Comment

‘I’m a future trainee who is Asian and working class: This is what diversity means to me’

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121

Shez Anjum reveals how he overcame prejudices to win ‘Trainee of the Year’

Diversity is a broad concept, with many facets to it and different forms. It means a lot to me: being from a working class and a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, I have experienced the challenges and prejudices that come when trying to ‘make it in law’. Yet these difficulties have also acted as a motivation for myself. Firstly to try and prove that despite the obstacles, you can be successful and, secondly, to be part of the drive for change and equality.

I am only at the beginning of my career but in the space of a few years, I have gone from having zero legal experience and starting off as a paralegal, to securing a training contract and winning Trainee/Paralegal of The Year at the 2018 Manchester Legal Awards. The road I travelled has not been smooth, and I have experienced how archaic the legal industry can still be.

Progression is a key issue. Despite there being a large number of talented law students and paralegals from working class or BAME backgrounds, this does not follow through in the vast majority of trainee intakes. This problem becomes more compounded further up the career ladder as those that do qualify often drop out of the profession. Why does this happen? I’m not entirely sure, but I do know of two things that contribute to the problem.

One is lazy recruitment. The tick box exercise of ruling out anyone who did not get straight As and did not attend a Russell Group university has led to some law firms having trainee intakes with the same amount of diversity as an episode of Midsomer Murders.

To address the issue of social mobility, consideration has to be given to the fact that people from a disadvantaged background experience their biggest difficulties at the beginning of their lives and this usually impacts on their ability to fulfil their potential while undertaking their GCSEs and A-Levels. This results in people already way behind the start line falling even further behind, all before their career has even started.

Graduate recruiters and HR departments of law firms need to make a positive effort to address this issue and look at alternative methods of recruitment. It is all well and good sticking one of the few BAME candidates that have been recruited on the front cover of brochures, to showcase the firm’s ‘commitment to diversity’, but until recruitment methods are changed, the vast majority of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds will continue to be overlooked.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

The other issue is the attitude of some members of the industry. I have been lucky to come across many inspirational and positive role models throughout my career so far. I work for a firm with a wonderful inclusive environment that has been cultivated by its people and has recognised what I have to offer. However, I have also experienced the prejudices and difficulties of this industry.

Being from a BAME or a working class background, you are constantly having to fight against preconceived conceptions, with the focus being on trying to survive in this industry. Opportunities are harder to come by and until you have proven yourself, you definitely have to do more than colleagues from advantageous backgrounds to earn the same chance, even if you are more deserving or better suited to the opportunity.

Then there is the elephant in the room, a topic not many people are willing to discuss: discrimination.

Thankfully, this is far from widespread and attitudes are changing. However, it is still a major reason why people from BAME backgrounds drop out from the profession. You only have to read the comments in a Legal Cheek article on diversity in law, or the vile comments in the group chat of law students from the University of Exeter which has recently come to light, to see archaic views are still in existence. Personally, early on in my career, I have experienced situations that range on the spectrum. From the mild, of having a colleague say ‘You’re Asian, the women in your family will know good places to get eyebrows done!’, to the more severe.

As a profession we need to accept that there is still an attitude issue, which must be addressed. By addressing, I don’t mean having the HR and marketing departments come up with a catchy slogan on diversity to tweet, but by driving real change and setting up diverse (in all senses of the word) teams, that can grow and learn together, while nurturing an inclusive environment. The cities that we work in are diverse and vibrant, yet not all the offices of law firms in these cities reflect that.

Coming from a diverse background does not mean you are the best person for the job and you should be given the opportunity, but it does certainly mean that you are more likely to be overlooked and will have more challenges and difficulties to prove that you should be given an opportunity. Is it too much to ask for a level playing field? To be judged on talent and work ethic and not the circumstances that we were born into.

