Sun | May 28, 2017

Laws of Eve turns 10!

Published:Monday | August 10, 2015 | 8:00 AM

Over the past 10 years, Sherry-Ann McGregor, the ardent legal mind behind Flair's popular Laws of Eve column, has covered it all. She's explored the ins and outs of divorce, writing and executing wills, maintenance issues and several other matters pertinent to women.

Barbara Ellington, who was then the Lifestyle Editor, told Flair that the idea for the column came out of a conversation she had with McGregor about her desire to do some writing. She noted that the name relates to Eve, of Biblical fame, signifying all things woman-related.

After the first column was published, there was an immediate influx of responses, and the questions started coming in rapidly. "I never thought it would go this long. I knew it was something good when other media houses started calling on Sherry-Ann," said Ellington. "Because law seems to be so dynamic and so many things emerge, I am sure she will be able to continue for a long time."

HOWITBEGAN

McGregor also didn't think that she would have been writing the column for this long. "Barbara Ellington asked me to write a short article to answer some simple legal questions to assist women to better understand their rights. We never discussed whether there would be a series of articles or a single one.

When I wrote the first article, I was absolutely terrified about how it would have been received by the public and the legal profession," she said. "I feared that the criticism would be too intense and that, worse still, I would have overlooked a legal authority or written the wrong thing! After that first publication on August 8, 2005 - 'Women, your name and your child's name' - Barbara told me that the feedback was so positive that she wanted me to do another one, and then another, and so it went on. With her creative genius in overdrive, she came up with a title for the series of articles, Laws of Eve, and the rest is history."

Here's Mcgregor's take on the last 10 years

1 Have there been any surprises along the way?

The surprises have been too many to count. The first surprise came when I realised that writing 500 words every week was very hard work! In the early days, having other lawyers, judges, lecturers and tutors tell me that they regularly read and sometimes rely on my articles to assist in their research was shocking, because my intended audience was the general public who did not have ready access to legal research material. These days, the surprise comes when I Google legal topics and see that my articles are the ones that pop up!

2 What have been some of the highlights of writing the column over the past decade?

Having someone say, "I now understand ... because I read your column" is the ultimate compliment. That truly makes me feel that we achieved what we set out to do. The first time I was a guest on a radio talk show or a television morning programme, because of something I wrote, forced me to get out of my comfort zone of anonymity, so I never forget those.

3 Has writing the column taught you anything?

The column taught me that I can definitely overcome mental barriers and do whatever I set out to do. Here are two examples. When I became an attorney-at-law, I was looking forward to avoiding legal research if I could and, after my first visit to the Family Court, I vowed to avoid it at all costs. Family Court was too depressing. Today, I have a voracious appetite for research, and look forward to reading as many new judgements as I can. I also relish the opportunities to help people resolve family-law disputes, so family law has become one of the main areas of my practice.

4 What has been the response from the legal fraternity?

Generally, the legal fraternity has been complimentary of my efforts and very supportive. It is quite common for my colleagues to suggest topics for my articles or send comments to correct something I misstated. Quite often, I am asked to discuss a legal issue, to send a copy of an article or to share a link to a case I cited.

Here's to another 10 years!