Gordons Announces Head of Wellness and Inclusion
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
Gordons has appointed commercial litigation solicitor and current Leeds Law Society president, Catherine Woodward, as its head of wellness and inclusion. The role has been created to place an even greater emphasis on the firm on its ongoing commitment to W&I and to raise awareness of its importance within the legal sector.
A greater focus on wellness & inclusion
Gordons has a long history of championing diversity and inclusion in the law. In 2011, the firm set out to tackle the lack of social mobility in the legal sector by launching its pioneering legal apprenticeship scheme. The firm was the first to offer an apprenticeship taking its chartered legal executive lawyers to the maximum Level 6, which is an honours degree equivalent. Current Gordons W&I initiatives include focusing on wellbeing and mental health; supporting parents to provide flexibility and enable their career progression; and celebrating women solicitors at the firm.
Catherine Woodward, head of wellness & inclusion
Catherine’s commitment to W&I in the legal sector saw her, as director of Leeds Law Society (at that time), help Leeds Law Society’s D&I committee instigate its inaugural D&I conference in September 2020. This was the first conference of its type held by any UK Law Society and is now an annual event.
Commenting on her appointment, Catherine said: “Gordons is a progressive firm and one which has always naturally embraced diversity and inclusion due to its long-established values and people.
“As head of wellness and inclusion, I have been empowered to drive forward the firm’s existing initiatives, create new ones and forge partnerships with like-minded individuals and organisations.
“Our people and our clients are fully supportive of the approach we are taking, and it is the firm’s ambition to be regarded as a diversity and inclusion exemplar in the legal sector and beyond.”
From Wakefield and state-educated, Catherine joined Gordons in 2011 and qualified as a solicitor in the firm’s dispute resolution department in 2015. She has a broad range of experience including contractual disputes, professional negligence and shareholder disputes.
A drive for a greater working environment
Gordons’ partner and member of the firm’s executive board, Victoria Davey, said: “Catherine is the ideal person to be our head of diversity and inclusion. She is hugely passionate about it. This translates directly into her drive and ambition to ensure Gordons leads from the front regarding this very important workplace and societal issue.
“Everyone at the firm is aligned in wanting to further enhance diversity and inclusion in the legal sector. Catherine will ensure we continue to deliver against that objective for the benefit of our people and clients.”