06 Mar 2020
Spotlight: RedLaw interviews...Susannah Kintish, Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP
"I never view motherhood as a hindrance. It makes me a better lawyer and gives me a counter-balance..."
Thank you to The Lawyer's Hot 100 Susannah Kintish, Partner at Mishcon de Reya, for taking part in the second in our series of interviews marking International Women's Day. An Employment Partner, she shares with us her thoughts regarding improving female representation in firms, experience of gender-bias and balancing motherhood as a senior women in law.
Firstly, congratulations on being named in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2020 which recognises the most daring, innovative and creative lawyers - an amazing achievement. As a trailblazing lawyer, have you ever experienced any gender-bias which has affected your opportunity for advancement throughout your career?
I think it's really difficult to tell. I certainly (and fortunately) have not been subjected to overt gender-bias. Needless to say, sub-conscious bias is far harder to call-out! I actually found that, when I first moved to London, I suffered more prejudice in the workplace as a result of being a northerner!
Susannah, you have been with Mishcon for 12 years, in the role as Partner for the last three. How would you explain the culture and what makes your firm unique?
One of our core values is to foster a culture which thrives on diversity, respect for the individual and the expression of talent; one that inspires and empowers individuals to fulfil their potential and the potential of the Firm. Mishcon is a place that channels peoples interests and passions and allows them to make a career out of them.
You have worked on some of the biggest employment law cases in the UK including Pimlico Plumbers at the Supreme Court and representing the Jewish Labour Movement in relation to the referral of the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission on issues of antisemitism. Many proudest achievements to mention I’m sure. But, what’s been your worst day at the office?
That’s easy. Whenever the coffee machine is broken.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?
A florist; or a potter. Come back to me.
Statistics show there is still a great deal to be done by firms to improve female representation especially in senior roles. What would you say is the key to law firms retaining and developing women into senior roles?
Until there is equality in terms of the expectations of men and women around childcare, there is never going to be equality in the workplace. I think supporting men in their roles as fathers (for example by encouraging and offering paid shared parental leave) will really help to level the playing field.
On International Women’s Day (IWD), what is the most important message you want to send out to young women in respect of their careers?
Don’t self de-select. I think a lot of the issues that women have are because they "count themselves out" of opportunities because they assume that they can't be done in a way that suits them. Always ask the question as you may be happily surprised by the answer.
What plans does Mishcon have to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?
In partnership with Hopes and Homes for Children, we recently welcomed three female adventurers to the Firm to share their stories. From climbing mountains to surviving earthquakes, it was a truly inspiring session that perfectly marked the occasion.
You are a mother to two young children. Has motherhood hindered your ability to achieve your potential within your professional career in any way?
I never view motherhood as a hindrance. It makes me a better lawyer and gives me a counter-balance so that I can appreciate the time I have at work as well as the time that I have at home. It means I have to juggle a lot which can be exhausting but it's totally worth it!
If you could go back in time 10 years, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Probably the advice given in the above IWD question and also "don’t chicken out of getting your nose pierced".
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