I have, like many others from a similar background, had to work harder and overcome many obstacles. You have to be resilient, motivated, determined but most importantly you have to believe because hard work always shines through. Despite the difficulties, if you are talented (although it may take you longer) you will create an opportunity to prove yourself and you shall have success in this industry. Take it from someone who was written off, who went from starting his legal career way behind the rest of the pack, to winning Trainee/Paralegal of The Year at the 2018 Manchester Legal Awards. If I can do it then you can too. However, this should not be the norm!

My journey in law has only just started, but along with the many other people from a similar background doing the same, we will strive for progress and change every step of the way, while looking to inspire the boys and girls who we once used to be. All I ask the next generation to do is dream big, because a path of change is being paved and they can aspire to be brilliant, aim higher and not give in to the same doubts that previous generations did.

We are seeing in other industries how game changers from diverse backgrounds are redefining their sector and the same is starting to happen in law. They are looking to disturb the status quo and not only open the door into the industry but knock it flat down and create a level playing field, where the first thought will no longer be about surviving but rather thriving.

Shez Anjum is a future trainee at a medium sized law firm based in the North West. He has a particular interest in increasing diversity and breaking down barriers to entry in the legal industry.

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121 Comments

Anonymous

Dressing up in the costume of the white upper class is the best way to promote diversity, non?

#culturalappropriation

(57)(106)

Anonymous

what has that got to do with anything?

(66)(9)

Anonymous

White kid in turban or dreadlocks isn’t ok.

Why is this?

(14)(42)

Anonymous

I thought it was Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest incarnation AIEEEEEE!

(4)(0)

Anonymous

😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆💩

(0)(0)

Lord Denning

You’re just bitter because Law has a new poster boy, who is smart, stylish, good looking and just happens to be from a BAME background.

Shez Anjum, you’ve created quite the impression. I’m in no doubt, you are the future of this industry!

(53)(2)

Anonymous

You can add poor dress sense to the list of barriers mate. Seriously.

(61)(107)

Anonymous

I like his style

(91)(6)

Anonymous

I like his face

(78)(1)

Belinda

I like his eyes.

(74)(0)

Fangirl

He’s the legal industries Zayn Malik. I think I’m in love with him #Hot

(76)(1)

Anonymous

He’s beautiful 😍

(61)(0)

Anonymous

Then grab a round of drinks with him at some hipster bar where you sit on crates and drink cocktails from teacups or mason jars or whatever stupid nonsense is popular in East London these days.

Whilst doing that, get the lad to buy a dinner suit so he doesn’t look like a complete douche at future black tie events.

(5)(61)

Anonymous

Great article on an important topic! Ignore the comments and well done on putting yourself out there and doing this piece.

(103)(26)

Anonymous

I agree!

(40)(4)

DustyWig

1. Should recruiters select only the best candidate irrespective of alleged obstacles allegedly overcome?

2. If not, by what criteria should they judge the inevitable contest of special pleading and woe-is-me victimhood?

(51)(17)

Libeturd Leftie

He who feels it knows it…

You characterisation of “victimhood” belies your very pointed perspective.

I would rather have someone who has risen and grown in spite of the obstacles than someone who has better grades, but is TRIGGERED by the slightest of obstacles.

See I too can generalise and spew a myopic point of view

(18)(9)

s.32 Salmon Act 1986

The fact that your comment has attracted (at time of writing) 9 downvotes, but no responses, is a nice illustration of the problem with the victim pyramid. Even those who are willing to downvote criticisms of it can’t come up with reasoned defences for it.

(15)(1)

Anonymous

Nobody cares to educate you love.

(7)(10)

Anonymous

Translation: “I have no rational argument to offer, so I’m going to pretend that I do but that’s it’s beneath me to provide it.”

Try again, love.

(34)(1)

Anonymous

yep. nail. head. hit

(5)(0)

Anonymous

I found a spit of time, I’m taking a break from coursework

Find attached a report on social mobility. The table on page 58 quite usefully shows how social mobility impacts youths through opportunities, which are located (overwhelmingly) in London due to their proximity to wealth. As you move out from London (and opportunities) you notice cold spots of social mobility developing.

