When I was growing up, I wanted to be an actor, but my parents persuaded me to look into an academic profession. I applied to study Law at Cambridge, and became involved with the law society there. Through one of the society’s talks I met a Herbert Smith Freehills partner called Andre, who encouraged me to apply for the vacation scheme. I committed to a training contract and, when I graduated, worked as a paralegal for Andre before going travelling for six months, couch-surfing across the USA. Since then, I completed the LPC and started working at Herbert Smith Freehills – that was nearly a year ago now.
My Future focus
BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE CAREER I WANT; WHILST TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE PROCESS.
As well as primarily focusing on developing my career as an associate and building the skill-set necessary for success in the early stages of my career, I’m also focused on making sure that diversity and inclusion go from strength to strength. I endeavour to do this by championing and advancing LGBT* rights nationally and internationally through a number of projects that is involved in, as well as internally at the firm.
41% of 18-25 year old LGBT* employees reported that they went back into the closet when they moved from education into full time work, despite being out in their personal lives or at university. As a member of the firm's London IRIS Committee, I wanted to see what we could do to make the transition of our new LGBT* employees into the firm easier. I therefore worked with our Human Resources team to establish an IRIS mentoring programme for future joiners of the firm.
Through the programme, every future joiner is offered a mentor, who is a current member of the firm's IRIS Network. Each mentor is a person who understands the worries and anxieties that most LGBT* people have in starting a new job (especially your first job after university) and can help with the transition, having done it themselves. We then throw a welcome event every six months (to coincide with the new intake of Trainee Solicitors) to enable new joiners to meet others within the IRIS network and for them to see first-hand that it is not only OK to be 'out' at work, but encouraged and respected.