Doing the right thing

I am aware that the legal profession is seriously affected by the current recession and that many students who have passed the LSF or LPC have been unable to secure training contracts.

The situation is even grimmer if you are a black woman – like myself. Sometimes firms ask you to attach a passport-sized photo to your CV. Is this so that they can identify you at the reception? I don’t think so. Is it really nothing to do with wanting to check your race, sex or class before inviting you to interview?

I invariably do what they ask, knowing full-well that my CV would go straight into the “No” letter tray in that first elimination stage. Why do they continue this charade?

I have been unable to obtain articles, despite thousands of applications. I have a first-class degree from the Sorbonne, I speak four languages, and I’m told that I am articulate and presentable. So, what is the problem?

I suspect there is a policy (call it a gentlemen’s agreement if you wish) to keep black people out of the profession.

Very few City firms have black people working in them and, by operating this form of discrimination, these firms are missing out on potentially brilliant lawyers.

We are not asking for affirmative action but that you offer us the chance to compete with everyone else. And, if you must judge us, judge us on merit – not by the shade of our skin.

We long to be part of the solution, not the problem. So, come on… do the right thing!

Delaney Igbo