Any organisation which strives to create a diverse and inclusive culture has to ask itself difficult questions:
- Why do we have a gender pay gap?
- Why are minority groups less successful in application processes?
- Why are senior leadership teams still not reflective of the industries they lead?
In the legal sector, a new question is emerging: Why do black men experience the legal sector differently from others?
While we may not yet have the answers, it's important to recognise that the conversation regarding the specific challenges faced by black men in law has begun, as shown by the formation of the Black Men in Law (BML) Network. The BML Network exists to inspire, uplift, connect and support black men who work in the legal profession, and those who want to enter it. It was formed in recognition that too few black men were represented in firms across the City of London, particularly in partnership roles.
In October 2018 White & Case hosted the BML Network's first formal event, the #FutureMe Series. Phase 1 of the event aimed to help members of the network understand how to secure a training contract, and provided practical guidance on how to excel in the application process and at interviews. Phase 2 attendees had the opportunity to hear the experiences of black men working at White & Case.
Joshua Siaw (London) shared his journey to partner at White & Case, while Gabriel Onagoruwa and Deji Adegoke (both London) discussed their experiences as associates, citing motivation, resilience and dedication as key themes in their careers.
White & Case partner Joshua Siaw (London) delivers keynote speech. Counsel Tallat Hussain (London) interviews London associates Gabriel Onagoruwa and Deji Adegoke. Participants at the BML Network #FutureMe Series event ask panellists about their experiences at White & Case.
White & Case's continued partnership with the BML Network will give us the opportunity to continuously ask the difficult questions, but also to help uncover answers and solutions to ensure our sector creates an environment which empowers black men to thrive in the legal profession.