My legal journey; reflecting on my career
- MLP Blogs
- 8th Mar 2023
My Legal Journey – Leanne Sodergren, MLP Laws Chief Operating Officer, reflects on her career. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Leanne Sodergren, MLP Laws Chief Operating Officer (COO), reflects on her journey as a woman in the legal industry. 30 years ago, my career started as an Admin Assistant back in 1993. It was […]
By Zara GreenMLP Law
My Legal Journey – Leanne Sodergren, MLP Laws Chief Operating Officer, reflects on her career.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Leanne Sodergren, MLP Laws Chief Operating Officer (COO), reflects on her journey as a woman in the legal industry.
30 years ago, my career started as an Admin Assistant back in 1993. It was a different era, Meatloaf topped the charts, smoking in offices and pubs was still legal and Jurassic Park had just hit the cinemas. Back then, going to university was increasingly popular, however I knew I wanted to go straight into work, learning on the job and climbing the ladder the traditional way.
Starting out, the work place was very different. Women were expected to wear high heels and skirts, you wouldn’t see a woman in a brightly coloured trouser suit and trainers like you would today. And men were always in suit and ties. And of course, like many young interns, my job expectations were determined by my photocopying and coffee making skills.
Working for multiple firms across Huddersfield and Leeds, I eventually settled in Manchester in 2004 and joined Myers Lister Price as an Accounts Manager, which would grow to become the MLP Law of today. Having the opportunity to work with a team of legal professionals and make a significant impact on the company’s growth was so exciting and I applied myself with enthusiasm. Over time, I was promoted to Practice Manager, giving me the opportunity to lead my own team where I gained valuable experience.
In 2010, my whole world changed. Becoming a Mum, to my wonderful daughter, Mia, made me even more determined to succeed in my career. I wanted to show my daughter that with hard work and a supportive network, women can achieve anything. MLP Law provided that supportive network, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that they provided.
At the time it was extremely common for law firms to operate under a partnership, meaning only qualified lawyers could become partners and it looked like I had reached the summit of my career. But, to my surprise, Stephen Attree and Michael Lister called me into the boardroom one day and announced they would be changing the firm’s structure to an Alternative Business Structure (ABS), allowing non-lawyers to become partners to sit around the board table. This change provided an opportunity to achieve my career goal of becoming a Partner, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the companies unwavering support.
As a Partner, I hadn’t envisaged much more career progression, but to my surprise, in March 2021, I was promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) at MLP Law. I am proud to continue my growth and journey in such a supportive company. Without which, the goals of a young, ambitious woman of the 90’s may not have been realised, let alone surpassed.
The supportive culture, that MLP Law has nurtured, allows those who join, no matter their gender, race or religion to progress and fulfil their opportunities and potential in their journey as a legal professional. A quality that has not gone unrecognised.
In 2018, the company was awarded the Lawnet ‘Team of the Year,’ a remarkable achievement, with a team of partners made up of 50% women. We are also proud to be the first law firm to be appointed a Member of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter – a scheme working to improve employment standards across Greater Manchester.
We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all, and this is an important part of our recruitment at MLP Law. We hire the best person for the job, and we are proud to say that presently, 70% of our workforce are women.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us continue to strive towards creating an inclusive and supportive environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential. So that more people, like myself, can achieve their dreams without struggle or compromise.
About the expert
Stephen is the Owner of MLP Law and leads our Commercial, IP and Dispute Resolution teams which provide advice on all aspects of the law relating to mergers, acquisitions, financing, re-structuring, complex commercial contracts, standard trading terms, share options, shareholder and partnership agreements, commercial dispute resolution, joint venture and partnering arrangements, IT and Technology law, Intellectual Property, EU and competition law, Brexit and GDPR.
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