Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, has had an illustrious career as a trailblazing judge and jurist in the United Kingdom. As the first female President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2020, she made history and inspired many through her accomplishments. But where did this remarkable woman begin her journey into law? Let’s take a closer look at Brenda Hale’s educational background and early life.
Quick Facts About Brenda Hale
- Born on January 31, 1945 in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
- Daughter of two headteachers
- Has two sisters
- Educated at Richmond High School for Girls
- Studied law at Girton College, Cambridge
- Graduated with a starred first in 1966 as one of six women in a class of 110
- Called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969
- Spent 18 years in academia, becoming a professor in 1986
- First woman appointed to the Law Commission in 1984
- Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989
- Appointed as the first female Law Lord in 2004
- Transferred to the new UK Supreme Court as a Justice in 2009
- Served as President of the Supreme Court from 2017-2020
Who is Brenda Hale?
Born in 1945, Brenda Hale grew up in Richmond, North Yorkshire as the daughter of two headteachers. She attended Richmond High School for Girls where she excelled academically and became Head Girl. After earning a place at Girton College, Cambridge, she graduated with a starred first class degree in Law in 1966.
At Cambridge, Hale was one of only six women in her class of 110 students. This foreshadowed the barriers she would break through during her career. After being called to the Bar in 1969, she built up her reputation as a top legal scholar. She spent 18 years in academia, rising to become Professor of Law at Manchester University by 1986.
In 1989, Hale was appointed Queen’s Counsel. She was the first woman to join the Law Commission in 1984, leading key reforms around family law. Her brilliance continued to be recognized and in 2004, she made history yet again as the first female Law Lord. Hale transferred to the new UK Supreme Court when it opened in 2009, before being appointed as President in 2017.
Where Did Brenda Hale Go To College?
As mentioned above, Brenda Hale studied law at Girton College, University of Cambridge. She was admitted to Girton College in 1963 at age 18 after earning a spot from her secondary school Richmond High School for Girls.
At the time, Girton was one of the only Oxford and Cambridge colleges open to female students. Founded in 1869, it became England’s first residential college for women. Even 100 years later when Hale attended, she was still part of a small minority of female students.
But Girton provided the opportunity Hale needed to excel in her studies. She read law and graduated in 1966 with a starred first, meaning her marks put her at the top of her class. Only one other student in her year achieved the same honor.
Hale’s Education Continued at Gray’s Inn
After Cambridge, Hale continued her legal education by joining Gray’s Inn in London. The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court and has called many students to the Bar over its long history since the 1300s.
Hale joined Gray’s Inn in 1966 and was called to the Bar in 1969. She finished at the top of the class in the bar finals for that year. Becoming a barrister allowed her to begin her professional career.
Time At Manchester University As Professor
In addition to her degrees from Cambridge and Gray’s Inn, Hale spent over 18 years in academia. She taught at Manchester University from 1978 onwards, becoming Reader in 1981 and then Professor of Law in 1986.
She played a key role in establishing the university’s new law school. Hale contributed significantly to scholarship on family law and authored several books. Her faculty positions allowed her to shape future generations of legal professionals.
Hale’s Trailblazing College and Career
From her early days at Richmond High School to graduating top of her class at Cambridge, Brenda Hale showed exceptional talent. She continued to break new ground at Manchester University. Although Hale faced barriers as a woman in law, her brilliance and determination propelled her onwards.
Girton College and Gray’s Inn provided the strong educational foundation that enabled her subsequent achievements. Hale’s career demonstrates how merit and perseverance can open doors. She will remain an inspiration for all those who seek to make history.
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FAQs About Brenda Hale’s Education
Where did Brenda Hale go to high school?
Brenda Hale attended Richmond High School for Girls in Richmond, North Yorkshire. She was Head Girl during her time there.
What did Brenda Hale study at Cambridge?
At Girton College, Cambridge, Brenda Hale studied law and graduated with a starred first class degree in 1966.
When was Brenda Hale called to the Bar?
She was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969, topping the class in the bar finals for that year.
Where did Brenda Hale work as a professor?
Brenda Hale taught at Manchester University, becoming Professor of Law there in 1986. She helped establish the university’s new law school.
How long did Brenda Hale teach law?
She spent over 18 years in academia from 1978 onwards. Her faculty positions included becoming Reader in 1981 and Professor in 1986.