International Women’s Day 2019 is held to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements throughout history and across nations and is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
In celebration of International Women’s Day / United Nations Day for Women’s Rights we spoke with Louise Barretto in our Family & Divorce team to learn more about their early career and experience of working in the legal sector along with the lessons they have learned and achievements they are most proud of.
International Women’s Day 2019:
What was your background prior to becoming a lawyer?
I studied Law and Economics in South Africa
Tell us about when and why the law became your ambition?
I worked part-time assisting in a law firm and wanted a career that was exciting and challenging.
If you had one, who was your ‘female’ or ‘women in law’ role model, and why?
My step-mother who is still one of the most driven women I know.
What led you to focus on human aspects of the law (Family Law)?
The best part of my work is the face-to-face contact with my clients. I always knew that my work should include human issues rather than simply black letter law.
What were your early experiences of training in the legal sector?
Lots of late nights, photocopying and learning while drinking lots of lovely coffee. The camaraderie with other trainees was important and most remain friends more than 30 years later.
What have been your most favourite/important cases?
All my cases feel important at the time I am involved, but matters involving disputes about children carry a huge responsibility.
Are the qualities behind your success predominantly female qualities and what are they?
I don’t think my strengths necessarily stem from being female. Emotional maturity and empathy are absolute essentials, so too is having a skin as tough as a rhino. Males can possess these qualities as well!
How do you make being a mother and lawyer work, balancing work and family?
It is not easy, especially for someone who likes order. It’s important for me to keep on top of things everyday and ensure that I don’t take things too seriously. I realised a long time ago that I would only be able to be the best mother I could be if I had a career that I could be proud of.
How would you describe your career so far overall and what are you most proud of?
I am most proud to say that I am dual qualified in South Africa and here in the UK. It was a challenging move.
You can also view a video of this interview here …
The above is accurate as at 8 March 2019. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.