It does not take a great deal of thinking to consequently identify the experience of disadvantaged minorities who have been successful as outstanding, then a) prefer to give them jobs in a field of pasty white boys and b) invest in recruiting from disadvantaged minorities because those candidates are often (at least) harder workers than their more privileged colleagues in law schools.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/662744/State_of_the_Nation_2017_-_Social_Mobility_in_Great_Britain.pdf

For additional confirmation see the works of Toni Morrison or Alan Bates, love.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

*Bennett, not Bates.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

A very interesting and insightful article. It would be nice to see the legal industry taking heed to redress the balance and appointing on a meritocratic basis

(34)(3)

Anonymous

“future trainee at a medium sized law firm based in the North West”

Sounds thicc.

(40)(45)

Anonymous

I’ve worked with Shez he’s one of the most bright, motivated and affable people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, he’d run rings around you for fun. Whilst he’s busy fulfilling his promising potential, all you can do is troll and leave pathetic comments, so bore off!

(43)(19)

Anonymous

Brightest

(14)(2)

Anonymous

Yes he is!

(22)(0)

Anonymous

Refreshing and inspiring to see someone openly speak up about the challenges and obstacles they’ve not only faced, but also overcome to get to where they are. There’s definitely a bright future ahead for you.

(49)(27)

Anonymous

As an ethnic person entering law this is an inspiring and motivating piece to read. Thank you!

(55)(35)

Anonymous

Yes because ethnic minorities are not allowed to enter the legal profession…

(8)(3)

Just Anonymous

“One is lazy recruitment. The tick box exercise of ruling out anyone who did not get straight As and did not attend a Russell Group university has led to some law firms having trainee intakes with the same amount of diversity as an episode of Midsomer Murders.”

If there are special circumstances which impact on a candidate’s grades, then those should certainly be taken to account.

Such circumstances might include severe illness, or the death of a loved one.

However, the author appears to be suggesting that the mere fact of being BAME should be considered a ‘special circumstance:’ ie, that we cannot assume that the grades of any BAME candidate truly reflect their actual potential.

I find this an uncomfortable and untenable proposition. I think that BAME individuals are perfectly capable of competing with non-BAME individuals on an equal footing, and should be treated as such.

(95)(72)

Anonymous

Think you’ve completely missed the point mate. But it’s always good to see a non-BAME person dismiss the concept of their inherent privilege and tell BAME people how they should feel and be treated. Please, don’t let our opposition to structural racism get in the way of your comfort…

(63)(66)

Just Anomymous

And you know I’m non-BAME because…

(44)(9)

Anonymous

Can we please stop using the ridiculous term BAME. It’s a joke that could only have emanated from Britain.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

Brits love their acronyms. It somehow makes them think they’re being less offensive for referring to someone as a “BAME applicant” rather than the obvious.

“Oh look, we have our regular applicants and a black applicant!”

Doesn’t sound as polite, does it?

(3)(0)

BAME!

🎼I wanna live for-ever!🎶

(17)(0)

Anonymous

…BAME individuals aren’t on an equal footing (socioeconomically – don’t start) with non-BAME individuals. Ever heard of the Equality Act 2010, love?

(1)(24)

CMS Associate

I’ve come across Shez on the other side of a transaction. A charming and bright young man, with a very promising future ahead of him.

Well done sir.

(52)(41)

Trumpenminion

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

That’s an interesting and motivational topic to others who are interesting to win well done!!

(14)(11)

Lord Wombleby, QC

I haven’t met the guy, but he does strike me as a hardworking, good chap.

Best of luck to him I say!

(29)(15)

CABRON

AY CARAMBA

(1)(0)

Bounty Hunter

Congrats Shez – Absolutely brilliant article. In the words of Ghandi – ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world’.

