Newsletter - January 2011


BSN City Group would like to wish you a happy and successful 2011!

2010 Year in Review

Thank you to our colleagues and City firms that have supported and sponsored our initiatives over the past year, which included:

  • March 2010 event hosted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP – Africa Emerging Markets – Opportunities and Challenges.  Born out of a growing acknowledgement of the significant potential for growth and investment in Africa emerging economies, this event featured industry, financial markets and legal specialists sharing their views and insights on business and economic successes and challenges, prospects for investment growth and managing legal and regulatory risk when investing in Africa and advising on transactions in this region.   The event was an overwhelming success with well in excess of 100 lawyers in attendance and genuine enthusiasm around the topic. (BSN City Group and Freshfields host panel event).  Watch this space for a follow-up event in the future!
  • June 2010 – for those interested in enhancing their sartorial image and sampling fine wine, we held a “Wine ‘n’ Wear” event in the summer which was hosted by Professor Andrew Ramroop, owner of Maurice Sedwell Bespoke Tailors on Saville Row (http://www.savilerowtailor.com/media.html).  This event provided a fascinating insight into how some of the world’s best suits are cut and fitted courtesy of eminent tailor, Professor Andrew Ramroop, whilst enjoying fine wine and Caribbean canapés!
  • October 2010 event hosted by Clifford Chance LLP and held in association with The City of London Law Society (CLLS) – Introduction to The City of London Law Society – Embracing Diversity. David McIntosh QC (Hon), Chairman of CLLS provided an overview of the CLLS's varied activities and initiatives and explained the benefits that CLLS membership offers, not least of which is a greater stake in shaping opinion and practices of City firms and institutions.  Guest speaker, Phil Walker, Managing Director of Thunderland, provided thought leadership on managing diversity and talent.  As well as marking Black History Month, the event celebrated the second anniversary of BSN City Group.

We should also like to highlight and recognise the achievements of three prominent black lawyers during the past year.  Our warmest congratulations to: 

  • Solomon Wifa, who in Spring 2010 was appointed by leading international firm, O’Melveny & Myers, as its youngest-ever managing partner to head up its London office.
  • Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, managing partner of Oxford & Beaumont Solicitors with offices in Accra, Ghana and London (and one of the key panellists at our Africa emerging markets event in March 2010), who was awarded the highly coveted accolade of Young Global Leader for 2010 by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership.
  • Anna Gardner, legal director of global emerging markets and legal strategy for Hewlett Packard, who received the prestigious Solicitor of the Year – In-house 2010 award from the Law Society at its Excellence Awards 2010 ceremony in October, having impressed the judges with the huge breadth of her work, her team approach and her skills and success in new business development. Her ability to perform at such a high level in business makes her an inspiration to other in-house lawyers. (Law Society). 

Diversity League Table: The Results


The 5th annual Diversity League Table (DLT) presents a new order, as Linklaters and One Crown Office Row now head up the overall league tables for firms and Chambers respectively in 2010.


The DLT, produced by the Black Solicitors Network (edited by Michael Webster), is an important management tool and one of the legal profession’s leading diversity reporting publications. Looking across four diversity strands of disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, the publication offers the diversity profiles of many of the UK’s leading firms and Chambers, also ranking them in key areas before compiling the various tables which come together to give the overall Diversity League Table. 


This year’s DLT saw the introduction of the BSN Diversity Quotient™.  The Diversity Quotient is made up in part by the demographic rankings, and also a new component, “Policy & Practice” rankings. This new aspect makes it possible to consider day-to-day actions taken to improve diversity within a practise, alongside actual outcomes. Participants are given a score in both areas (demographic ranking and policy & practice ranking) and the combined scores are used to determine their Diversity Quotient, which in turn is used to determine their position in the overall DLT.

Virtually all the City’s top 10 firms participated in the survey. Allen & Overy retained their position as the highest ranked City 10 firm, followed by Linklaters in second place and Norton Rose in third.  This year, eight of the largest 10 international firms based in the UK feature in the DLT, with O’Melveny & Myers taking the number one position, followed by Baker & McKenzie and Arnold & Porter in second and third place respectively.

Further reading:

The Future

We are proud of our accomplishments since BSN City Group’s inception in 2008 and very much welcome your ongoing support as we continue our mission and commitment to the professional development of black commercial lawyers (both in-house and in private practice) practising in and around the City of London and Canary Wharf.  In delivering on our mission, we value and rely on the engagement of our members (City lawyers) and stakeholders in identifying and bringing to our attention ideas, suggestions and feedback for future programmes and/or events as well as information (including career opportunities) that you wish to share with us and/or fellow City lawyers.  So please do get in touch with us to discuss how we can support you as part of this initiative going forward: email: bsncitygroup@blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk

We will keep you posted of upcoming events (which promise to be topical and relevant) and any other developments of interest in the coming weeks and months!


Best wishes


Paulette Mastin
BSN City Group – Chair


BSN City Group Committee: Paulette Mastin, Donna Samuels (Vice-Chair), Michael Webster, Trevor James, Nick Willetts, Sharon Thomas, Bayo Odubeko and Akima Paul


For further information about BSN City Group, visit: BSN City Group