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Diversity in the legal sector

Listen to Karina from The University of Law's Leeds campus talk about her experience and thoughts on diversity in the legal sector.
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Hi, my name is Trina and I’m a penultimate year law student at the University of Law. I will be talking about my experience as a law student and the support available to help underrepresented groups in the legal sector. I go to a lot of open days or bad days and evening receptions, etc. And one thing I have noticed is that when I interact with a lot of students, I realized that we have all come from different backgrounds and universities. Some come from Oxbridge, Russell Group Universities and middle class backgrounds and that does make me question myself of why I am there or if I fit in the legal sector.
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This is an issue because you feel that there is a hidden barrier, which, because of your background. However, if you are stood there in the networking session, no matter your background or experience is, you have made it to that session and you deserve to be there. That was what I told myself. I decided to focus on just myself and not what people around me were doing and saying. The best advice I can give going through this experience of belonging is that you need to craft your journey and how you look to your future employer, not however an asset looks or what the journey is. Look at your journey. Have you got the best possible grades you can?
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Have you networked and gained valuable connections with different firms and chambers? Have you done any work experience or pro bono to strengthen your applications? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. However, there will be instances where you feel that you need more support. And there are of course, plenty of resources out there. A future trainee solicitor called Justin Farrens, who is a diversity and inclusion advocate has a mentoring scheme called Grow Mentoring, which is about social mobility and widening access to legal profession. Grow is a legal mentoring initiative empowering aspiring lawyers with legal professionals from a range of firms or chambers.
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There are also scholarships and pathways available to help students from unrepresented backgrounds break into the legal sector created by magic circle law firms such as Linklaters to Clifford Chance, and some top barrister chambers. These are fantastic ways for you to get your connections and experiences for you to progress into the legal profession. Diversity in the legal sector is becoming increasingly important. And the fact that these big names have done something to tackle this issue shows you the effort they’ve put in. There is also rare recruitment, aspiring solicitors and the corporate law academy who runs offense and schemes targeted at unrepresented background.
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And finally, LinkedIn is a brilliant platform for you to connect with different people from any firms or chambers and to access a wide range of diverse prospects. Please remember that you make sure that you need to assess whether you fit into the legal sector. And this is all about gaining those experiences and taking advantage of opportunities that are given to you. And if you do so, you’ll no doubt succeed.
Watch this video from Karina from our Leeds campus talk about her experience and thoughts on diversity in the legal sector.

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