August 19, 2022

Saluti Law Medi

Rule it with System

Rising Stars 2022: The UK’s Best Up and Coming Female Lawyers

This list represents the 25 women aged under 40 who are the best and brightest lawyers the U.K. market has to offer. Click through the slideshow to see who made the list this International Women’s Day. SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL PROFILES.

Senior partners at rival firms label Mayer Brown’s Electra Callan “a superstar”, having made partner just a few months ago aged just 33. She recently advised Marlin Equity Partners on its majority investment in Silobreaker.

As head of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s U.K. financial services regulatory practice, Ferdisha Snagg has advised on significant mandates including completion of Euronext’s €4.4 billion acquisition of the Borsa Italiana Group from the London Stock Exchange Group in just three weeks.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Sophie Donnithorne-Tait has made very quick career progress. She was promoted to partner at just seven years qualified while pregnant with her first child, and promoted to head of tax last year while on maternity leave with her second.

Slaughter and May’s incoming senior partner Roland Turner is who Natalie Cook counts as the biggest influence on her career since she started as a trainee at the firm thirteen years ago.

When returning from maternity leave in 2021, Rebecca Aspinwall quickly won mandates for two U.K.-firsts in the energy sector for Pinsent Masons.

The first ever individual to make the list from the Big Four, EY’s Gita Shivarattan joined its legal arm last year as partner, following a variety of both in-house and private practice roles, and has a huge list of clients.

Shortly after joining Linklaters’ partnership Sarina Williams became one of the partners responsible for the firm’s relationship with Visa, one of its key global clients.

Claire Coppel led the Allen & Overy team advising Samsung Life Insurance on its $1 billion seed capital commitment and acquisition of a minority interest to Savills Investment Management. She was first drawn to the “buzz and fast pace of corporate finance and M&A” during her vacation scheme and training contract.

Last year Ashurst’s Aimee Carroll-Hewitt played critical roles on some of the most significant M&A mandates in the market worth a combined total of £12.3 billion.

Since rejoining Hogan Lovells at the start of 2021, Akima Paul Lambert has already launched a cross-office multi-sector Caribbean Desk. She describes one of the U.K.’s top litigators Kevin Lloyd, as “undoubtedly the biggest influence in my career”.

In Susannah Amini at Kirkland & Ellis’ role as head of the fund finance team in Europe, she has helped grow the group into the largest sponsor side fund finance team.

Isabelle Mitchell at Eversheds Sutherland has acted in some of the most high profile statutory public inquiries in U.K. history, including leading the team acting for a core participant to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and delivering legal services to the Angiolini Inquiry, regarding the murder of Sarah Everard.

Leading a 25-strong Ropes & Gray team advising Baring, Asia’s leading private equity firm and a repeat client for Elizabeth Todd, on its acquisition of Tricor Group for a value of $2.76 billion, is just one example of the mandates Elizabeth Todd works on.

Susannah Kintish of Mishcon de Reya has worked on some of the biggest employment cases in recent years, from Pimlico Plumbers v Smith in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to the investigation of antisemitism in the Labour Party.

In 2020 Kelesi Blundell founded and now co-chairs Allen & Overy’s Financial Services Regulatory Diversity & Inclusion Group involving lawyers at all levels. The model has proved so successful it’s been rolled out in other practice areas across the firm.

After joining Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a trainee 11 years ago, Claire Harrop co-founded the firm’s fintech group at the age of just 27.

Jessica Gardner has recently won two large mandates from multi-billion pound corporations for Fieldfisher, and is currently advising a global coffee chain on a key competition mandate.

As co-lead of Herbert Smith Freehills’ global media and entertainment sector, Hayley Brady won a huge technology and manufacturing client for the firm last year having pitched for the work against the company’s usual advisers.

Clifford Chance’s Stavroula Vryna has some of the largest tech and social media companies in the world as clients. She is currently advising Spotify in the context of the European Commission’s landmark antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store.

