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Introducing the Laurence Simons Women in Law logo

Posted by: Laurence Simons 31/05/16

This is a great day for Laurence Simons. For some time now we've been hosting Women in Law events, including in London, Dubai, and São Paulo with the aim not only to strive for equality in the workplace but also to celebrate female achievement and the successes resulting from the work of so many thousands of female lawyers around the globe. This logo and the Women in Law brand is our promise to continue running similar events, to continue publishing new research and to carry on raising awareness of Women in Law and the ensuing public debate with a focus on equality. 

We had a tough time selecting from so many inspiring characters. We revisited Roman Britain and were awed by Boudicca, the Greek accounts of Astraea, the unceasing energy that drove Eleanor of Aquitaine in the Middle Ages.

But we kept coming back to Themis. Themis personifies all of what we want to convey with our Women in Law brand.

Throughout ancient mythology, divine personifications of law and justice have almost all been female. The representation of justice as a female goddess carrying balanced scales dates back to the Egyptian goddess Ma’at, the Hellenic deities Themis and Dike, and later Justitia in Roman mythology. However the female embodiment of justice that adorn modern courtrooms today is derived from the Greek Titaness, Themis.

Described as ‘of good counsel’ the Greek goddess was a divine representation of law and order. Many classic and contemporary depictions show her blindfolded, holding a sword in her right hand and a set of perfectly balanced scales in her left. She presided over both the gods and man and was described as the organizer of the "communal affairs of humans, particularly assemblies.”

Themis’ blindfold represents objectivity and impartially, integral elements of both ancient and modern law. The goddess, who had the power to foresee the future, is thought to have worn a blindfold to prevent her abilities from obscuring her judgement. Her sword represents not only her divine ability to cut fact from fiction but also appeals to the concepts of enforcement and restraint. While her scales, which hang perfectly balanced represent the unbiased weighing of evidence.

When considered together the three main attributes of Themis’ modern iconography suggest that those who preside over justice must be highly skilled, able to wield and use the sword without disrupting the balance of the scales, and being able to establish when the scales are balanced without the use of sight. The attributes also elude to the need for balance throughout modern legal systems, which is a concept we often bring to the front of our articles and debates.

The core elements of justice remain unchanged since the emergence of Themis as a divine representation of law in ancient Hellenic mythology, and so it is somewhat unsurprising that the goddess remains an allegoric personification of moral force in modern justice systems.

The historic representation of justice as female, should add weight to the argument that female qualities are crucial to the preservation of justice. We celebrate the initiative taken in firms and organisations that acknowledge the integral role of women in the legal sector and we will undoubtedly see them reap benefits of more diverse workforce in rising to the top of the market.

 

 

Tagged In: Women in Law
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