Return to previous page

Women’s History Month – Emma Purcell

Women’s History Month – Emma Purcell featured image

Emma Purcell (LHS 1989) was named as Leicestershire Law Society's Barrister of the Year. Since leaving Loughborough High School, she has had an interesting career specialising in Family Law and also took some time away from work to have her children. She's also been involved in the Loughborough Grammar School Parents Association for eight years.

Read more about Emma in this questionnaire and find out who her Woman of the Week would be.

Do you have any standout memories from your time at LHS? Was there a particular teacher that inspired you?

I loved my time at LHS; I remember our common room was where the staff room is now, and we had the private garden to sit out in which we all loved.  I was particularly inspired by my A level teachers, particularly Mrs Armstrong, Miss Morris, Mrs Griffiths and Mr Tomblin.

What did you do after LHS e.g. University, gap year or apprenticeship? Can you explain your career path – how did you get to where you are today?

After school i took a gap year and travelled through South East Asia and Australia.  Then I studied law at Newcastle University, followed by a year at the Inns of Court School of law in London to qualify as a barrister.  I came back to Leicester to practice and have been here ever since (apart from a brief spell in Leeds). Things have changed very much for women lawyers, we have come a long way.  When I first started we weren’t allowed to wear trousers in court, we had to wear skirts.

What are your career highlights?

I am very proud to be Leicestershire Law Society Barrister of the Year 2022-23.

What have you done outside of your career that you are most proud of?

Outside of my career I am very busy with my three children, who all went to LSF – boys to LGS and my daughter to LHS.  I took a seven year career break to have children and am so glad I did – I have not regretted it for a moment.  I went back to work 15 years ago when my youngest son was 3.  I have been the chair of the LGS Parents Association for the last eight years which I have really enjoyed.

What is your top career advice?

My advice would be to do what you enjoy, and to understand that nobody has all the answers.  There is always something that you won’t know, but the skill is knowing how to find out.

Do you have any life advice or wisdom to share?

My biggest piece of advice is be kind.  Not just to other people but to yourself.

Finally, who is your woman of the week – who inspires you?

I think I would chose Baroness Hale as my woman of the week.  I went to hear her speak recently and was so impressed by her quiet intelligence.  And I love it that when she went on Desert Island Discs she did a live rendition of Ilkley Moor Bar Tat.