About the Winners


Category: Recruitment “Attracting Talent”


Hogan LovellsOne of the Hogan Lovell’s objectives is to increase the number of trainees from economically disadvantaged and black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The firm’s ‘Widening Access’ programme was conceived to help meet this target. Their Graduate Recruitment (GR) team’s Widening Access Programme has developed a range of internal and external stakeholders and partnerships. In July 2013 the firm collaborated with Rare Recruitment to design and deliver a programme of unconscious bias training to all partners involved in graduate recruitment
interviewing. Graduate Recruitment actively promote internal network events to students and future joiners, to allow them to network and experience the firm’s culture and range of activity. The firm’s GR team also attends several of the firm’s network meetings to keep up to date with the activities as well as to promote their work and share key statistics.

The firm’s BAME trainees act as ambassadors for the firm and are crucial role models for prospective BAME applicants. The vacation schemes are crucial elements of firm’s graduate recruitment strategy and at Hogan Lovells more than half of trainees recruited in 2015 attended one of the firm’s vacation schemes.

The impact is being seen at all levels of the firm’s graduate recruitment campaign, where representation from ethnic minorities is significantly higher. The result of the programme is the BAME firm’s hires grew and there was a significant number of the firm’s 2015 summer vacation
recruits are BAME students.

Category: Retention “Talent Management”



Linklaters introduced its 12-month apprenticeship scheme within Business Services in 2011. The scheme complements its Community Investment ‘Learn for Work’ initiative, which aims to build the skills, experience and aspirations of young people in neighbourhoods close to their offices. The programme targets young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have limited, or often no, qualifications and are therefore more marginalised from the workforce. It is a key element of Linklaters’ Realising Potential social mobility programme, which aims to diversify the firm’s workforce, a key priority for the firm.

Linklaters’ Community Investment strategy is focused on the borough of Hackney, however the apprenticeship scheme was, until 2015, solely linked to the borough of Islington. Islington was selected, as it is the eighth most deprived borough in the country, with a large number of people out of work and dependent on benefits. The borough is often overlooked for corporate community investment by city institutions in favour of Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

Whilst gaining on-the-job experience and one-to-one mentoring at the firm, the apprentices complete work-based learning qualifications such as level 2/3 NVQ in Business Administration. Since the introduction of the scheme, four cohorts have completed apprenticeships within Business Services with a retention rate averaging c.50%. 100% of the apprentices retained by the firm are still working for Linklaters.

The success of the apprenticeship scheme was instrumental in the firm being named by the government a Social Mobility Business Compact Champion in November 2014. As champions, Linklaters is driving a new benchmark for social mobility by committing to meet a set of strict criteria.


The following awards are made in respect of a firm or chambers ranking #1 within the 2015 Diversity League Table publication.

City 10 Firm: Linklaters


Linklaters is a leading global law firm, supporting clients in achieving their strategies wherever they do business. Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do. It has an effect on the way our people experience life in a broad sense and life at Linklaters specifically. It is a critical business driver which informs every major business function; being leaders in Diversity and Inclusion equals being leaders in business.

International Firm: Fasken Martineau


Fasken Martineau is a leading international business law and litigation firm with broad legal expertise and deep industry knowledge. Fasken Martineau is committed to a diverse and welcoming workplace. The mandate of our Diversity Committee is to ensure that the firm’s deep commitment to diversity and inclusiveness is fulfilled in every aspect of its operations and that we recognise` and leverage our difference and similarities.

Firm of the Year: Freeths


Freeths have offices in London and all the major cities in the UK. With 138 Partners & Directors and over 700 members of staff Freeths have a clear Diversity and Equal Opportunities Policy in place, a policy that applies to all aspects of recruitment, employment, promotion and training. Part of this is providing an inclusive work environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and making sure there are no obstacles based on race gender or any other characteristics. Freeths is ranked as one of the 100 best companies to work for and a Top Ranked “Chambers” Leading Firm 2016.

Chambers of the Year: Coram Chambers


Coram is a leading family law Chambers providing representation and advice to clients in London and across England and Wales. Coram are also recognised for a principled commitment to equality and diversity in recruitment. As a set of Chambers that “work together in pursuit of a common purpose, whilst recognising that it is the contribution which we make as individuals which creates our success. We recognise that the provision of equal opportunities in Chambers will help Members of Chambers, pupils and staff to develop their full potential, talent and resources and allow us as an organisation to succeed”.

Individual awards JUDGED CATEGORIES

BSN Rising Star

Shaunée James (Associate, Reed Smith LLP)

shauneeShaunée James is an Associate Solicitor in the structured finance team of Reed Smith LLP’s Finance Industry Group, joining Reed Smith as a trainee in 2012. On joining Reed Smith she became involved in their existing diversity initiatives. Acting on her own initiative, she launched a Multi-cultural Committee in May 2015, as the first step towards the establishment of a Multi-cultural Network in the UK/EMEA. Shaunée has reached out to The Network of Networks, a cross-City initiative that brings together many similar action groups in organisations in London and is working with the BAME chapter to understand best practice in this area and learn from what is working elsewhere. Shaunée co-ordinates the firm’s involved with The Multi-cultural Committee, supports and works closely with the other strands of Reed Smith’s diversity strategy, NOTICED, a cross-firm committee set up to focus on multi-cultural issues in the profession.

On gender diversity, she is a vocal contributor to women’s initiatives within the firm. As one of the most junior members of the group, she saw it as part of her mission to represent the interests of younger women, while at the same time showing women in more junior roles in the firm that gender diversity was relevant to them, too. She also joined the 30% Club’s ‘Millennials’ group, looking at the motivations and challenges for younger people in the City.

