First 100 Years Champions: Trailblazers in the Legal Sector

Published 1st December 2016

The First 100 Years Champions have been selected for their committment to furthering equality in Law and beyond. This week, two champions have been featured in the national media to advance the causes of diversity and equality in the profession.

Barry Matthews has been a champion for diversity in Law throughout his career. He currently works at ITV where – through the Legal Social Mobility Partnership scheme – he helps law firms and in-house teams collaborate to provide ways for over 200 students from state schools to experience working in Law.

In a recent article in the Financial Times, Barry explains he wanted to create the work experience and support programme he craved as a 17-year-old growing up on a council estate, to avoid the problem repeating itself for each new generation.

LSMP’s two-week programme immerses participants in commercial organisations, backed up with training in legal and softer skills.

Another First 100 Years champion, Funke Abimbola, has recently spoken on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on how women can own their ambition, and the importance of recognising, rather than down-playing, their talent. There are of course negative connotations of women being assertive in the workplace, and although Funke says she has “softened” her approach in the workplace, she makes no apologies for being clear in her ask.

The First 100 Years Champions are challenging inequality throughout the legal sector, ensuring a bright future for all those who wish to enter into the profession.