Five interns have started their six-week paid internship at the Law Society of England and Wales, as part of their participation in the #10000BlackInterns initiative.
The 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 aims to offer paid work experience across over twenty sectors – including the law – and create a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship. The Law Society’s interns will be working in various departments including legal services, legal policy and people and organisational development.
“I am delighted to welcome five ambitious young people to the Law Society. I hope their internships provide building blocks for their future – I know the Law Society will be enriched by their time with us,” said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.
“90 legal and compliance firms are also taking part in the scheme, which I am pleased to see, particularly as 10 of the larger law firms are opening their doors to host interns and help them gain experience to get on the career ladder.
I’ve made no secret of the setbacks I faced trying to break into the legal sector. As I was brought up in a single-parent household on a council estate, I found I didn’t have the connections that others may have had to get their foot in the door when I was starting out.
However, I kept persevering and eventually qualified as a solicitor in 2002, having found a training contract at a local firm in Buckinghamshire.”
Law Society legal services intern Stephanie Kushanu said:
“This is a very exciting opportunity, and I am really looking forward to starting my internship with the Law Society. I am hoping to gain more practical legal experience as well as greater insight into what it’s like to work in-house.”
Law Society key accounts intern Omojadesola Daramola said:
“I’ve been looking into marketing as a career choice for a while, so I’m very excited about the opportunity this internship presents for me to work around the department. I’ve also been given a lot of helpful information in preparation for the internship, which has made me feel less anxious.”
Law Society HR intern Jacqueline Adjei said:
“I was delighted to receive the opportunity to work with the Law Society team this summer. I applied for this internship because it seemed like an opportunity to improve myself and gain valuable skills for my future career in the HR industry.”
Law Society legal policy intern Dorcas Baah added:
“I was incredibly motivated by the appointment of I. Stephanie Boyce as the Law Society’s president, as it gave a powerful example of representation. It showed me that I could make my mark in the legal profession despite any barriers I might face. I hope that by gaining this internship, I will similarly encourage other people from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds to work hard and aim for their ambitions in different sectors and organisations – even when they seem out of reach.”
According to the Law Society’s latest Annual Statistics Report, only 2.1% of solicitors with practising certificates identified as Black. In 2020, the Law Society held a series of Achieving Change Together roundtables with law firms to understand the experiences of Black solicitors and their under-representation in large law firms and at senior levels.
I. Stephanie Boyce concluded:
“There is evidence to suggest that diversity in the profession varies greatly by the size of the firm and at different levels within the profession. The profession must continue to reflect on how we can welcome new voices and experiences into our businesses and how we can retain and progress them. 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.”