Diversity Champion

Sally Penni (Kenworthys Chambers, Manchester)

sallySally Penni has practiced both Criminal and Employment Law since 2000, joining “Chambers 2016 Top ranked” Manchester Chambers, Kenworthy’s in 2004. Sally has a practice that combines criminal and employment law work. On the criminal front she handles a good deal of violent crime and serious sexual offences. She is also on the list of counsel for the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Outside of practice Sally is involved in numerous activities in the areas of diversity, equality and inclusion. Sally is passionate about Equal rights, equal pay and getting women to the top. She is Joint Vice Chair of the Association of Women Barristers. She organises Women in the Law dinners in Manchester.

She is a supporter of the Northern Powerhouse and an active member of the Institute of Directors especially the North west Women’s Forum and is heavily involved with the work of Women on Boards UK, acting as a mentor as required. She is a supporter of the 30% Club set up Baroness Helen Kennedy QC and the 2 % Club the NW region

Sally is passionate about Social Mobility for young people and is the Regional Coordinator for the Bar Mock Trials Citizenship Foundation Mock trials competition at Crown Courts in Manchester coordinating the annual competition with Schools, Judiciary and the HMCT court staff.

BSN Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award

Sophie Chandauka
Head of Group Treasury (Legal), Virgin Money Group

sophieSophie is the Head of Group Treasury – Legal at the Virgin Money Group. Prior to joining Virgin Money, Sophie was a Senior Associate at Baker & McKenzie. As a corporate finance expert, Sophie’s transactions since January 2012 have included the acquisition of Northern Rock and deals in excess of £9bn, including Virgin Money’s recent flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Prior to Virgin Money, Sophie was a Senior Associate at Baker & McKenzie, advising leading global businesses. Sophie has been recognised for her corporate finance expertise and leadership by the British Legal Awards, The Lawyer Awards, Women of the Future Awards and in Management Today’s 35 under 35. In 2013 she was profiled in Financial News’ editorial pick of 40 Rising Stars under 40 in the European legal profession. Sophie has featured in the Power List 2014 and 2015 as being one of the most influential Black Britons and The Lawyer Hot 100 in Britain in 2015. Her community service has included being a mentor and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and a Board member of Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry which supports children affected by HIV in Africa.

Sophie is passionate about recognising and shining a light on the often unsung outstanding achievements of, and excellence in leadership by, black people in businesses (including the legal profession) globally. She co-founded the Black British Business Awards, now in its second successful year and is the only premium awards programme that recognises, rewards and celebrates exceptional performance and outstanding achievements of black people in businesses operating in Great Britain. The Awards are backed by the Evening Standard and endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron, and since its inaugural year in 2014 the ceremony has doubled in size with sponsorship from EY, Baker & McKenzie, Barclays, KPMG, Microsoft, Reuters, Bloomberg, Virgin Money to name a few.

Sophie also provides leadership on BME diversity initiatives at Virgin Money and previously as a senior lawyer with Baker & McKenzie. In this regard, she was instrumental in driving the growth and influence of The Network of Networks Leaders (BAME/Multicultural Chapter) (TNON), which aims to bring together network leaders from a range of organisations to enable collaboration and provide a platform to share ideas for developing their respective networks and to support and drive best practices. As an Executive Group member of TNON, Sophie influences and promotes the BME diversity agenda across the legal, corporate and finance sectors.

BSN Lifetime Achievement Award

Walter H. White, Jr
Partner at McGuireWoods LLP London

walterWalter H. White, Jr is a partner in the London office of McGuireWoods where he is the head of the firm’s emerging markets transactions practice. His work consists of multinational securities transactions, international business and finance law issues, and complex litigation and related arbitration. He has represented clients in multibillion-dollar business transactions and litigation throughout North America, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa.

In the late 1980’s he served as Commissioner of Securities for the State of Wisconsin. In that capacity he investigated and prosecuted Drexel Burnham Lambert and authored the Wisconsin “Delaware style” Corporate Takeover Law. He has acted as an advisor to central banks, and financial regulatory agencies in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia on market, economic development and regulatory issues. Significant representations have included Salomon Brothers with regard to their US Treasury bond trading activities, as well as the longstanding representation of one of the world’s largest private commodities brokerage firms and one of the world’s largest aluminium firms on global trading and derivatives issues.

Walter was appointed to the board of the Central Asian American Enterprise Fund by President Clinton and served as its chair. He has served as a non-executive director on the board of the Church Mutual Insurance Company since 1992 where he serves on the Audit Committee. He currently serves on a Financial Markets Law Committee Steering Committee advising the G20 on “Implementing G20 Commitments Consistently”. In the 1990’s He served on the Deans Advisory Board on Finance and International Business at the University of Wisconsin, Graduate School of Business.

In the North American Securities Administrators Association Walter served as chair of the International Corporation Finance Committee; vice-chair of the Corporate Finance Section and on the SEC Task Force on the Canadian Multijurisdictional Disclosure System.

In the American Bar Association he has served on the Board of Governors, chaired the Center on Human Rights, the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the Young Lawyers Division. He has published books and articles on multinational business activity and lectured in North America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

Walter was previously a partner at Bryan Cave in London preceded by his role as partner and Managing Director of Steptoe & Johnson International based in Moscow. Prior to moving overseas in 1994 Walter was a partner at Quarles & Brady and he began his career as an associate at Michael Best & Friedrich.

While earning his law degree from Berkeley Law, Walter was a judicial extern for the Honorable Robert F. Peckham of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Upon graduation from Amherst College, he was named a John Woodruff Simpson Fellow. He also studied at the Leningrad Pedagogical Institute, in (then) Leningrad USSR.

Walter is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, Washington D.C.; Qatar International Court; registered as a foreign lawyer in England and Wales; previously registered as a foreign lawyer in the Russian Federation.