A NEWCASTLE-BORN single mum who emigrated to Hong Kong where she set up her own law firm has seen it clinch two prestigious awards.
Julia Charlton, who was born in Gosforth and grew up in Cleadon and South Shields, established Charltons Solicitors 14 years ago, having arrived in Hong Kong in 1987.
Now, in the space of three months, her law firm has been named Hong Kong’s Boutique Law Firm of the Year and its top Independent Law Firm.
Kings College-educated Charlton is no stranger to picking up awards having been named the province’s Professional of the Year back in 2008.
Approximately half of Charltons’ associates are women, as are most of its partners, while women are in the majority in the firm’s Beijing and Shanghai offices, which are also both also managed by women.
Charlton said she shaped her firm’s progressive work practices on the basis of her own experiences as an over-worked single mother of four. Three of her children have now graduated from Oxford University, and the fourth is currently completing a medical degree at King’s College, London.
She said: “Women now outnumber men in many law schools, and they are becoming more and more successful in the workplace.
“But many are held back by other demands and we want to help lead the way so more can make it to the very top.”
Charltons has developed particular strengths in the resource sector, and is a long-term adviser to a number of large Chinese miners and state-owned enterprises as they expand internationally.
It has worked for some of major players in the Australian mining boom and next month will open an office in Yangon in Myanmar.
A fluent Mandarin-speaker, Charlton has been a Visiting Lecturer at Nanjing University, and is treasurer for the Friends of the London School of Economics in Hong Kong.
She and her son Jeremy founded the Asia Education Foundation, while she and daughter Olivia have established the Asia Environmental Foundation.