Making Work, Work Obelisk In Action

Purposeful business – paving the way for flexibility and diversity

On Wednesday 9th November, Obelisk attended the second conference for The First 100 Years, run by Spark21 and founded by Dana Denis-Smith. The conference was chaired by Dame Jenni Murray, with a host of interviews and speeches from inspirational women leaders and campaigners. Awards were handed out on the day with the Inspirational Women in Law Award presented to Keily Blair, founder of the Fractio Vitri network, by Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP.

It was a great honour and particularly touching to have Obelisk’s own ethos and work directly cited by Lord Chancellor Truss in her speech to the conference. The extract from her speech is as follows, with the full text available here.

“Obelisk is successfully challenging the old-fashioned culture of ‘jacket-left-on-chair’ presenteeism. Dana’s approach of flexible outsourcing means that success is measured by results, not hours spent grafting in the office. A real boost for all working parents.

“I want to see more women and ethnic minorities taking silk and I am working with the Bar Council to take action. Currently only 13% of our QCs are women and 5% are BME; both rates have been stagnant for five years.

“I want to see more women and ethnic minorities in senior levels of law firms. I’ve had positive meetings with the magic circle, the silver circle and the Law Society on how we can widen the talent pool to people from all walks of life.”

This is a vision shared by Obelisk. We have spoken about the need for people to feel a sense of purpose and belonging in their work to reignite their confidence and motivation. The words of validation we heard at the conference this week, the feedback we get from clients on a regular basis, and the stories we share every week as part of our Snapshot series, are all fuel to the fire. It was inspiring to hear Ms Truss speak of an open mind and supporting alternative ways of working. Moments such as this propel the drive to fulfil that purpose and achieve more for all the people who have felt shut out by their profession and those who are looking for new ways of working to suit their lives, to allow them to take better care of their wellbeing and career development.


By dana denis-smith

Dana Denis-Smith is an entrepreneur, former Linklaters solicitor and international journalist who lives in London, UK. In 2010, she founded Obelisk Legal Support Solutions (Obelisk Support--, a London-based alternative legal services company built around flexible, highly-skilled professionals. Aware that the legal profession is far behind its times in terms of gender diversity, she initiated the First 100 Years project ( to celebrate the journey of women in the legal profession in the United Kingdom over the past 100 years and this project will celebrate the centenary of women in law in 2019.

In 2018, Obelisk's founder Dana Denis-Smith was voted Legal Personality of the Year at the LexisNexis Awards 2018 and Obelisk Support joined the top tier of two prestigious lists, the FT1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies and Inc. 5000 List of Europe's Fastest-Growing Companies. In 2017, Dana also won the WEConnect International Best Mentor and Role Model Award and delivered a TEDx talk on how to be remembered (based on her observations of the legal profession). In 2016, she was voted one of Britain’s five most inspiring mothers for juggling up a new business creation with family life, as she chooses to work flexibly in order to spend quality time with her young daughter.