Video: How to make it as a City lawyer

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By The Careers Team on

Six top solicitors answer law students’ questions about how they made it into the legal profession

As City of London law firms seek to reflect their global clients to a greater extent, there has never been a better time to be coming into the profession as a wannabe corporate lawyer from an ethnic minority background.

However, greatly improved diversity at trainee and junior associate level has still not filtered through to firms’ senior ranks, with a cursory glance of the Legal Cheek Firms Most List showing partnerships at most firms considerably whiter than the general UK population.

At ‘How to make it as a City lawyer’ with the Black Solicitors Network at the Law Society in London on Wednesday evening, top solicitors from King & Wood Mallesons, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Mayer Brown, Weightmans and BPP Law School recalled how they made it into the profession and discussed how the next generation of rookies can further change the status quo.


Asking the questions at the event — which was sponsored by BARBRI International — were an audience of 150 student Legal Cheek readers, who stayed on afterwards to chat informally with the speakers over drinks and nibbles.

Also on the agenda were themes including, inevitably, Brexit (what will it mean for diversity?), unconscious bias, the business case for diversity, strategies for applying for training contracts and wider reflections on why careers don’t always run in straight lines, with most lawyers not ending up where they started.

The speakers in the video above are, in order from left to right, Amma Boakye (newly qualified solicitor, Hogan Lovells); Paul McFarlane (partner at Weightmans and board member of the Black Solicitors Network); Ajay Pathak (partner at King & Wood Mallesons); Kandice Horsey (module leader for practical legal research and writing at BPP University Law School, and a dual-qualified trial lawyer); Warsha Kalé (Of Counsel at Mayer Brown); and Sid Shukla (associate at Herbert Smith Freehills).

Further reading:

Ajay Pathak: Why ambitious junior lawyers need to create their own networks

Amma Boakye: Being different makes you stronger: a newly qualified lawyer’s perspective

Kandice Horsey: Why students don’t need to have it all figured out at law school

Sid Shukla: From a small town in one of India’s poorest states to Herbert Smith Freehills

Warsha Kalé: City lawyers need to be street smart as well as book smart