(22)(15)

Anonymous

It’s Gandhi.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Actually, it’s મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી

(18)(17)

Anonymous

Someone’s discovered the cookies trick!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

What an inspiring article by a promising young man. Please if ignore the negative comments. To be part of something bigger than yourself, like promoting diversity, you need to think outside the box. Change starts with 1 individual and goes on to the next.

This means that, a few may disagree here and there but in the long run, together we can make that change.

Society today represents diversity, and sooner or later the law industry will reflect that. Thank you for your courageous attitude and ability to share your views.

(26)(26)

Anonymous

Couldn’t agree more with this comment, so well put.
It’s ridiculous that it has so many thumbs down!

(17)(0)

Anonymous

Actually, ‘asians’ tend to have better academic results than other ethnic groups:

https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/think-leicester/education/2016/against-the-odds-ethnic-minority-students-are-excelling-at-school
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/439867/RR439B-Ethnic_minorities_and_attainment_the_effects_of_poverty_annex.pdf.pdf

I don’t think that recruiters are (consciously or subconsciously) discriminating. From experience, being bi-lingual, which are lot of asians are, seems to be beneficial n obtaining training contracts and vacation schemes.

(27)(6)

Anonymous

The clue is in the title of the article – ‘against the odds’.

(4)(7)

Anonymous

The writer of this article states that poor grades/failing to attend a Russell Group University prevents the inclusion of ethnic minorities in the legal sector.

I simply don’t think this is true for asian minorities.

(19)(10)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Chippy white bloke

In 2016, 31% of new admissions to the roll were BAME compared to roughly 14% of the population as a whole. Yes the proportion of BAME among younger people (the relevant age range for these entry positions) is probably higher, but (a) its still not 31% and (b) that means the smaller number of BAME people in senior roles (who would be older) isn’t as shocking as advertised.

Coupled with the fact that 61% of new admissions were female and you struggle to see the “disadvantage” these groups face, whilst ending up with a situation where “diversity” initiatives aimed at increasing female and BAME representation at junior levels of law firms are, at best, misplaced.

With regards people going to a worse school (I would rather not use “working class” as this suggests their lack of early educational achievement is not due to the education they received but some preconceived idea that “certain people can’t get good grades no matter where they go”), its tough, they are underrepresented, but if you don’t use academic grades, cultural fit, education received, work experience and extra-curriculars (all areas where rich kids have an advantage) what else can you use as an effective proxy for career success with a student?

Interested to hear feedback/be called a racist.

Ciao x

https://www.sra.org.uk/documents/SRA/research/diversity-legal-profession.pdf

(48)(16)

Triggered Loon

STOP CITING FACTS THAT CONTRADICT MY TOTALLY IRRATIONAL AND UNEVIDENCED FEELINGS.

BAME PEOPLE EXPERIENCE HORRIFIC PERSECUTION, AND EVERY VIRTUOUS PERSON KNOWS IT!!

(43)(6)

Anonymous

tl;dr I’m boring

Why so pressed, love?

(0)(12)

Chippy white bloke

Considering 3 paragraphs too long and boring to read is not a fantastic trait for an aspiring lawyer m9…

(6)(3)

Anonymous

tl;dr is used by kindly denizens of the internet to save other people the time of reading something they, themselves, have already read. Just helping out, love.

And by the way – while what you wrote was, indeed, boring, my tl;dr focused instead on the fact that you yourself seem to be a black hole of boring the arse off people in the kitchen at parties.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

you may not be a racist but by your own admission (almost) you are a b ell end

(2)(11)

Not. Guiltay.

Couldn’t agree more. Chip pon de shoulder.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

It’s Gandhi.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

It’s મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી

(6)(7)

Anonymous

A really good article highlighting the difficulties of being a young working class BAME person trying to breaking into an industry dominated by middle class white males.

