The legal profession in England & Wales has repeatedly acknowledged that it is failing to tackle the issue of racial disparity and inequality within its ranks. This fundamental issue exhibits itself in a variety of different ways and represents a systemic problem for the whole sector.
In this session, the first in this year’s Future of Legal Practice series from the Professional Law Institute, our expert panel will share their insights into this failure and identify constructive future approaches to enable genuine, lasting change in the profession.
The event will be chaired by Samidha Malhotra, Senior Lecturer within the Professional Law Institute at The Dickson Poon School of Law.
About our speakers
Stephanie Boyce is the Director of Stephanie Boyce Consulting Limited, a consultancy that advises on the management and governance of not-for-profit organisations.
Stephanie also sits as an Independent Person to the Standards Committee of her local authority and as a panel member to the Independent Educational Appeals Panel and is a former presenter on the Women Lawyers Division Returners Course.
Stephanie was elected as Deputy Vice President of the Law Society of England and Wales in July 2019. She took office as Vice President in 2020 and will become the Law Society’s sixth woman president and its first ethnic minority President in 2021.
Meera Ferguson is Deputy General Counsel at The Adecco Group . She is a City trained lawyer with over 20 years in-house experience. As Adecco’s Deputy General Counsel, has management and operational delivery of the UK’s legal function across a multi branded organisation, which include companies such as Badenoch & Clark, Spring, and Office Angels.
She has a ‘People First’ approach to training legal professionals and equipping them with the right skills to work in-house and be key business partners.
Her Honour Judge Kaly Kaul QC is Vice President of the Association of Women Barristers, one of the Judicial founder members of Women in Criminal Law, a Tutor Judge for the Judicial College and assisted the JAC in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Recorder Competitions and the 2019 Circuit Judge Competition.
She has a particular interest in vulnerable witnesses and defendants, child exploitation, honour based violence, forced marriage, domestic violence, and equality, diversity, bullying/ discrimination in the workplace and the advancement of women and those from minority ethnic groups. She believes that all Judges and Lawyers should undergo specific and specialised unconscious bias training every year. She spends a great deal of time mentoring and assisting advocates to progress with particular emphasis on women, BAME advocates, and those from non traditional backgrounds or in sets of Chambers/Solicitors practices where support of that kind is not available.
Modupe Smith is a barrister specialising in general civil litigation. She is of mixed Nigerian and Irish heritage and grew up in Nigeria. She left Nigeria when she was 15 years old due to the political unrest at the time and moved to the UK. She studied law at the University of Leicester before attending the College of Law to undertake the BVC. Modupe practised in Criminal Law until she left the Bar in 2007 to teach the BPTC at the University of Law.
She became Criminal Team Leader and Criminal and Ethics Course Designer during her 10 years there. Modupe also taught the International Commercial Practice option. While working full time she undertook a Masters in International Economic and Finance Law at Birkbeck. She moved into banking and worked for Standard Chartered Bank for 2 years in their Compliance department where she was promoted within a year. She left banking and went back to the Bar in November 2019 at Clerksroom, the first purely online set of Chambers. She now undertakes a wide variety of Civil work including aviation, personal injury, contract and education law. Modupe remains a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Law.
Lynne Townley was called to the Bar as a Harmsworth Scholar in 1996 (Middle Temple) and by the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland (2018), Lynne is a criminal barrister and lecturer on the Bar Professional Training Course at City Law School, University of London. From 2003 – 2015, Lynne held a number of posts in the Crown Prosecution Service, including as a Crown Advocate, Advocacy Assessor, and Advocacy Manager for CPS London. She was also a Senior Policy Advisor, and was CPS national policy lead on homicide; honour-based violence/forced marriage, and FGM. Lynne has been a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Murder Review Advisory Group and the Legal Advisor to NHS Health Education England. Lynne is the current Chair of the Association of Women Barristers and was a Committee Member of the South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess. She is the co-author, along with HHJ Kaly Kaul QC, of a report on bullying and harassment at the bar.
Daniel Winterfeldt QC (Hon) is a partner in Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group. His specialisation is US Securities and he advises investment banks and corporate issuers on a wide range of securities transactions.
Daniel is also the founder and chair of the InterLaw Diversity Forum, which seeks to promote meritocracy and inclusion for diverse groups in the legal sector. The Forum was 'Highly Commended' by the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards in 2016 and shortlisted for 'Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion' at the 2019 Law Society Excellence Awards.
Daniel’s extraordinary contributions to the legal profession, for his capital markets work and his contributions to diversity, inclusion and culture, have also been recognised with an Hon QC and, more recently, an MBE.