Legal profession celebrates influential Black women lawyers
In England and Wales, Solicitors will commemorate Black History Month by embracing the “Saluting our Sisters” theme, a focus on the significant contributions of Black women to history, their influence in driving change, and their role in community development, according to The Law Society.
The President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lubna Shuja, expressed her enthusiasm for celebrating Black History Month alongside her colleagues. She emphasized the theme’s relevance, especially as the legal profession marked a century of women’s presence in the field at the end of the previous year, while also actively shaping the future of the profession. Shuja continued:
“As we reflect on our profession’s history, we recognize numerous Black legal luminaries who have left an indelible mark. Notable figures include Baroness Patricia Scotland, who attained the distinction of being the first Black woman appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1991, Stella Thomas, the first West African woman to be called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1933, Dame Linda Dobbs, who achieved the historic milestone of becoming the first non-white High Court Judge in the UK in 2004, and, of course, I. Stephanie Boyce, who made history as the first Black woman to assume the role of President at the Law Society in 2021.
These exceptional Black women represent just a fraction of the trailblazers within our profession. Countless more Black lawyers continue to make significant contributions.”
To welcome young Black voices into the legal profession, the Law Society remains actively involved in the #10000BlackInterns initiative. This program provides paid work experience opportunities for young Black individuals across various sectors, including law, and aims to establish a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship. Lubna Shuja further remarked:
“I had the privilege of collaborating with our seven Black interns, and the Law Society greatly benefited from their valuable contributions.
These interns made positive impacts across various facets of our organization. Their unwavering motivation brought fresh perspectives and fostered a positive atmosphere within our ranks.
I wholeheartedly urge the legal profession to participate in this initiative. By embracing new voices and diverse experiences, we can enhance our ability to serve our clients and society.
I sincerely hope that the #10000BlackInterns initiative will inspire other firms to extend full or part-time employment opportunities to their ambitious and dedicated interns, thereby welcoming a new generation of young Black men and women into our esteemed profession.”