I also did not expect there to be such dismissal within the comments section of a legal website of the disadvantages minorities such as BAME and women face. It might as well be the Daily Mail comments section.

(25)(23)

Anonymous

It’s because it’s anonymous, people can say what they really think.

Most people with views that do not accord with the Orthodoxy tend not to express them publicly because of the tendency towards disproportionate responses (loss of job etc) from organisations and professional bodies who want to be seen to be promoting the “right” message if they do.

This is why it tends to be “Working Class” people who are happier to express unorthodox views. Bob the builder isn’t going to sack a junior brickie for expressing a controversial view, even if he disagrees.

Bob the Barrister expressing the same view is liable to action from his Chambers and the BSB.

The professions are effectively the outer party from 1984.

Proles and animals are free.

(20)(3)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Society: If you are openly bigoted, you may face problems in your career, as bigotry is bad.
Anonymous 12:10: This is the same as literal torture.

(13)(8)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

You’re clearly not a regular to this site. I’m astonished that only two comments have been deleted for their unsavoury nature.

All the best to Shez Anjum, who seems like a nice lad.

(24)(5)

BAME person

Lad?

He’s a man.

This is the same white mentality that still seems to think it’s OK to refer to a man who is black as a “boy”.

You should be ashamed. I think an apology is in order.

(8)(16)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Never.

(0)(5)

Not. Guiltay.

Talking poo.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

💩 here’s one for you to try..

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Or are you calling him one?

In which case you are a disgusting racist scumbag!

(0)(0)

Bamepot

I hope this is a joke. As a fellow ethnic minority, I can’t see anything wrong with describing a young man, who’s probably in his early 20s, as ‘a nice lad’.

Go find something else to be offended about.

(0)(0)

Bumblebee

“The tick box exercise of ruling out anyone who did not get straight As and did not attend a Russell Group university…”

I totally agree that the tick bock exercise is both lazy and a major source of unfairness when it comes to recruitment decisions. The minimum 2.1 requirement is especially unfair and irrational.

However, the examples you use – namely, A levels and Russell Group universities – are poor. I know exceptionally intelligent people who graduated from university with poor grades. I also know intelligent people of a slightly older generation who did not go to university.

However, I don’t know anyone in this day and age who I would describe as particulalry intelligent and who scored poorly at A level and/or went to a non-RG university. With respect, these are very low bars. Moreover, with regards to A levels at least, people can simply retake them – even in later life.

If you got three Bs at university, the burden SHOULD be on you to explain why this doesn’t accurately reflect your ability.

(23)(15)

Legal Recruiter

It’s an interesting article, and I imagine it must feel like a very difficult world to break into when you are not from the “traditional” background. The statistics quoted above are encouraging however.

It is difficult to see what recruiters are meant to do though, and I’m not sure what exactly he is suggesting on a practical basis.

(9)(16)

Anonymous

First, stop bulk rejecting applications automatically based on pass/fail metrics, love.

(20)(8)

Legal Recruiter

OK, now that’s done (thanks for calling me love btw, it’s very sweet of you and definitely demonstrates why you should be top of the pile) and there are 250 applications that shouldn’t be graded on academics.

(2)(15)

Anonymous

That’s it? Even if you allow 10 minutes to review each CV/form that’s only 1 extra full time week’s worth of work for 1 person. I know recruiters in a MC firm and they’re only allowed 5 minutes to review each initial application form, so even this is a generous amount of time.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

If you got three Bs at uni, you’ve somehow got yourself on an alternative grading scale.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Or in North America. Great place to study and I do recommend! Although don’t try to get too many Bs…. or shot.

(0)(0)

Whizz Kid

Well isn’t this a delightful story. I got my current job because they needed to increase their diversity numbers. Being female, and of Indian heritage, I ticked two boxes and was recruited. Oh the benefits of positive discrimination.

