A TOP Greenock family lawyer is the first woman to be chosen to lead her fellow professionals locally.

Long serving solicitor Jill Carrick has been appointed Dean of the Greenock Faculty of Prosecutors, and is the first female to do so in the organisation's 200-year-plus history.

The 56-year-old, who has worked in the town for 36 years, says it is a great honour and responsibility to take on such an important role.

As she looks forward to a busy year ahead she also reflected on how far society as a whole has moved on in recent years.

Jill, a partner at Blair and Bryden in Union Street, said: "I remember not long after I arrived we were all going for lunch in the old Greenock Club in Ardgowan Square on Greenock Fair Friday.

"I was told I couldn't get in.

"Most of the guys refused to go in as well and we went somewhere else.

"I was completely taken aback, I was always brought up to believe that girls could do anything that guys could do."

She quipped: "The Greenock Club is closed now and I am still here!

"To be fair it is just about the only discrimination I have ever come across here.

"I have never encountered any problems in that way in Greenock Sheriff Court.

"It is a great place to work and everyone is so friendly.

"It is like a family."

Jill, who is from Glasgow, arrived at Blair and Bryden as a graduate 36 years ago.

Since then she has specialised in family law, working on complex child law cases, adoptions, children's hearings and divorce proceedings.

Now as one of the area's longest serving solicitors Jill has been appointed dean and will be the figurehead for the local professional body of Inverclyde's solicitors over the next 12 months.

She said: "It’s a real honour to be the first woman to become dean of the faculty, particularly this year which marks 100 years of women in law."

She takes over from her senior partner at Blair and Bryden, Alasdair Hendry, and has thanked him for his support.

Jill was appointed the new dean of the faculty at their recent AGM.

The Faculty of Procurators in Greenock has a long history, obtaining its charter in 1816 following a sheriff court being established in the town.

Jill will lead its 50-strong membership, run seminars on legal matters and host a number of social events, including its annual dinner.

She will also be represent the faculty at national level.

Alison Atack, president of the Law Society, said: “Jill’s appointment as dean of the faculty in Greenock represents another step on the equality and diversity road.”