October marks the start of Black History Month and this year a campaign has been launched with the theme ‘Proud to Be’, which encourages Black and Brown people to share what they are proud to be, to celebrate the achievements of Black and Brown people and to shine a light on the UK's rich and diverse heritage and culture.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce – who earlier this year be came the 177th, sixth female, first Black office holder, the first person of colour and the second in-house solicitor in almost fifty years to become president of the Law Society of England and Wales – said: “We will be sharing stories of Black lawyers from across the profession throughout October. I wholeheartedly encourage my Black colleagues to share their stories and experiences and celebrate their achievements and diversity.

“This year’s Black History Month comes just under a year after we published our Race for Inclusion report, which examined the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors”.

Boyce commented that the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, brought persistent racial inequalities “into sharp focus”. She added: “They also provided a much-needed opportunity for reflection. Our research shone a light on the challenges and obstacles Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors face due to their ethnicity.

“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.”

Earlier this year, the Law Society joined the #10000BlackInterns initiative, founded to help broaden career opportunities for young Black people and to try and address the underrepresentation of Black talent across many industries.

The initiative aims to offer paid work experience across over twenty sectors and to create sustainable mentorship and sponsorship for the Black community.

The five-year #10000BlackInterns programme is set to launch in summer of 2022 and aims to provide 10,000 internships to young Black people.

I. Stephanie Boyce added: “Applications are now open to join the #10000BlackInterns initiative. There are 118 internships available across the legal services sector.

“We encourage aspiring solicitors to apply so they can gain the experience they need to work in the legal sector”.

She confirmed the Law Society will offer five internships across a range of teams, including the policy directorate, futures and insight, sales operations and marketing, legal, and people and organisational development.

Boyce added: “I very much look forward to celebrating Black History Month and I look forward to hearing the stories of my Black colleagues in the profession.”

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