BSN January 2018 Newsletter

Happy New Year! 2018 is set to be an eventful year for BSN, but before we roll out our exciting pipeline of events so far, we wanted to share with you a few highlights from 2017.

We launched the 2017 edition of BSN’s Diversity League Table: 10-year Study (DLT2017). Sponsored by The Law Society, the DLT2017 reported on the barriers and drivers of diversity in the legal profession over the past 10 years. Watch this space for the next phase of BSN’s review of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Getting on Board – we were delighted to host a panel event raising awareness around board opportunities for BAME professionals, in particular public board appointments.

If you’d like more information about becoming a non-executive director in the public sector, visit
https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/search-appointments/ and https://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk.

To celebrate 30 years of Black History Month in the UK, BSN City Group and Linklaters hosted an evening with renowned classical musician, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE. Chi-chi shared her inspirational and thought-provoking story of establishing Chineke!, Europe’s first, truly multicultural, professional orchestra.

The year was rounded off brilliantly with BSN’s flagship event, the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017. The Awards ceremony was held at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel and hosted by award winning broadcaster and writer, Afua Hirsch. Congratulations to all finalists and winners!

We have an exciting series of events and initiatives coming up in the next couple of months. Don’t miss out – save the dates in your diaries now.



BSN is excited to announce the launch of its Junior Lawyers Division. The division will be led by Natalie Carter, Jaya Handa, Ofei Kwafo-Akoto and Cherie Samuels and will focus on the needs of, and issues affecting, black junior lawyers (including solicitors, barristers and attorneys) from trainees to lawyers with up to 7 years post qualification experience whether in private practice, chambers or in-house (including the private and public sectors).

More information will follow in due course, but for now if you wish to join this division and/or attend the launch event, please email JLD@blacksolicitorsnetwork.org.


2018 marks the 9th year of these significant awards and we welcome your support and involvement with the Awards programme as we strive to shift the dial on diversity and inclusion in the profession!

Nominations will open on 3 April 2018 and close on 31 July 2018. The Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the Grange, St Paul’s Hotel.

For enquiries or details on sponsorship opportunities, email enquiries@diversitylegalawards.org.

For more information, visit www.diversitylegalawards.org.


BSN North has had a fantastic 2017 where we met many new faces and developed strong relationships with our existing Members.

We capped off the year with a partnership with professional risk specialist, PIB Insurance. BSN North Chair, Kyle Blackburn, adds “we are delighted to have PIB work with us and we welcome their commitment to helping us achieve some of our goals in 2018”.

Also in the pipeline are sessions for students via our Grassroots channel along with wider network events over the coming months.

Further details of all events will be published in due course. For more information or to join BSN North, visit BSN North, or email bsnnorth@blacksolicitorsnetwork.org.

BSN North Chair: Kyle Blackburn


The reach and impact of our network is global!

Our colleagues at the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Lawyers Tokyo Network (the Network) took part in the Tokyo Tower Climb on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September). It was a race against other corporate bodies in aid of mental health charity, TELL (telljp.com). The Network raised US$ 1,495 for TELL.

About the Network: The Network was founded in July 2017. Its members work across the broad Japanese legal spectrum: top international and domestic law firms, global companies with offices in Japan and legal recruitment. Its aim is to attract global talent to Japan, particularly BME talent. Read more about the Network here:

Founder: James Nepaulsingh
BME Lawyers Tokyo Network

For more information or to join the Network, email: admin@plusfuture.com

BSN and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) support for small firms

The SRA are keen to continue with the series of regulatory workshops for small firms which have been offered to BSN members over the past few years. Members have found these events really useful and we will be finalising dates and locations over the next few weeks.

As well as providing an update about its regulatory reform programme, including phase two of the SRA’s Handbook reforms and proposals for providing the public with Better Information, the SRA can cover practice issues which can be a challenge to small firms such as cybercrime and managing your practice accounts. Let us know the practice issues you would like to hear about from the SRA.
Remember the SRA has useful resources and helplines tailored to small firms which you can refer to, including:
Resources for small firms on the SRA website which brings together information which is focused on small firms
Supervision for small firms – dedicated support for small firms facing regulatory issues
The professional ethics helpline for questions about the Handbook.
And if you want to stay ahead of what is happening in the world of regulation and get involved you can join one of the SRA reference groups, including one specifically for small firms.

Calling out to BSN members in Wales

The SRA are developing activities to promote diversity in the profession in Wales, if you are interested in getting involved or want to find out more, please let us know at enquiries@blacksolicitorsnetwork.org or contact the SRA’s diversity team at diversity@sra.org.uk.

BSN News Update

BSN reported in November that the Law Society intended to issue proceedings for a judicial review of the government’s decision to implement further cuts to payments made to solicitors doing criminal legal aid work.  On the 25th January 2018, the Law Society issued proceedings.  Read more…..

Joe Mensah-Dankwah
BSN Director

BSN needs you!

BSN is a not-for-profit organisation and relies on volunteers to drive its mission and objectives forward. There are a number of ways in which you can get involved, one of them is assisting with building and supporting a strong pipeline of BME talent for the legal profession.

If you are interested in learning more about the legal profession and improving access to the profession,  we would like to hear from law undergraduate students studying other disciplines who would like to be involved in the planning of networking, social and industry events.

For more information on how you get involved, please click here: BSN Needs You!

We hope you find this newsletter informative and useful.  We value your feedback  and welcome your support and involvement with our service offering.  Please do feel free to contact us at enquiries@blacksolicitorsnetwork.org.

Kind regards
Paulette Mastin
Chair, Black Solicitors Network