Coming from a Nigerian background there a few avenues you are pushed down, and my mum thought being a lawyer was what I was good at. Sciences didn’t work for me; law made sense at age 16. I was born in Oxford but grew up in Aylesbury. I have been in London for six years now.
I went to a good school in Aylesbury, where I was taught how to do applications; the education I got helped me get to university. I worked hard at university but I didn’t set aside enough time to properly apply for training contracts which meant that when I did apply, I wasn’t successful. I did some work experience and worked in paralegal roles, which really improved my CV.
I had more visibility of solicitors coming into university to do talks; more so than barristers. I went to Leeds University and there are good connections with law firms. Those things probably did push me to private practice. I feel like there is a disconnect between universities and the Bar.
I am a commercial associate and there are a lot intricacies of how corporations work. Data protection is pervasive at the moment. I am keeping an open mind on my specialism.
I think things are getting better – there are a lot of black juniors that are coming through. But when you look up to more senior members of businesses there aren’t that many people like you – for some people, they may ask when Black lawyers leave or plateau.
There is an issue surrounding retention and pushing Black lawyers higher. I think it is important to have role models, knowing and having somebody that has had the same experience as you, to see them rise up is aspiring.