Managing partner of Lancaster legal firm wins top award for inspirational women
The managing partner of long-established law firm Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand has been recognised at an awards ceremony celebrating inspirational women.
Jennifer Grabowski, 41, was the winner of the Women in Law category at the prestigious She Inspires Awards.
In their commendation, judges said: “Jennifer is the Managing Partner of a law firm that is over 200 years old. She is also a full-time corporate and commercial solicitor, working with local and regional businesses looking to buy, sell, grow or just protect their business.
“A mother of three, she tries to lead by example to show that it is possible to have both a family and a career to be proud of.”
Jennifer received her award from former Emmerdale actor and 2019 Strictly Come Dancing winner Kelvin Fletcher.
“I was delighted to win the award,” said Jennifer, who is married and lives in Lancaster. “It is very nice to be recognised, although I am slightly embarrassed by the attention.”
She added: “I hope it will send out a positive message to the large number of young women in the profession - to remind them that you can achieve something meaningful without having to change who you are.”
After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Jennifer went on to train and qualify at international law firm White & Case in London.
Following a four-year period with Osborne Clarke, a leading corporate law firm in the Thames Valley and South West region, she joined Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand, which has offices in Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale, in 2011. She became a partner in 2014 and managing partner three years later.
“The legal profession is the only career path I ever considered,” she said. “It is hard work but I was attracted by the intellectual challenge.
“Also, I often represent owners who are selling a business they have built up from scratch. It can be quite an emotional time for them so when I am working with them on the sale it is rewarding to make sure they get the best possible outcome and feel good about their decision.”
She said she always tries to remember that her role at Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand, which employs around 60 staff, is not just to do her own work. “It is to support and encourage every other member of our staff to do their own job to the best of their ability for the benefit of our clients and to be happy at work.”
She added: “I am proud of being managing partner at the firm. I am the first woman to be managing partner in the firm’s 200-year history and the fact that my fellow partners, for whom I have a huge amount of respect, chose me to manage this practice is a massive responsibility but also a great honour.”