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Ex-Irwin Mitchell duo set up London boutique employment firm

City AM logo City AM 6 days ago Hannah Godfrey
a woman standing in front of a building © Provided by City AM

Former Irwin Mitchell partners Emilie Cole and Shazia Khan have launched a boutique law firm specialising in employment and professional discipline law.

The firm, Cole Khan, is located in Chancery Lane, London’s legal heartland, across the road from the Law Society.

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Currently the firm is all-female, with just the founding partners, though it is looking to expand in the near future, even adding bodies to the business as early as next month.

The two women felt setting up their own firm was the best way to move forward in their careers in a way that they saw fit.

“I certainly felt that the more senior I became, the closer I came to that hard ceiling,” Cole told City A.M.


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“Men seemingly get an easier ride, and so that for us wasn’t palatable. Essentially, it’s just not sufficient to be told, ‘you’ve had a really great year, just carry on for another five years and you might make equity partner’, when men seem to be almost given a platform and budget in order to achieve that career progression.

“I think women have to work twice as hard as men,” she continued. “Essentially, we felt that we needed to do this to progress our careers in the way that we wanted to.”

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The pair initially met at London firm Bindmans, where they were hired in 2009 within a week of one another.

They were then headhunted by Irwin Mitchell in 2018 to set up an employment and professional discipline practice in London.

“We’ve effectively walked away from very comfortable, well-paid jobs in the City, to say that we’re going to bring something different and unique to the market,” Khan added.

The pair hope the firm will “make a difference” in society, and plan to align themselves with movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too.

“Our entire brand ethos is to empower people,” Cole continued. “We’re focusing on equality in general across the spectrum. We want to be those campaigning lawyers that really make a difference.”

The post Ex-Irwin Mitchell duo set up London boutique employment firm appeared first on CityAM.

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