Swati Tripathi at White & Case advises on some of the most high-profile mandates. Over the last two years, she’s represented the Attorney General of the Republic of Mozambique in five international arbitrations that involve claims in excess of $1.3 billion.

Originally intending to join the European Commission, Jenny Davidson was advised to first qualify as a lawyer before applying. “It turned out I was very suited to private practice”, she said, and recently made partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges.

After moving from South Africa to the U.K. in 2014, Shearman & Sterling’s Chantelle Dovey has acquired an impressive list of clients including Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

Deciding to become a privacy lawyer during an in-house secondment, Francesca Blythe at Sidley Austin has advised on notable mandates such as Arthur J. Gallagher & Co’s $3.25 billion acquisition of the treaty reinsurance brokerage operations of Willis Towers Watson.

Jenne Rennie is a key White & Case partner handling almost all of Meta’s international civil litigation. She is an example of how to balance a burgeoning career and your personal life, having been promoted to partner whilst contributing 80% full time equivalent hours.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Michelle Clark made partner just two months after joining the firm from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. She decided to become a lawyer after just a handful of EU and competition law lectures at university.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, Law.com International has spent months researching and calling for submissions about exceptional up-and-coming female lawyers from across the top law firms.

Hundreds of high-quality submissions have been whittled down to find the 25 women aged under 40 paving ways in the U.K. legal industry as the next generation of female legal powerhouses.

All candidates were judged against the following criteria: the quality of their client base; examples of driving forward the size or reputation of their practice area; the scale, significance and complexity of their deals; their client feedback and general market reputation; the standing of their mentor; and any other examples of career success and innovation.

Here are Law.com International’s Female Rising Stars 2022. Read on to find out why these 25 are the most highly regarded up-and-coming women in the industry.


Electra Callan, Mayer Brown

Electra Callan, Mayer Brown
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Partner since 2022
  • Practice area: Private equity
  • Key clients: Vitruvian Partners, Aurelius, Marlin Equity Partners

When senior partners at rival firms are labeling you as “a superstar”, you know you’re doing something right. Electra Callan made partner a few months ago aged just 33, six months after joining the firm from Ropes & Gray. She has always had her sights on the City, “the closeness to ‘big business’ appealed to the aspiring entrepreneur in me but the legal profession offered a level of stability and order to my more risk averse side.” Callan already has some significant mandates under her belt, recently acting for Marlin Equity Partners on its majority investment in Silobreaker. Callan returned from maternity leave the day the U.K. went into lockdown, and as someone who enjoys working with others face-to-face, “over the last two years, I have found myself in the office wherever possible.”


Claire Coppel, Allen & Overy

Claire Coppel, Allen & Overy
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner since 2020
  • Practice area: Corporate
  • Key clients: Aldemore Group, Aviva, Electrocomponents, Man Group, Samsung Life, Sumo Group

With clients like Aviva and mentors like Andrew Ballheimer, Claire Coppel is set to be a corporate powerhouse. Coppel led the A&O team advising Samsung Life Insurance on its $1 billion seed capital commitment and acquisition of a minority interest to Savills Investment Management. She was first drawn to the “buzz and fast pace of corporate finance and M&A” during her vacation scheme and training contract. As well as transactional work, Coppel spends time ensuring the firm’s London corporate M&A team regularly partake in the firm’s pro bono advice offering and mentors eight associates across London and Germany. As for audiobook recommendations, “Billy Connolly’s Windswept and Interesting has been making me laugh out loud recently!” she said.


Ferdisha Snagg, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Ferdisha Snagg, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Counsel since 2022
  • Practice area: Financial services law and regulation
  • Key clients: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Sixth Street, Euronext

Ferdisha Snagg’s multi-billion euro mandates and massive clients such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are testament to her position as a rising star in the legal industry. As head of the firm’s U.K. financial services regulatory practice, a role she has performed since she was an associate, Snagg has advised on significant mandates. Completion of Euronext’s €4.4 billion acquisition of the Borsa Italiana Group from the London Stock Exchange Group in just three weeks is one to note. Snagg also advises the likes of Goldman Sachs on a day-to-day basis, who describe her as “our number one port of call” and “very proactive – more so perhaps than any other external lawyer we use.”


