How did you choose to make Sidley your professional home?
Prior to joining Sidley, I practised in the London office of another international law firm where I advised mainly banks, broker-dealers and trading venues on EU financial regulatory matters. I received excellent training there, but I was keen to gain experience in asset management and payment services. Sidley was an obvious choice for me; it has strong expertise in both areas, with leading practitioners, and I felt it was a firm where I could develop well professionally. My experience thus far has lived up to my expectations and more.
Can you share a recent accomplishment you’re proud of?
Earlier this year, I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) to travel to the U.S. and research ways to improve financial education in schools in the UK. WCMT funds selected UK citizens to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for some of today’s most pressing problems.
“Celebrating Black History Month means taking a pause to appreciate the contribution of black people to the history of the United Kingdom. It is also a time for me, personally, to reflect on my own contributions to society and reassess how I could make a difference.”
Through my fellowship, I hope to understand what type of financial education works, for whom, and, if possible, why? I am particularly keen to explore how technology could be used to deliver financial education in schools. I plan to share my findings with charities in the UK that are involved in the delivery of financial education and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People.
You have recently been selected to be a Social Mobility Ambassador for the Law Society – please can you tell us a bit more about this role, why you applied and how you hope to use the role over the next two years?
I come from a very modest background. I have no connections to the law, no one in my family had read or practised law. My journey into the legal profession did not happen without its challenges. Undoubtedly, having access to the right mentors along the way aided me greatly in taking the necessary steps.
With that in mind, I wanted to find a way to encourage and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds considering a career in law. The Law Society’s Social Mobility Ambassador scheme was the most efficient way of doing that.
The Law Society selects 10 solicitor ambassadors every two to three years from non-traditional backgrounds to share their experiences of entering the legal profession, including the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
The ambassadors take part in the selection and interview process for the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme, write articles on diversity and inclusion and generally work to raise the profile of social mobility and fair access in the legal profession.
What does celebrating Black History Month mean to you personally?
It means taking a pause to appreciate the contribution of black people to the history of the United Kingdom. It is also a time for me, personally, to reflect on my own contributions to society and reassess how I could make a difference. One way I try to do that is through my trustee role at the Public Law Project (PLP), a fantastic legal charity that champions the rule of law. Just last week, PLP was successful at the UK Court of Appeal in helping overturn the Home Office’s controversial “removal windows’ policy”, which allowed the Home Office to deport people with 72 hours’ notice, often without access to legal advice.
More than 40,000 people were removed under the policy, including members of the Windrush generation.