Big Law backs #10000BlackInterns initiative


Muireann Bolger

Big Law backs #10000BlackInterns initiative

Diana Vucane /

Leading legal organisations have rallied behind the national #10000BlackInterns initiative, a programme providing 10,000 paid internships to black graduates in the UK that will launch this summer.

The Law Society of England and Wales entered the scheme last month, joining law firms including Linklaters, Osborne Clarke, Taylor Wessing and Travers Smith. The Bar Council and other chambers including Keating, Littleton, Matrix and QEB Hollis Whiteman have also supported the scheme.

To date, 22 law firms have confirmed their participation in the programme.

The campaign was founded last summer by Redington co-founder Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, Capstone Investment Advisors president Jonathan Sorrell, Barrington-Hibbert Associates founder Michael Barrington-Hibbert and Livingbridge managing partner Wol Kolade. It aims to broaden career opportunities for young black people and address the under-representation of black talent in industries, including the legal sector

The 10,000 Black Interns programme will offer paid work experience across a range of sectors, providing training and development opportunities designed to create “a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship” for the black community.

Law Society president David Greene said: “The law can offer a rewarding and fulfilling career. We hope interning at The Law Society—or law firms signed up to the initiative—will open doors for aspiring young black talent and inspire participants to pursue a legal career.”

He continued: “We are proud to participate in the #10000BlackInterns initiative and encourage law firms and legal businesses to take part and invest in the next generation of young black talent.”

According to a 2020 report by the Law Society, only 8% of partners in the UK’s top 50 firms come from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, representing a rise of just 1% since 2014.

More than half of black barristers in the UK (58%) believe that their career opportunities have or may have been negatively affected by their race, according to a 2020 study by the Black Barristers’ Network (BBN).

Other industries taking part in #10000BlackInterns include education, healthcare, insurance, technology, banking and finance, as well as the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

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Big Law, Law Society of England and Wales, Linklaters, Osborne Clarke, Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, the Bar Council Keating, Littleton