Sophie Donnithorne-Tait, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Sophie Donnithorne-Tait, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner since 2017, London head of tax since 2021
  • Practice area: Tax
  • Key clients: Intermediate Capital Group, Royalty Pharma, Coller Capital, Helios Investment Partners

Having been promoted to partner at just seven years qualified while pregnant with her first child, and promoted to head of tax last year while on maternity leave with her second, Sophie Donnithorne-Tait has earned a market-leading reputation. Having advised the Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders on the tax implications of the $7.1 billion financial restructuring of Valaris, Donnithorne-Tait is not short of massive mandates. With numerous other commitments including as a member of the firms London Diversity, Equity & Inclusion council and co-head of the London office’s women’s firm-wide resource group, Donnithorne-Tait has little time to spare. Hybrid working has allowed her to spend time with her family, but her home office setup currently consist of “a tiny desk in my bedroom – from which the enormous “yellow and orange” tax books frequently fall off, which I am meaning to re-think…” she said.


Sarina Williams, Linklaters

Sarina Williams, Linklaters
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Dispute resolution, particularly competition litigation
  • Key clients: Visa, Lloyds Banking Group, Société Générale, Goldman Sachs, Porsche

Sarina Williams was elevated to the Linklaters partnership last year at the age of just 33 and her notable list of heavy-hitting clients is a testament to her skill in advising on the most prominent and complex disputes in the industry. Shortly after joining the partnership she became one of the partners responsible for the firm’s relationship with Visa, a key global client of the firm, and has been instrumental in developing the competition litigation practice into the fastest-growing practice in Linklaters’ global disputes team. Williams credits her senior partner Aedamar Comiskey and partner Alison Wilson for showing her “the heights that women can reach in law and the way women can support other women.”


Gita Shivarattan, EY

Gita Shivarattan, EY
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Head of U.K. data protection EY Law since 2021
  • Practice area: Data protection, focusing on financial services
  • Key clients: Goldman Sachs, Santander and Asto, Nomura, Thomas Cook and Alix Partners as special administrators, ICG, McLaren, Virgin Trains, China General Nuclear

The first ever individual to make the list from the Big Four, EY’s Gita Shivarattan’s rising star status is clear. Joining its legal arm last year as partner, following a variety of both in-house and private practice roles, Shivarattan has a huge list of clients. Thomas Cook’s recent administration saw Shivarattan working for 18 months on all data protection aspects of the administration including the repatriation of over 60,000 customers from overseas holidays. Her advice to someone entering the legal industry? Find strong and positive role models. She added: “the industry can sometimes be hard to navigate and hugely competitive to exist within and so the support and experience of others can be instrumental in providing perspective and shaping a career.” One of Shivarattan’s own key mentors is Vivienne Artz OBE, managing director and CPO at the London Stock Exchange Group.


Aimee Carroll-Hewitt, Ashurst

Aimee Carroll-Hewitt, Ashurst
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Senior associate since 2020
  • Practice area: Corporate transactions
  • Key clients: Augean, boohoo.com, Clinigen Group, JZ Capital Partners, National Express Group, PPL Corporation, Vedanta, Barclays, Citi, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, J.P. Morgan, Lazard and Morgan Stanley

Aimee Carroll-Hewitt’s key mentors include Ashurst chair Karen Davies and partner Nick Williamson, and in the last year she has played critical roles on some of the most significant M&A mandates in the market worth a combined total of £12.3 billion. Two standout in particular: advising PPL on the £7.8 billion sale of U.K. electricity distribution group Western Power Distribution to FTSE 100 National Grid, as well as National Express on its recommended all-share combination with Stagecoach Group worth £1.9 billion. Carroll-Hewitt also places championing female junior lawyers at the forefront of her practice, and is currently responsible for six female mentees. She said the main thing she juggles outside of work “is family commitments, which are about to increase significantly by the arrival of a new baby in a couple of months’ time!”  


