Legal profession celebrates Black History Month

updated on 15 October 2021

Reading time: three minutes.

Solicitors in England and Wales will celebrate Black History Month by embracing the ‘Proud to Be’ theme.

This year’s theme encourages Black people to celebrate and share the pride they have in their heritage and culture.

For Black History Month, LawCareers.Net has hand-picked a selection of inspiring Black people who are either law students, aspiring or practising lawyers to take over our Instagram page for a day every Thursday in October.

This month we are proud to welcome:

  • Dylan Kawende – cofounder and CEO of Omnispaceuk;
  • Stephanie Lartey – second seat trainee solicitor at White & Case LLP;
  • Ghaydaa Hassan – legal assistant at Freeths LLP (this is a part of Freeths’ graduate programme for hiring trainee solicitors);
  • Kingsley Duru – paralegal at Clifford Chance;
  • April Lamai – county court advocate at Quest Legal Advocates LTD; and
  • Maab Saifeldin – legal assistant at Keller Lenkner UK.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, the first person of colour and the second in-house solicitor in almost 50 years to become president of the Law Society of England and Wales said: “We will be sharing stories of Black lawyers from across the profession throughout October. I wholeheartedly encourage my Black colleagues to share their stories and experiences and celebrate their achievements and diversity.

“This year’s Black History Month comes just under a year after we published our Race for Inclusion report, which examined the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors.

“The 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd, brought racial inequalities that persist around the world into sharp focus, with the movement undoubtedly increasing emphasis on the issues in society and the legal profession.

“They also provided a much-needed opportunity for reflection. Our research shone a light on the challenges and obstacles Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors face due to their ethnicity.

“It is imperative we talk openly and honestly to ensure we are creating a culture change in the organisations we work in, not just pursuing our own success.”

The #10000BlackInterns initiative was founded to help broaden career opportunities for young Black people in the UK and address the underrepresentation of Black talent in many industries.

The programme, which begins in summer 2022, aims to offer paid work experience across 20 sectors (including law):

  • accountancy;
  • construction, housing and property;
  • corporate and investment banking;
  • consumer and retail;
  • engineering and automotive;
  • education;
  • financial services data technology;
  • health data research;
  • healthcare management;
  • insurance and long-term savings;
  • investment management;
  • legal services;
  • management and strategy consultancy;
  • market research;
  • marketing and advertising;
  • media, arts and sports;
  • not-for-profit;
  • recruitment and executive search;
  • retail and private banking;
  • the Bar;
  • technology; and
  • utilities and infrastructure.

The programme aims to:

  • run for the next five years;
  • provide 10,000 internships to young Black people; and
  • create a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship for the Black community.

The Law Society is offering five internships across a range of teams, including the policy directorate, futures and insight, sales operations and marketing, legal, and people and organisational development.

Applications are open to join the #10000BlackInterns initiative. There are 118 internships available across the legal services sector.