(8)(9)

Anonymous

I was a diversity case:

Irish ethnicity so technically BME.
First in family to go to Uni.
State educated.
“Overcame hardship” by succeeding with top grades in exams despite multiple surgeries and radiotherapy during them (no resits or special consideration requests).

Trouble is, growing up I never felt particularly “disadvantaged”.

Now at the Bar having bagged top scholarships.

Never underestimate the power of the tick-box!

(15)(15)

Anonymous

Open that bottom waistcoat button!

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Eep! You know me!

(1)(1)

Mizna Iftikhar

I think so the big issue between people is religion or Asian people.Our thinking regarding people are wrong why we put such discrimination on top priority.we should judge the person on base talent,hardwork,honesty and dedication regarding job not base religion,white or black ,their family background.keep moving Shez.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

How can you be trainee of the year before you are a trainee?

Awards like this really are pointless, as is this article.

The gentleman concerned has obtained a training contract because he earned it and not because of anything else. The practice of law is (like it or not) ultimately about making money. Firms will choose those who will do that best, irrespective of background. No one gives a fig about your background if you are the best candidate. All this diversity nonsense is just that, nonsense.

(8)(20)

Anonymous

The only thing that is pointless is this comment, if you actually read the article you would know the award was for ‘Trainee/Paralegal of the year’ you ignorant…..

(21)(0)

BAME

EXCELLENT article! Well done on not only discussing diversity and the lack of it but also exposing people/platforms/areas that are ignorant and offensive to BAME people and juniors.

Really enjoyed the “lazy recruitment” part because law firms and grad recruiters are so CRAP with it! Also the fact that BAME people start from a lower playing field and experience things that prohibit us from reaching the benchmark needed before we even get there.

(24)(5)

Future trainee at MC

I honestly believe that most of the big law firms in the city are really starting to take diversity seriously. I am a BAME with ABB at A level and a disability. I attended numerous diversity events and grad Rec really care (or at least they say they do).

(1)(7)

Anonymous

Are you comfortable at the prospect of getting a job knowing that the colour of your skin may be the deciding factor?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

In the current legal grad role market? Are you insane? I’m a white guy in my late 20s and a 2:1 LLB from “one of the best” non-RG unis (gotta love those marketing campaigns). I’ve been trying to bag a TC for a couple years now after changing careers with no success so far. I’m about ready to go full Caitlyn Jenner if it means ticking another box and getting an offer. HSF… looking at you! Sigh, I just wanna be a lawyer…

Anyways, use EVERY advantage/positive discrimination/check box you can and be bloody grateful for it because this job market blows.

(8)(2)

Change Is Needed

I’m sure this isn’t the last time we are going to hear about Shez Anjum. You have a promising future ahead of you and you will achieve great things!

Thank you for being courageous enough to do this article, it’s a shame about some of the awful comments but in a way they add greater strength to your article!

(28)(2)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.”

Keep speaking up for what you believe is truth – remain firm and sincere – reach out to those you can benefit and remember where everything comes from.

With that in mind, strive for true success and don’t let any decoys distract you from the target.

(23)(1)

Anonymous

Well done. A very insightful piece.

(24)(1)

Anonymous

Love the Midsomer Murders line haha!

(25)(2)

BAME NQ

Law is an incredibly competitive field; and for good reason!

Speaking as someone who didn’t get straight A’s, but worked incredibly hard to achieve ABB, and get into a ‘Russell group’ university (despite my extenuating circumstances, which I won’t go in to), I feel like my hard work and commitment is slightly insulted by your article… I didn’t get a TC on the basis I didn’t have straight A’s, but managed to obtain mine through experience and hard work! Like you did! Don’t put your achievement of obtaining a TC down to a diversity tick box…

Employers and recruiters distinguishing by grades and degrees, whilst they should also take experience into consideration, is a necessity. Top firms receive thousands of applications, and a way to separate the cream from the milk is to look at grades. What might be perceived as a cop-out, seeks to show who is the most dedicated and hard-working at the age of 18. Not withstanding the fact that there are (apparently) 10 LPC graduates for every single training contract available! How else are they going to distinguish? Quite frankly, a 2:2 degree and a Pass on the LPC, just won’t cut it in this field. That’s life, I’m afraid!

