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From Lexis®PSL In-house: A series of interviews with in-house lawyers who are professional ambassadors for Aspiring Solicitors, an organisation aiming to increase diversity in the legal profession. To launch the series, Aspiring Solicitors' founder, Chris White, explains what inspired him to set up the organisation and how he is working with the in-house sector to tackle diversity issues.
What is your background and why did you set up Aspiring Solicitors?
I am a qualified lawyer and originally practised in corporate law. After practising for over three years, I took the big step of leaving my law firm and founded Aspiring Solicitors. The idea was to set up an organisation focused on providing help to students from underrepresented groups who want to enter the legal profession. I've always had an interest in this area and have been involved in helping students wanting to be lawyers since I secured my training contract.
The motivation for founding Aspiring Solicitors was my own background and personal experience. I come from a low-income family, attended state school and then went on to study at a non-Russell Group university. I was the first generation in my family to graduate from university and the first to become a lawyer. My own experience has shown me how resistant the legal profession can be to embracing the diverse backgrounds of aspiring lawyers. At one interview, for example, I was told that while my CV was excellent, my Essex accent meant I would require elocution lessons before I could talk to clients.
What is the aim behind Aspiring Solicitors?
The overarching aim of Aspiring Solicitors is to increase diversity in the legal profession. To achieve this, we have three objectives. The first is to provide increased access, opportunities and assistance to students from underrepresented backgrounds who want to enter the profession. Secondly, Aspiring Solicitors wants to educate and inform about the importance of diversity from academic study through to practice. Our third aim is to increase awareness about diversity from within the profession itself.
We strive to represent a
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Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community. She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.
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