Susannah Amini, Kirkland & Ellis

Susannah Amini, Kirkland & Ellis
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Partner and head of European fund finance
  • Practice area: Fund Finance
  • Key clients: Advent, Apax, BC Partners, HgCapital, IK Investment Partners, Investindustrial, Montagu, Nordic Capital, PAI Partners, Triton and Vitruvian

There aren’t many lawyers who can navigate the complexities of pioneering leverage finance technology and investment funds as well as Kirkland’s Susannah Amini. She recently advised Nordic Capital Fund X, a 2020-vintage fund with €6 billion in commitments, in connection with one of the largest ESG-linked capital call facilities in the European market to date. In her role as head of the fund finance team in Europe, Amini has helped grow the group into the largest sponsor side fund finance team. When she’s not leading some of the largest and most complex financings on the market, you’ll find Amini at the football ground: “I have a season ticket at West Ham so I go and watch them pretty regularly!”


Natalie Cook, Slaughter and May 

Natalie Cook, Slaughter and May
  • Position: Partner since 2020
  • Practice area: Corporate  
  • Key clients:  Prudential, Derwent London, Interserve

Natalie Cook’s first interaction with her firm, Slaughter and May, wasn’t when she started her training contract – it was when she was editing her university’s law school magazine. “[It] led me to interact with firms like Slaughters, and my interest in pursuing a career as a corporate lawyer developed from there”, Cook said. Notable mandates include advising Prudential on its strategic and structural transformation to focus exclusively on its high-growth Asia and Africa businesses. She counts her biggest career influences as her A Level law teacher and Slaughters senior partner elect Roland Turnill. Her favourite pastime is “all forms of travel”, adding: “[I] particularly enjoy seeing wildlife in its natural habitat (so am partial to the odd jungle trek)”. 


Rebecca Aspinwall, Pinsent Masons

Rebecca Aspinwall, Pinsent Masons
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Legal director since 2019
  • Practice area: Energy
  • Key clients: Centrica, E.ON, Nissan, Peterborough City Council, Ørsted

Rebecca Aspinwall is a prime example of balancing a demanding career and family life. “Most non-working days you’ll find me at a toddler music class or in the playpark! I hope my example can show other parents that it is possible to get this balance,” she said. After being asked by the head of the firm’s CleanTech practice Peter Feehan to move over to his team, Aspinwall’s booming career in the energy sector began. Working at the forefront of some of the most innovative and leading energy mandates, she recently advised a multinational energy business on a first of its kind development, selling decommissioned land for a new data centre campus powered by on-site generation and off-site renewable power. When returning from maternity leave in 2021, Aspinwall quickly won mandates for two U.K.-firsts in the energy sector.


Akima Paul Lambert, Hogan Lovells 

Akima Paul Lambert, Hogan Lovells
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Litigation, arbitration and employment
  • Key clients: Some of the world’s largest corporates, a leading tech company, pharmaceutical company, renewables energy company, oil company and British American Tobacco

“A truly transformational lawyer.” This is how Hogan Lovells describes litigation partner Akima Paul Lambert. Having trained at the firm, it was a welcome return when she rejoined Hogan Lovells at the start of 2021. Already, she has launched a cross-office multi-sector Caribbean Desk and advised on significant dispute mandates. In addition to her corporate work, Paul Lambert is passionate about pro bono and diversity pushes. She was one of the firm’s first Pro Bono Fellows, this year volunteered to spearhead a project to assist Windrush claimants, and currently serves as Grenada’s Ambassador to the Holy See. One of the U.K.’s top litigators Kevin Lloyd is a particularly keen advocate for Paul Lambert, who she describes as “undoubtedly the biggest influence in my career”. Her route into a legal career came naturally, as she explained: “I grew up in the Caribbean in the 1980’s and it seemed a natural choice for a young girl who was a dedicated bibliophile and who took every point against teachers and family members”.


