Julia Salasky, CEO, Legl

Julia Salasky is a lawyer and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Legl (legl.com), which simplifies legal services for law firms and consumers alike. Julia has been recognised as the Financial Times’ Legal Innovator of the Year, one of Debrett's most influential people in law, Legal Week's Outstanding legal innovator of the year, CityAM's digital innovators power list, and by Marie Claire as a Future Shaper. Julia was previously was a lawyer at Linklaters and at the United Nations, where she led on the UN’s work on online dispute resolution and published on the topic of digital solutions to consumer legal issues. We sat down with Laura to ask her questions about her own experiences within the profession, and whether the profession is doing enough to improve diversity and equality in the legal industry.

Should the government, and professional and regulatory bodies be using a stick, or a carrot in the drive to improve diversity and inclusion within the profession? Is the profession doing enough?

Both! I actually think sticks are important, sometimes, in forcing slow systems to change. I was really moved to hear the advocacy of women like Inga Beale, former head of Lloyds of London and Tiina Lee, Deutsche Bank’s UK and Ireland Chief executive, for quotas – in a world where there is sometimes a “myth” of meritocracy. We can see that in particular when we look at the gender parity in law firms that seems to persist just until partnership, when it skews dramatically to me. We need to consider the deep-seated biases that play into how that parity falls off and think about active ways to enable women. I do think there is lots we can do positively, too, to drive diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. But we might need to take a multi-faceted approach here.

Describe an experience when someone has held you back - what should they have done differently?

I am the founder and CEO of Legl. Three years ago I was fundraising when I was pregnant and one of the investors I met with told me that no one will invest in a sole female founder. I’m proud to say that it didn’t hold me back and I went on to successfully raise two more rounds of funding. I don’t think I need to say what he should have done differently!

Who is/was the professional mentor in your life that you most admire? Why?

I’m lucky enough to have two professional mentors in my life who I admire enormously. The first is Tracy Doree, a formidable advisor and investor. She’s a brilliant sounding board with great instincts. The second is Crispin Passmore, legal consultant and former Executive Director of the SRA. He’s super solutions-driven, and not afraid of driving change in the legal profession and I love that.

Is there an awards category that intrigues you most? Why?

I’m excited by the Unsung Hero category because so many times it’s the people who are working under the radar who are having the biggest impact. And it also proves that the loudest voice doesn’t have to be the most important one.