Would you want a doctor operating on you who managed to scrape a C grade in A-level Media Studies? Would you want your criminal barrister to be defending you having failed their first year modules?

(3)(25)

Anonymous

Well done mate!
Spoke up. It’s the way forward.

(26)(0)

S

Excellent article. It’s rare people speak up about the challenges and struggles they face. Keep up the good work.

(28)(1)

Anonymous

You always dreamed big! So proud of you for doing this inspirational article.

(29)(1)

Lord Harley of Counsel

I dreamed big and it happened.

(2)(1)

Nursey

Wake up, m’lud; it’s time for your medication.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I still find it puzzling how its 2018 and people do not ‘get’ white privilege. Nobody wants you to feel guilty but can you at least not be ignorant towards the fact that you have benefited from a society’s inherent prejudices while other people lose out simply due to the colour of their skin.

Firstly lets get one thing clear, people of colour are not born with the same societal privileges that ‘white’ people are. ‘White’ people are born into a system that assumes their superiority over those who aren’t considered ‘White’…!

Secondly just because something doesn’t affect you negatively does not mean that you haven’t benefited from it in some way.

And thirdly why deny the existence of difference and how it shapes our lives, like we don’t have to already work against the many millions of things that divide us.

Well done Shez on the article it takes someone with great courage to raise awareness on such issues. Its no surprise that its still acceptable for people to somehow reverse racism just because someone decided to speak so openly and honestly about how prejudice and privilege collude to maintain the inequality that they themselves have and will benefit from.

‘White’ people need to acknowledge their white privilege and use it to combat white supremacy.

(29)(45)

Indian Trainee

Do people of Indian or Chinese origin (both shown to get better grades at school/uni and be “over-represented” in top-end graduate jobs) have the same privilege?

Does colour of skin severely disadvantage those people from Pakistani/Bangladeshi backgrounds (who typically are under-represented) but a slight difference in tone makes Indians significantly more successful than whites?

Or are us children from Indian backgrounds in the UK just so superhumanly amazing that we outperform white kids in spite of our disadvantage? If so, why can’t other minorities just be as great as us and the Chinese?

(12)(27)

Anonymous

Look, you just don’t get it.

It’s 2018. White people are evil now. Forget about facts and data and logical argument.

Any facts which support the above are good-facts, and you can talk about them at will.

Any facts which don’t are bad-facts, and you should forget about them.

If you persist in making people uncomfortable with bad-facts, then measures will be taken to correct your wrong-think.

Is that clear?

(23)(25)

Bamepot

Because, whilst race plays a role, other factors like class play a far bigger one.

Which is why white, working-class boys are the most educationally disadvantaged group in the country.

According to your simplistic (and racist) ideology, these boys are somehow privileged. Go figure.

Warm regards,

An ethnic minority lawyer

(15)(22)

Anonymous

“‘White’ people are born into a system that assumes their superiority over those who aren’t considered ‘White’…!“

Only one proper response to this unevidenced, racist garbage:

https://youtu.be/yNr2uk2Z9GI

(13)(22)

Anonymous

“‘White’ people are born into a system that assumes their superiority over those who aren’t considered ‘White’…!“

Hey, you remember when white working class girls were being systematically groomed, molested and raped.

In Telford. In Rotherham. In Rochdale. In Oxford…

By non-white perpetrators.

And you remember how the authorities initially ignored it.

Because the cowards were terrified of being branded “racist.”

They were terrified because of this sort of mindless c**p from people like you.