Isabelle Mitchell, Eversheds Sutherland

Isabelle Mitchell, Eversheds Sutherland
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Legal director since 2021
  • Practice area: Public inquiries and investigations
  • Key clients: Core participants and interested parties in Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, Trojan Horse Inquiry, Angiolini Inquiry regarding the murder of Sarah Everard, Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Leveson Inquiry

You will struggle to find many young women who have worked on as many important public inquiries and investigations as Isabelle Mitchell. Acting in some of the most high profile statutory public inquiries in U.K. history, including leading the team acting for a core participant to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and delivering legal services to the Angiolini Inquiry, Mitchell is in constant pursuit of justice. Although originally dissuaded by her mother to pursue a career in law, Mitchell has certainly found her calling, being described as “truly inspirational” and a “shining light” by colleagues. When asked what she juggles outside of work Mitchell said: “Two rather important small people (aged 7 and 5), a needy dog, and a husband… generally in that order!”


Elizabeth Todd, Ropes & Gray

Elizabeth Todd, Ropes & Gray
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner since 2019
  • Practice area: Private equity / corporate
  • Key clients: Baring Private Equity Asia, Charlesbank Capital Partners (and its portfolio companies), TSG Consumer Partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Partners Group

Elizabeth Todd’s biggest achievement to date has been getting through her first year as partner. “I was made up when very heavily pregnant, had my second son and then a global pandemic arrived,” she said. But COVID-19 has certainly not hindered Todd’s career. Leading a 25-strong Ropes & Gray team advising Baring, Asia’s leading private equity firm and a repeat client for Todd, on its acquisition of Tricor Group for a value of $2.76 billion, is just an insight into the work Todd is doing. As co-lead of the firm’s London Womens’ Forum, Todd goes to great lengths to pass on her knowledge to more junior members in the firm – particularly those with parenting responsibilities or who are from a non-traditional legal background.


Susannah Kintish, Mishcon de Reya

Susannah Kintish, Mishcon de Reya
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2017
  • Practice area: Employment group
  • Key clients: Pimlico Plumbers, the Jewish Labour Movement, Siham Hamud in relation to her suspension from school following her refusal to comply with a discriminatory uniform policy.

Kintish’s career in law all began with a future careers multiple choice quiz in sixth form, as she puts it: “the results were binary: I should be either a lawyer or a postal worker!” Since then her legal career has not stopped. Mishcon partner and chair of employment Daniel Naftalin describes Kintish as “undoubtedly a Rising Star.” Having been involved in some of the biggest employment cases in recent years, from the gig economy case of Pimlico Plumbers v Smith in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to the investigation of antisemitism in the Labour Party on behalf of the Jewish Labour movement, it is clear Kintish thrives working on cases where there are important social or societal issues. 


Kelesi Blundell, Allen & Overy

Kelesi Blundell, Allen & Overy
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Senior associate since 2017
  • Practice area: Financial services regulation
  • Key clients: Some of the world’s largest banks, brokers, industry associations and financial market infrastructure

As “a trusted advisor” to some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, a host of mentorship and diversity work as well as some important mandates, it is no surprise that Allen & Overy’s Kelesi Blundell makes this list. In 2020 Blundell founded and continues to co-chair A&O’s Financial Services Regulatory Diversity & Inclusion Group which involves lawyers at all levels in initiatives, training and reviews. The model has proved so successful it’s been rolled out in other practice areas across the firm. Blundell has embraced the “game changer” that is hybrid working, but notes “that when you do a job that is so desk based, one in which it is so easy to disappear into your mind, email and other virtual communication – it’s important to step back into the real world from time to time.”


