Dana Denis-Smith | CEO, Obelisk Support and founder, First 100 Years campaign

Photograph of Dana Denis-Smith

Dana Denis-Smith is the CEO of Obelisk Support and the founder of the First 100 Years campaign.

A TedX speaker, Dana is regularly invited to address industry events and comment in the media on gender equality, entrepreneurship and legal technology. In 2020, she was recognised for her work as a women’s advocate and champion of gender equality with the Special Contribution Award at the Women in Law Awards. In 2019, she was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Legal Services by The Legal 500 and, in 2018, she was voted Legal Personality of the Year at the LexisNexis Awards. Most recently, Dana has been shortlisted in the 2022 FT Innovative Lawyers Europe awards and she was awarded her second honorary doctorate in laws from the University of Glasgow in recognition of her contribution, achievements and positive impact on the legal profession in June 2022.

In 2010, she founded Obelisk Support to provide flexible legal solutions to FTSE100 and law firms by working with lawyers that needed to work remotely and more flexibly around their family or other caring commitments. Obelisk Support was highly commended at the 2022 Lawyer Awards for ‘Law Company of the Year’ and is again ranked in Chambers and Partners 2022 as a leading service provider – praised by clients for being “commercial and flexible”. In 2020 Obelisk Support won Supplier of the Year at the Women in Law Awards.

In 2014, Dana founded the First 100 Years, a national charitable campaign to celebrate the first 100 years of women in the legal profession in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Under Dana’s leadership the campaign has created a lasting legacy for future generations of lawyers, involving institutions such as the British Library, Supreme Court and The Law Society. As of 2020, the campaign is now replaced by the Next 100 Years, focusing on the future of the legal profession for women.

What one action would you like to see organisations, or the government take to drive gender equity?

I would love everyone to agree that we need to enforce equal pay for equal work – it’s been the law for 50+ years and women are still undervalued – equal pay is essential in helping women stay in and advance at work.

Eliminating the gender pay gap is the one commitment I would like to see take higher priority for all.