(16)(29)

Edmond Dantes

Shez is a top class paralegal, and he’ll be a top class trainee, solicitor, partner and whatever else he wants to do. Every angry comment on this feed gives greater strength to his position.

(37)(6)

Quenby Gorski

Congratulations Shez! The comments section has given me as much information as the article itself. No reasonable person could argue that there needs to be an ongoing discussion about race in the legal profession. Some comments appear to acknowledge that and offer their part for the discussion. There’s plenty of folk on here that leave me puzzled; either suggesting that their should be no discussion at all or trying to stop this one with inappropriate humour.

(36)(2)

Cold water

I got three Bs at A-level and a 2:1 (68%) non-RG. I should never have been accepted into university in the first place.

I’m a white male, and despite going to a bad school and being one of highest achievers in my sixth form, I lived in an affluent area with better schools. I have no victim cards to play. I’m glad. Frankly, I’m tired of victimhood culture.

Law, like Surgery, is a profession which commands the highest talent, irrespective of background. Nothing else will do. This is the justice system we’re talking about.

If you want to increase diversity, cap admissions. This will make available funds for those who have *genuine* potential, but can’t afford university. Let the degree factories burn (or turn them into something else beneficial to society).

Have we forgotten that there are already legal protections against discrimination, providing remedies ad hoc? They’re not perfect, but are surely better than blindly assuming hardship or advantage based on attributes like skin colour.

(11)(26)

SWA

Well done, Shez! Great article and a very promising career ahead of you. Snazzy suit, too!

(30)(0)

Fidel Castro

Shez Guevara keep fighting the good fight. Men do not shape destiny, destiny produces the man for the hour.

Si no haces nada, nada te llegará.

(28)(1)

KP

This should be a really proud moment for you Shez! We need to read more articles like this and I have no doubt that you have a brilliant career ahead of you. Really lovely person too. Keep dreaming big (and ignore the haters)!

(18)(2)

Peace seeker

Hi Shez.

Great article, balanced, hopeful and spoken with courage. You make excellent points and have highlighted the inherent bias and elitism of an industry that can’t see past ethnicity, class and gender always. Great to see you doing so well and inspiring others to challenge the status quo.

In real view of another commenter on this post, I have to say that the childish and discriminatory comments of someone who sounds determined to contradict facts and logic is something I would not give any energy to if I were you…haters have a certain tone to their communication and don’t deserve credibility. Conversely I do admire the dignity with which you write and wish you every success. Unlike so many you haven’t forgotten to pave the way for others who continue to face prejudicial barriers and I salute you for sticking your neck out and stating it like it is. I also commend the firm you are working for and the positive approach they have to inclusivity and equality.

Stay true and humane young man you’re in a cutthroat business, it’s tough being considerate when competitiveness is part of your environment. Thanks for an inspiring read.

Good luck!

(19)(3)

Anonymous

Urgh, so much whingeing and identity politics. Let me look for my tiny violin please.

(3)(18)

Justin Le Shortun

So Boring!

(0)(17)

Anonymous

Man’s hot

(3)(0)

Anonymous

An interesting and well-written article. However, from my experience at training at an SC firm and currently working for an MC firm and from being from an ethnic group (Indian male), being from a working class background is far more likely to be a barrier than race.

There are plenty of Indian and Chinese lawyers in top London law firms/organisations – probably ‘over-represented’ than under-represented. However, black and Muslim lawyers are quite rare. E.g. My trainee intake was roughly 70% white, 20% Indian origin and 10% Chinese origin. 0% black or Muslim.

I don’t think this is because of discrimination (from experience white people cant tell the difference or just don’t care between a Hindu or Sikh name and a Muslim name). Rather, I think it is because these ethnic groups tend to be more working class than Indian and Chinese people who tend to be middle class. Working class white people (especially with northern accents) are not very well represented.

(1)(0)

TheAcresOfFour

Shez….WINNING. HATERS GONNA HATE.

(2)(0)

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