Partner @ Keystone Law
Michelle is a skilled and highly-ranked partner who specialises in employment law and employment litigation at Keystone Law. She has worked on numerous reported and high profile cases. A regular contributor to the press and legal journals, Michelle has been published in The Times, Financial Times, Employment Law Journal, CIPD and The Lawyer, as well as being featured on BBC Radio.
When thinking about gender equality in the workplace, what have you seen as the biggest catalysts of change in this area from when you started your career?
I believe the biggest change that has helped the discussion around equality in recent years has been the #MeToo movement. The movement’s dramatic rise and impact, as opposed to a more gradual shift in behaviour, has helped drive change quicker in many professions. People are more conscious of how they act around others because of the real consequences that exist today. This was sadly lacking in the past.
Do you believe there are quick wins in the equality debate?
One clear change to make is to have CVs without names. I see this as a growing mandate for many companies as they look to have a more inclusive approach to hiring. By taking names off CVs, it automatically removes a potential avenue for prejudice and bias - and not just for gender but for minority groups as well.
What were some of the obstacles you faced and how were you able to overcome them?
I think the key to overcoming a lot of obstacles, in a professional sense, is taking real control of your career and finding a place that fits with you.
The fantastic thing about being at Keystone Law, and it’s quite akin to being a freelancer, is that if you are good at something, you can back yourself, because you’re not held back by the people in the corporate organisation you’re a part of. I’m able to create my own destiny and it’s the quality of the work that I do that has the ultimate control on my success.
Since I found a place in which I could thrive, I’ve seen my career go from strength to strength. Those things would not have happened, or at least not nearly as quickly, had I not taken control of my own career.
What advice would you give to new professionals beginning their careers?
Treat people like you want to be treated. My personal mantra is “get what you give” and because of this, I’ve been able to rise above a lot of obstacles that have stood in the way of how I want to live my life and further my career.
This philosophy has also helped me in building my own network right from the very beginning to the present day, as the people who I’m connected with and have crossed paths with can attest to how I operate and have supported me along the way. Your network has a huge impact on your career. So build it with strong foundations.