What are you studying?
The Student Committee of Aspiring Black Lawyers is a network which aims to reduce under representation in the legal profession. Here he talks about the initiative and how networking has benefited his legal journey.
My journey with the Law school has been great! I love the diversity that comes with Aston; when I first arrived, I was worried that it was going to be predominately a specific group of people, but there’s people here from all backgrounds and different parts of the world.
Could you explain a little bit about what Aspiring Black Lawyers does and your role within the initiative?
Aspiring Black Lawyers was founded by Daniel Cash, a member of the Aston Law School, and is a new initiative that brings people together with the aim of addressing the under-representation of black lawyers within the legal sector. According to the latest data collected from the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority, black and mixed-race lawyers make up just 3% of the industry. The goal of the initiative is to facilitate the advancement of aspiring black lawyers and to holistically address this under-representation.
It’s been encouraging to see institutions, organisations and other initiatives, work together to address this issue and explore ways in which they can be more diverse.
I’m part of the Student Committee, which means that we get together regularly to brainstorm ideas of events and ways we can connect with people that would gain value from the platform. We’re currently focusing on becoming more prevalent on social media as that seems to be the key to spreading the word during Covid-19. It’s important that people find the initiative in order to access the resources and information that could be valuable to them in terms of preparing for Law School or entering the legal profession. At the moment, we’re organising an online Q&A Event for Aspiring Black Lawyers to see the journey to becoming a Lawyer from people that have achieved that.
How did you get involved?
Last year, Daniel mentioned that he was going to start the initiative; for me, it was a non-brainer to get involved and help out in any way that I could.
One reason I got involved was because of how networking has impacted my legal journey. I didn’t know that I wanted to pursue a career in insurance until I entered the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship process. The Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme is designed to address the disproportionate under-representation in large commercial law firms and other City institutions of black men from less socially mobile backgrounds. It wasn’t until I arrived in London and spoke to people at their event that I realised that insurance was the career path for me. The thought of working in London hadn’t even crossed my mind.
It’s so important getting people into that environment to provide those networking opportunities that are crucial to both the legal profession and alternative career paths.
What advice would you give to yourself in your previous years at Aston?
With access to great resources through initiatives such as Aspiring Black Lawyers, I would advise myself to start networking and to build as many connections as possible.
Also, rather than just being solely focused on my degree and what job I’m going to have. I would advise myself to think about the kind of person that I want to be and the kind of life that I want to live. Namely how I want to impact people.