Leading Leicester lawyer who switched careers at 40 gains University honour

A businesswoman and lawyer who made a career U-turn at the age of 40 has been honoured by the University of Leicester.

Glynis Wright MBE ditched a career in local government to retrain for the legal profession and has gone on to enjoy a successful second career in Leicester. She’s also used her skills to help those from less privileged backgrounds to consider entrepreneurship and provided pro bono legal advice for those in need.

Today (Thursday 20 July), the University of Leicester formally recognised Glynis’s achievements, by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate of Laws during a graduation ceremony, held at De Montfort Hall.

After accepting her doctorate, the Leicester English and Philosophy graduate addressed the hundreds of new Leicester graduates present at the ceremony.

She said: “It is hard to describe how much receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Leicester means to me. This wonderful University was the reason I came to Leicester so many years ago when I was 18 years old to study English and Philosophy. I fell in love with the University, the city and its people. 

“I have remained here ever since adopting Leicester as my home, my place of work, my community and the city in which I chose to raise my son.

“The memories I have of my time with the University of Leicester are so precious to me and without doubt embedded my loyalty to Leicester. I have tried to give back to my community over the ensuing years and will continue to do so. 

“I could not have imagined when I graduated at De Montfort Hall in July 1984 that, in July 2023, I would be returning to another graduation ceremony with the University to collect an Honorary Doctorate in Law. 

“I thank the University of Leicester from the bottom of my heart for this enormous honour.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “Glynis is living proof that you have the power within yourself to change the course of your life. She made a brave decision to pursue a new career, and I think it’s an understatement to say that decision paid off.

“I’d like to personally congratulate Glynis on her honorary award and thank her for giving up her valuable time to help our Law and Business students over the years.

“Glynis is a true Citizen of Change and an inspiration to us all.” 

Aged 40, Glynis embarked on a Post Graduate Diploma in Law at De Montfort University and then went on to the Legal Practices Course where she achieved multiple distinctions and the highest grades across three campuses, for which she was awarded the special status of Student of the Year from the Law Society. 

Leicester firm Frisby & Small then offered her a training contract. Within two years of qualifying as a solicitor she was rapidly promoted to partner level, heading up the family law department. After a further three years, Glynis took another major risk in her career by resigning from her partnership to set up her own law firm: Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors and Mediators.

Her firm grew rapidly and went on to win multiple awards including Law Firm of the Year in the Leicestershire Law Society Awards, Law Firm of the Year in the national Law Society Excellence Awards, and Team of the Year in the East Midlands Chambers Women’s Awards. Glynis also received personal recognition and was awarded Entrepreneurial Female Leader of the Year in the East Midlands Women’s Awards and Highly Commended Woman Lawyer of the Year in the national Law Society Excellence Awards, making her an inspirational and well-known female role model in the fields of law and business alike. 

After 10 years of running the law firm, Glynis successfully sold the shares in her company to East Midlands-based law firm Nelsons LLP, in 2020. On that same day, she received notification from the Cabinet Office that she was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, awarded an MBE for services to female entrepreneurship. In July, Glynis was admitted as a Freeman to the Company of Entrepreneurs at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, in London, which will allow her to contribute to its philanthropic objectives of helping those from less privileged backgrounds to consider entrepreneurship.

Glynis is also known for her extensive pro bono work within the community including Pulled Both Ways, a film project conceived by Glynis and local charity Soft Touch Arts which seeks to raise awareness of the impact of hostile divorces on children. She is a passionate supporter of local Charity Alex’s Wish for whom she has been a trustee for the past five years. She has engaged in pro bono talks and lectures to law and business students at both the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, and has run numerous seminars and talks, focussing on female empowerment, to encourage more women to run their own businesses.

Glynis was president of the Leicestershire Law Society from July 2019 to September 2020, having previously served on the Society’s Executive Committee for five years. In 2021, Glynis was elected to Chair of the Advisory Board to the Faculties of Business and Law at De Montfort University which she continues to hold, and in September 2022 she was elected to the board of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). 

Earlier this year, Glynis took the decision to leave her Partnership at Nelsons LLP in order to once again run her own business. She incorporated GW Growth Consultancy on 3 March 2023, a company specialising in business development and personal growth consultancy.