What do you do when you notice that you are the only women in the courtroom?

By Annsley Merelle Ward

You take action and join the ChIPs Network!

Post originally published on LinkedIn.

Last year, on International Women’s Day, I was in the middle of a complex patent trial in London. On that day in the courtroom there were about 40+ individuals, including the judge, barristers, solicitors, instructing in-house lawyers, experts, transcript writers and court clerks. But only 3 of these individuals were women (all solicitors from my firm, I am proud to say). Even including these 3 women, the demographic was not very diverse. This courtroom make-up is unfortunately not unusual in the patent profession in London, but one that I, together with a network of incredible women and men from industry, government, private practice and the judiciary are working to change not only in law, but in policy and the STEM fields.

So today, on International Women’s Day, I encourage everyone to  answer the call to #PressforProgress by joining ChIPs: London

We have a lot to celebrate in 2018. It is 100 years since women in the UK won the right to vote, STEM subjects are gaining popularity with female A-levels students and 64% of female QC applicants were successful in being appointed (only 44% of total applicants were appointed).

However, there is still more progress to be made. Women make up only 23% of those in core STEM occupationsone-third of MPs and just 33% of law firm partners (despite making up 59% of non-partner solicitors).

What is the ChIPs Network?

ChIPs Network is a community of individuals (women and men) dedicated to connecting and supporting talented and motivated professionals in STEM, law and government. Our members support each other through education, networking and encouragement. We champion each other to push through the barriers to women in these sectors.

Founded in 2005 by seven women chiefs of intellectual property in the U.S., it has expanded beyond those roots. Today, ChIPs is proud to have over 3,000 members and nine regional chapters in the U.S. and London. Each ChIPs Chapter represents a local community of individuals who are passionate about diversity in law, policy and technology.

The ChIPs Mantra

One of our core beliefs is to “pay it forward.” None of us achieves success on our own. For those now in a position to give back, ChIPs provides a community to  do so , while increasing  equality, diversity, and inclusion within organizations with whom we interact and society overall.

Mark your calendars

ChIPs: London launched in April last year at the UK Supreme Court, with a panel discussion and reception bringing together women leaders from the UK and US, including Baroness Sharon BowlesProfessor Jackie HunterDr Claire Craig CBERos LynchNoreen KrallCharlotte May QC and Sally Field. In September 2017, we joined forces with the Federal Circuit Bar Association and EPLAW to host a networking event and tour of the Churchill War Rooms.

In 2018, ChIPs: London will offer a range of activities and events intended to inspire, motivate and educate, while strengthening connections. The first is a session on Women and Coding, including talks geared at increasing women coders and developers in technology on 11 April 2018. This will be followed by a ChIPster reception (details to be announced soon). We have other events in the pipeline and welcome any suggestions of events you would like to see happen!

Want to be involved?

Join the ChIPs: London community today to keep up to date on events and projects. Share this post with your connections. Let me and my fellow Co-Chair, Sam Funnell know what events, training and outreach projects you wish to see. We look forward to seeing you soon!

You can learn more about the ChIPs Network here and watch the re-cap video from last year’s Global Summit here.