Why did you decide to study Law, why in London, and why King’s?
From a young age I have felt driven to be an advocate for others, speaking up against injustices and empowering others to understand and defend their rights. At school, this meant campaigning for the widening of opportunities for young people, and it later led to my decision to pursue a career as a lawyer.
Why London and King’s? That’s easy. I wanted to be in a multicultural environment and in the heart of the legal world. There really is no better place if you want to be in the middle of the action.
What has been your career path since graduation?
I graduated from King’s in 2005 with an LLB in Law with Honours. After a short stint at Price Waterhouse Coopers for 6 months as a tax graduate, I went to the US to study International Law at New York University, graduating with an LLM in 2007. On my return to the UK, I completed the Bar Vocational Course and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2008.
Having decided that a career in international commercial arbitration was for me, I accepted a position at global law firm Hogan Lovells and started working in 2009 from their London and Dubai offices, representing some of the world’s largest corporations in international arbitration disputes with a focus on Africa.
After almost a decade at Hogan Lovells, in 2018 I pursued a cause that had become close to my heart, making world-class legal services more affordable and accessible to entrepreneurs across Africa using legal technology. Strand Sahara was born.
Can you tell us more about NOTICED. What do you feel you have achieved through that initiative?
As a Black woman in a city law firm I was often the ‘only one in the room’ and I was all too aware of the acute under representation of Black men and women in the legal profession, especially in commercial law practice. I have long been a champion for diversity and inclusion in the profession, being one of the founding Co-Chairs of the inter-law firm diversity network, NOTICED, and a committee member of the Law Society’s Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division.
NOTICED supports people in the legal profession from non-white backgrounds, celebrating their success and promoting debate about cultural change. Around the time that NOTICED started in 2013, there was a lot of concern within city firms about the lack of ethnic diversity within our profession – and a desire to build an inter-firm network that would provide strength in numbers.