Tackling racial inequality with #10000BlackInterns
Tangible action to address racial inequality is a pressing priority, the Law Society of England and Wales said today as Black History Month approaches.
The Law Society is reflecting on the benefits to the organisation and the experiences of five interns who took part in a six-week paid internship as part of the #10000BlackInterns initiative.
The initiative was founded to help broaden career opportunities for young Black people in the UK and address the under-representation of Black talent in many industries.
The programme offers paid work experience across over 20 sectors – including the law – and creates a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship.
The Law Society’s interns worked in various departments including legal services, legal policy and people and organisational development.
“The Law Society benefitted enormously from the contribution of the interns who joined us as part of the #10000BlackInterns initiative,” said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.
“The interns made a positive contribution to many areas of the business. They are highly motivated, brought fresh perspectives and also created a positive feeling around the organisation.
“With Black History Month on the horizon, we thought it was important to reflect on our journey in the #10000BlackInterns initiative, identify the achievements and challenges and lessons we can take forward for future interns.
“We are pleased the interns told us they learned a lot from their work experience and were able to develop key professional skills they can take forward in their careers.
“As part of their programme with us, we arranged trips to JP Morgan, Allen & Overy and the Royal Courts of Justice, where they were able to see first-hand how solicitors work to keep the wheels of justice turning.
“I also had the immense pleasure of meeting with the interns, and I was delighted to hear about their hopes and ambitions for their careers.
“We’ve been given food for thought on how we can improve the experience for the next cohort of interns, such as by making the experience longer than six weeks and giving interns the option to have work experience in other departments.
“90 legal and compliance firms are taking part in the scheme. 10 larger law firms are opening their doors to host interns and help them gain experience to get on the career ladder.
“I wholeheartedly encourage the profession to take part in this initiative. By welcoming new voices and experiences into our businesses, we can better serve our clients and society.
“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.
“As a result of this scheme, the Law Society has welcomed former intern Dorcas Baah as a new employee in our executive support office.
“I very much hope the #10000 Black Interns initiative will lead to other firms offering full or part-time employment to their ambitious and dedicated interns.”
Dorcas Baah said: “My participation in the #10000BlackInterns initiative has been an incredible stepping stone for me. It gave me work experience in my desired profession, the legal sector, which is often highly competitive and lacking in diversity.
“It also allowed me to get familiarised with the Law Society's organisational structure, which resulted in me landing my current role in the executive support office.
“I am really proud of securing my role following my internship because it is an excellent culmination of my hard work and consistency during my internship. More importantly, it shows that the #10000BlackInterns programme produces diverse, high-performing and driven individuals who can excel in the working environment beyond their internships.”
Notes to editors
About the Law Society
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Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928