21 February 2022

Gordons appoints Catherine Woodward as head of Diversity and Inclusion

Gordons has appointed commercial litigation solicitor and current Leeds Law Society president, Catherine Woodward, as its head of diversity and inclusion (D&I).

The role has been created to place an even greater emphasis by the firm on its ongoing commitment to D&I, and to raise awareness of its importance within the legal sector.

Gordons has a long history of championing D&I 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 D&I initiatives include focuses on wellbeing and mental health; supporting parents to provide flexibility and enable their career progression; and celebrating women solicitors at the firm.

Catherine’s commitment to D&I in the legal sector saw her, as president of Leeds Law Society, 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, following its success, 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 diversity 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 broad range of experience including contractual disputes, professional negligence and shareholder disputes.

Gordons partner and member of the firm’s three-person executive board, Victoria Davey, said: “Catherine is the ideal person to be our of head of diversity and inclusion. She is hugely passionate about it, and 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.”

Employing 170 people, Gordons has offices in Leeds and Bradford. The firm’s clients include retailers AO, B&M, Heron Foods, Iceland Foods, Morrisons, Ocado and Wren Kitchens as well as construction and high-performance materials manufacturer Saint Gobain and international brewers Molson Coors.

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