar

Alicia Millar ǀ Reed Smith LLP

Alicia Millar is the EME Learning and Development Manager based in the Reed Smith London office. She joined the firm in April 2014 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where she was a manager in the global L&D team. Prior to this she worked as a Training Officer for Christie’s, the international auction house.

Alicia’s responsibilities in the London office include designing and delivering the firm’s Management Development Programme and Senior Associate Business Development programme; working as a business partner with practice group leaders to deliver bespoke development initiatives; and driving the firms programme of coaching. She also has responsibility for learning and people development in the Paris and Munich offices. Outside of L&D, Alicia is co-chair of PRISM, the Reed Smith LGBT forum, and she works closely with the leadership team of WINRS - the firm's women’s initiative.

Alicia has a BA Hons in Marketing and a diploma in International Business Management from Staffordshire University. She is a qualified MBTI® step I and II practitioner, and Firo-B®, she is also an EMCC certified coach.


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Rashida Abdulai | Hogan Lovells

Rashida AbdulaiRashida Abdulai is a Senior Associate and Solicitor-Advocate within the renowned International Arbitration practice at international law firm Hogan Lovells. She acts for multinational companies on complex, high-value international business disputes across a range of industry sectors including energy and natural resources, telecommunications, consumer goods and banking and financial services.

As a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion in the legal sector, Rashida is a founding member and Co-Chair of the UK’s first inter-law firm diversity network, NOTICED, which is an initiative aimed at promoting ’Networking Opportunities to Integrate, Celebrate and Educate on Diversity’. NOTICED has welcomed more than 200 junior and aspiring lawyers to its high profile events over the past two years. Rashida is also a committee member of the Law Society's Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division.

Of mixed Caribbean and African descent, Rashida has particular interests in these geographical regions and the role of law in economic growth and development. Rashida is a key member of Hogan Lovells' Africa practice and regularly publishes articles on important legal developments and issues of interest to businesses operating in Africa, and has participated as a speaker and panellist at a number of legal and business forums both locally and internationally, including the East Africa International Arbitration Conference, held in Nairobi in July 2014 and in Tanzania in April 2015. Rashida sits on the working committees of International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) and Africa International Legal Awareness (AILA), non-profit organisations which work to build legal excellence and foster sustainable development across Africa.


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Caroline Andrews | Giles Wilson

Caroline AndrewsI am extremely flattered to have been nominated for this award but this also reflects the team ethic that we produce at the firm. I started working in law because I wanted to help families get through their most difficult moments, and my developing practise of fertility law was a natural result of that.

Through my work for the charity Verity, I have come into contact with tens of thousands of women who have personal health issues which make starting a family quite a lot more complicated than it should be. The law in this area is rapidly developing, and so through my firm I am privileged to have been able to help families understand these issues in my region. I started initially as a paralegal, and over the past 8 years I have developed to a Senior Associate with responsibilities for overseeing many younger members of staff. I am grateful for the role I have in training these , as I am able to demonstrate to them how powerful good legal representation can be in protecting and mending families.

This year I have had a paralegal specifically working on my case load and it has been fantastic in watching how with care and attention from myself as her trainer, she has developed her legal understanding of family law cases; as well as the changes in her own confidence. Both this firm and the charity I volunteer for place an emphasis on self awareness of matters to then be able to access the right professional support, and I engage in this through our social media outlets.