Stephenson Harwood is proud to announce the launch of Black Talent, our new programme for aspiring solicitors. Launched in partnership with Aspiring Solicitors, the initiative is designed to kick-start the legal careers of Black students through providing mentors, skills development workshops, designated placement opportunities and guaranteed places on an assessment centre for a training contract.
“Since I became CEO in 2019, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to make diversity and inclusion front and centre of our business,” said Eifion Morris, Chief Executive. “Put simply, I want our efforts to have a transformative impact on our firm and the wider legal landscape – for us to be part of making meaningful change. This scheme aims to be part of exactly that. We know that ethnic minorities, and particularly Black people, are woefully under-represented in the profession, at all levels. By partnering with Aspiring Solicitors – who do fantastic work in supporting students from a host of backgrounds less traditionally represented in the law – we’ll be drawing on their extensive experience, passion and skill. I’m really excited to see where this leads over the coming months and years.”
Our programme encompasses three elements that set out to offer support, training and experience to university students:
- Aspiring Solicitors Black Mentoring scheme: We’ll be welcoming 8-10 Black and/or mixed Black students to attend workshops with us, as well as partnering them with a mentor from the firm who will help develop their understanding of life as a lawyer at the firm. This scheme runs from September to December.
- Aspiring Solicitors Elevate scheme: We’ll be taking part in a series of development workshops specifically for first year Black Aspiring Solicitors members, designed to nurture the confidence and skills needed to excel in a law firm.
- Our Black placement scheme: We’re offering 10 placement opportunities running June to July. Each placement student will be invited to join an assessment day to be considered for a training contract with us during this time.
We asked members of our Stephenson Harwood Advancing Racial and Ethnic Diversity (SHARED) network to explain why the firm is so passionate about its new Black Talent programme.
"I think the initiative is an important way to show young, Black students that space is being created for them and their talents, in an industry that hasn’t been as open to diversity in the past.” Ayo Oketunji, associate.
“Different backgrounds and life experiences are what bring different perspectives and ideas to the table, making for a stronger, more inclusive, and ultimately a better, place to work for everyone”. River Clarke, trainee solicitor.
“We hope this initiative aimed at Black talent will assist in reducing some of the hurdles they face and encourage greater diversity in the legal industry.” Mariam Basher, associate.