Claire Harrop, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Claire Harrop, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Senior associate since 2018
  • Practice area: Financial services regulatory and fintech
  • Key clients: London Stock Exchange Group, Visa, Hellman & Friedman, JP Morgan

Claire Harrop didn’t initially set out for a career in law having read physics as an undergraduate, but after “googling ‘good law firms in London’ to figure out where to apply” her rise has been swift. Joining Freshfields as a trainee 11 years ago, she co-founded the firm’s fintech group at the age of just 27. Harrop’s expertise in financial services and fintech has her leading on some of the biggest mandates in the sector, including the London Stock Exchange on its $27 billion all share acquisition of Refinitiv and related sale of Borsa Italiana, its defence of an unsolicited £32 billion approach from HKSE, and its £21 billion proposed merger with Deutsche Börse.


Jessica Gardner, Fieldfisher

Jessica Gardner, Fieldfisher
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Legal director since 2019
  • Practice area: Competition, regulatory and ESG
  • Key clients: Large retail corporations

Winning two huge mandates from multi-billion pound corporations clients for Fieldfisher, Jessica Gardner has certified rising star status. She is currently advising a global coffee chain in relation to competition law matters. As a mother to two young girls, she juggles her significant competition and auditing work on top of her role in the firm’s graduate recruitment process and a trainee supervisor, and as a champion of ESG. Gardner has successfully leveraged her role on Fieldfisher’s Sustainability Committee in conversations with clients to generate opportunities and establish new mandates. Her practical advice to young lawyers is: “Don’t forget to network from day one.”


Hayley Brady, Herbert Smith Freehills

Hayley Brady, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner and head of media and digital since 2020
  • Practice area: TMT media and entertainment and online platforms
  • Key clients: Sky/Comcast, Uber, The Arena Group, BAT, NetEase, CNN International, Alibaba, Made.com, Lyst, Reddit

It is safe to say Hayley Brady is highly regarded within the legal industry. She holds an enviable roster of global clients and won a huge technology and manufacturing client for HSF last year having pitched for the work against clients various usual advisers. Brady went on to lead the team on a very successful tender process running parallel negotiations with agencies. “Elle Woods in Legally Blonde definitely played a part in making law life look rather glamorous!” joked Brady, but her serious expertise is clear. Brady is the co-lead of HSF’s global media and entertainment sector, spends a portion of time on pro-bono work in the media and online platform space and her passion for diversity plays out in her roles as a race leader and a mentor to many up and coming female associates.


Stavroula Vryna, Clifford Chance

Stavroula Vryna, Clifford Chance
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Senior associate since 2019
  • Practice area: Antitrust (corporate)
  • Key clients: Spotify, Delivery Hero, Mastercard, Adobe, DP World, an international big tech company and a global social media company

With some of the largest tech and social media companies in the world as clients and a lengthy list of leadership roles, Stavroula Vryna’s place on the rising stars list is indisputable. She is currently advising Spotify in the context of the European Commission’s landmark antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store. Having spent five years in the firm’s Brussels office, Vryna has the upperhand to combine both EU and U.K. perspectives when advising clients, knowing the way regulators operate on both sides of the Channel.


Swati Tripathi, White & Case

Swati Tripathi, White & Case
  • Year of birth: 1986 
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Commercial litigation and international arbitration
  • Key clients: Republic of Mozambique, UK Export Finance, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Carlyle Aviation Partners

Swati Tripathi’s role model status spans City-wide. Having grown up in India and completing her law degree at one of the country’s eminent law schools before starting her career in London, she is often sought out by female associates of Indian origin across different London law firms for advice on career development. Tripathi spends her time working on some of the most high-profile mandates: over the last two years, she’s represented the Attorney General of the Republic of Mozambique in five international arbitrations that involve claims in excess of $1.3 billion, sitting across from the likes of Credit Suisse. 


