Commemorative toilet roll tells of female struggle to enter legal profession due to lack of toilet facilities

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By Thomas Connelly on

And you can own one for just £100…

Michael Cross/Law Society Gazette
Michael Cross/Law Society Gazette

A collection of very special toilet rolls have been created, capturing the story of how women were unable to land jobs in the legal sector — because of the lack of female toilet facilities in law firms and sets of chambers.

The special loo rolls (video embedded below) — created by the First Hundred Years Project — recounts the story of the first female member of the Bar Council, Hannah Cross. Cross, who was rejected from a number of chambers in London because of their lack of ladies’ bathrooms, eventually gained a place at 1 New Square Chambers in 1931, after promising to use the public facilities across the road in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Former Linklaters lawyer Dana Denis-Smith is the brainchild behind the project, which is entitled #OnTheRoll. A number of prominent institutions including the Law Society library and the London School of Economics have received their very own limited addition loo roll.

And if you fancy a little bit of toilet-based legal history for your own home, you can own one too, for the pricey sum of £100.

Despite an abundance of female facilities in today’s law firms and chambers, it would appear there’s still some catching up to be done.

According to Legal Cheek’s Most List, there is still male dominance at partner level across a host of top City firms. Female lawyers account for fewer than a quarter of senior positions at outfits including Linklaters (24%), Clifford Chance (20%), Freshfields (18%) and Allen & Overy (17%).

Meanwhile, last week elite magic circle firm Slaughter and May created 10 new partners, the largest round of promotions the firm has undertaken in 16 years. Unfortunately, there was something a little less than magical about this – just one of them was a woman.