Women in the Law UK founder wins two major awards in the space of a week


04 July 2019: Sally Penni, founder of the Manchester-headquartered national professional development and support organisation Women in the Law UK, has been named the winner of two major awards in the space of a single week.

On Friday 28 June the high-profile barrister and diversity champion won the Women’s International Networking (WIN) “Manchester Inspiring Women Worldwide Award”. The following Monday, 1 July, she was named 2019 “Woman of Influence” at the English Women’s Awards – North.

The WIN Inspiring Women Worldwide Award was presented to Miss Penni at the Manchester WINConference, a full-day conference and gala dinner organised by the international women’s leadership and professional development group. The event was took place at the Alliance Manchester Business School on 28 June 2019.

The English Women’s Awards – North, which are decided by a combination of public vote and independent judging, were presented at a ceremony at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on the evening of Monday 1 July 2019. Miss Penni triumphed in the “Woman of Influence” category, highlighting the strength and breadth of her work to address issues of diversity and social inclusion in professional life.

In addition to chairing Women in the Law UK Miss Penni is a successful barrister-at-law, practising out of Kenworthy’s Chambers, and is vice-chair of the Association of Women Barristers. Outside of the law she carries out a number of non-executive director and trustee roles, and sits on the Board of Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

She lives in Manchester with her husband and three children.

Sally Penni is a sought-after public speaker, regularly being asked to present on the topic of diversity in the legal profession. Recent speaking engagements include last month’s Women in Law Summit at Olympia in London, the largest event of its kind in Europe, and an event held by law firm Brabners to celebrate National Diversity Week in June.

She also speaks regularly at universities around the UK, most recently sharing her insights and experience with students at Newham College Cambridge, and is committed to working with young people to raise their aspirations. On 2 July 2019 she attended the Diana Award ceremony in London as an invited guest of its chief executive Tessy Ojo and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mentoring, in recognition of her work mentoring young people as a barrister, and speaking at schools and universities.

Miss Penni has won a number of awards in the past and features on the Northern Power Women list. She was identified by I Love Manchester as one of the city’s 22 most influential women in a list announced to coincide with International Women’s Day earlier this year and was a finalist in the 2019 Inspiring Women Awards.

Miss Penni said, “I am honoured, proud and humbled to have won not one but two awards in the last few days. When I founded Women in the Law UK I did so because I felt women in the legal profession needed to support each other to help address the serious problems we have with female retention and representation in senior roles in our profession.

“Winning awards like these shows that what we are doing is striking a real chord, and not just in our profession. They also provide a real boost because they represent recognition not only of the importance of encouraging diversity at the highest levels but also of the very real achievements made by our organisation.”

Women in the Law UK was founded in Manchester by Sally Penni to provide support to women at all stages of their legal careers and to address the gap in female representation in leadership roles within the profession. It has more than 700 members and operates nationwide.

The organisation runs a wide-ranging programme of events in the North West and over the past year has held its first formal gatherings in London, Leeds, Liverpool and Edinburgh. It held its first events in Birmingham and Glasgow in June and plans to launch in more UK cities over the course of 2019.

Earlier this year Women in the Law UK launched a new Charter for barristers’ chambers, law firms and legal businesses that are actively trying to bridge the gender gap in the legal profession and are actively promoting employee wellbeing.

Other criteria for awarding the Charter include actively promoting the retention of female talent in the legal profession, actively promoting the progression of women from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and demonstrably supporting the activities of Women in the Law UK.

Women in the Law UK’s events are held under the Chatham House Rule, enabling speakers and audience members to speak freely and learn from each-others’ experiences in a confidential environment. Previous events have covered subjects including career progression, why lawyers need to sit on boards, how to network and make it work for you, and what lawyers can learn from inspiring businesswomen.

To book places at Women in the Law UK events readers should visit www.womeninthelawuk.com or book directly via www.eventbrite.co.uk. Individuals and businesses that are interested in joining Women in the Law UK or applying for the Charter should email womeninthelawuk@gmail.com.


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