Jenny Davidson, Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Jenny Davidson, Weil Gotshal & Manges
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2022 
  • Practice area: Restructuring 
  • Key clients:  JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock 

If not for a single piece of advice, Jenny Davidson may not have ended up where she is now. Originally intending to join the European Commission, she was advised to first qualify as a lawyer before applying. “It turned out I was very suited to private practice”, she said, and recently made partner at Weil Gotshal  just over a year after returning from maternity leave – something she considers her biggest achievement. “I love the creativity, fast pace and complex stakeholder management in particular”, she added. When she’s not negotiating on big mandates – such as guiding Odeon through its financial woes in 2021 – she is also negotiating with her two-year-old daughter on “whether socks are to be worn”. 


Chantelle Dovey, Shearman & Sterling

Chantelle Dovey, Shearman & Sterling
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Counsel since 2022
  • Practice area: Finance
  • Key clients: Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas

Finance lawyer Chantelle Dovey has an impressive list of clients on her roster, including Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, and has extensive European leveraged finance experience. She moved from South Africa to the U.K. in 2014 and credits her mother as her biggest professional influence: “She taught me to always do my best, to give it my all but to never at the expense of my values. She rose to the top of a male dominated industry and this gave me the self-belief that I could do the same.” Dovey is also actively involved in Shearman’s graduate recruitment activities and mentors numerous associates within the firm.


Francesca Blythe, Sidley Austin

Francesca Blythe, Sidley Austin
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Senior managing associate since 2019
  • Practice area: Privacy and cybersecurity 
  • Key clients: Arthur J Gallagher & Co, IO Biotech, Arch Capital Group

Despite envisioning herself as a lawyer early on in life, Francesca Blythe’s path to becoming a lawyer wasn’t easy. “I struggled with mental health issues during university and subsequently found it hard to get a training contract”, she explained. “I’m sure that the struggles I faced ultimately helped to shape me as the lawyer and empathetic colleague I am today.” Deciding to become a privacy lawyer during an in-house secondment as part of her training contract, Blythe has advised on notable mandates such as global insurance brokerage Arthur J. Gallagher & Co’s $3.25 billion acquisition of the treaty reinsurance brokerage operations of Willis Towers Watson. Her advice to aspiring lawyers is to speak up: “You don’t always have to be the loudest voice in the room, but your opinion is still valuable and should be heard.” 


Michelle Clark, Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Michelle Clark, Willkie Farr & Gallagher
  • Year of birth: 1984 
  • Position: Partner since 2022 
  • Practice area: Antitrust and competition litigation
  • Key clients: Daimler AG, Allianz Global Investors, Brevan Howard, PIMCO, Qualcomm Inc

“Don’t be afraid to take some risks,” is the advice Michelle Clark has for young women in the legal indsutry. The risks she has taken have certainly paid off, after deciding to become a lawyer after just a handful of EU and competition law lectures at university. Aside from making partner just two months after joining Willkie Farr as an associate from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Clark had a key role advising Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) in relation to its claims for damages following on from the European Commission’s decision in the roll on, roll off shipping cartel – a case which raised many difficult strategic issues given the number of claimants, defendants and jurisdictions involved. Outside of work, Clark can often be found horse riding, something she describes as “hugely therapeutic”,


Jenna Rennie, White & Case

Jenna Rennie, White & Case
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Commercial litigation
  • Key clients: Meta Platforms Inc./Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd, and various group companies (formerly Facebook), Goldman Sachs, Twitter, Spotify

Jenna Rennie’s impressive clients and mandates make her a prime example of a female rising star. Rennie is a key partner handling almost all of Meta’s international civil litigation, as well as almost constantly providing its legislative and regulatory advice. Rennie’s versatility means she also has a strong focus on financial institutions work, working with Goldman Sachs for a number of years on a high profile, cross-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the collapse of Banco Espirito Santo, which went all the way to the Supreme Court. She is a role model for colleagues on how you can balance a burgeoning career in private practice and your personal life, having successfully been promoted to partner whilst contributing 80% full time equivalent hours.