Professor of Socio Legal Studies, University of Leicester
Hilary Sommerlad is Professor of Socio Legal Studies at the University of Leicester where she teaches criminal and civil justice and research methods. A political scientist and solicitor by training, one of Professor Sommerlad’s main research interests is women lawyers. She is a member of several international research groups concerned with gender and law and, in addition to numerous journal articles and conference presentations, co-authored the first study of women solicitors in England and Wales. Other publications relating to gender and diversity include papers on gender and film; professional socialisation, and legal training, and, with colleagues, she has just completed a study of diversity in the legal profession for the Legal Services Board.
Hilary’s other primary research interest is access to justice and she is a member of the International Legal Aid Group. Through a series of research projects she has mapped significant dimensions of the reform of legal aid in England and Wales and some of this work has been translated into Spanish and Japanese. Her most recent research includes a study conducted for the Ministry of Justice.
She is on two editorial boards, the convenor of the Profession, Practice and Ethics sub group of the Society of Legal Scholars, and leads a sub group of the RCSL Working Group on the Legal Profession: Legal Professional Values & Identities.
Hilary received her BA in History from Cambridge, her PGCE from Leeds, and her PhD in Politics from York.