Legal Business Blogs

International Women’s Day 2022: Farah O’Brien – Corporate co-chair, Latham & Watkins London; leading individual, premium M&A

Which woman most inspired you in your career and why?

I haven’t had one role model instrumental to my career but there have been lots of different people I’ve looked up to. In particular, some of the women who were partners before me at Latham – Lene Malthasen , Jocelyn Seitzman, Gail Crawford and Catherine Drinnan who was deputy office managing partner and had a clear leadership position.

What advice would you give to aspiring female lawyers?

There is no one way to have a successful career, you should seek inspiration from lots of people in different ways and see what works for you.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘#BreakTheBias’ on gender inequality, discrimination and stereotypes – how biased is the City commercial legal market these days and what is the change that most needs to happen?

It’s unrecognisable from when I first started practising. It’s improved to such an extent that I will now notice if a meeting is all male. I think it’s been driven by the huge increase in women in leadership positions at clients who require more diversity in their legal teams. But progress is still quite slow – particularly in areas like M&A or PE, where the numbers are worse than they should be. I think it will shift over time but the question is how do we speed up the pace of change? If it continues at this pace we’ll still have a long way to go in another 20 years.