One of the most enjoyable aspects of what I do at the Black Lawyers Directory (BLD) is interviewing lawyers (and indeed non-lawyers), particularly for our Lawyers of the Month feature. What has struck me is that a significant number of those that I had interviewed were given what will now be shocking advice when they were starting out. One Chief Crown Prosecutor was told that they were aiming too high and should instead look at secretarial work. One partner at a top 100 law firm was told to forget becoming a lawyer and join the army instead because colour does not matter then. An amusing story, as told to me by John Roberts QC, was when he had just finished his pupillage and was looking for a tenancy. He recalled: "A clerk said to me: 'Sorry, sir, with you being black, solicitors won't brief you. If they do, I will eat my hat!'"
Leading City law firms are becoming increasingly diverse, but the profession still needs a lot of encouragement, says Debo Nwauzu
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