Keen to make the legal sector more inclusive, Barings Law, continues to invest in future talent by offering training contracts to its latest cohort who say they’re ‘proud’ to be representing women from ethnic minority backgrounds in the industry.
Newly appointed trainees, Saphina Coates Mohammed and Aisha Kazeem, say they’re ‘delighted’ with landing the opportunity after years of fighting fierce competition.
Based in their Cardinal House headquarters in Manchester, Barings has grown since its inception in 2009 to a firm with over 100 staff that has recovered millions in compensation for clients.
The business is passionate about developing future legal minds and breaking stereotypes about the legal sector by showcasing its diverse talent.
100-years since the first women qualified to be solicitors, the trainees speak of what securing training contracts means to them while encouraging more women, particularly ethnically diverse women, in the legal industry.
Saphina (24), who is currently doing her LPC part-time, graduated from the University of Law, Sheffield, in 2020 and started working at the firm 2 years ago as a paralegal.
“During university, I spent a year studying in Spain and had to get flights back to England for training contract interviews,” she said. “A ‘no’ was always so deflating especially when you’ve paid money for a plane ticket.
“When Barings gave me the good news, I was beyond words. It’s great to see such a forward-thinking law firm that recognises how inclusivity and diversity can enrich a business.
“It has been a long road getting to this point, and I want to thank the firm for giving me this chance.
“When I started, the firm only had around 20 people and now it has grown to well over 100. But it still has that ‘family’ feel where everyone is approachable and willing to help.
“My goal is to qualify as a solicitor and continue to change people’s lives for the better.”
Trainees get the opportunity to work for 18 months in varied areas of law, speaking with clients and receiving the very best training from some of the most experienced solicitors in the industry.
Her counterpart, Aisha (23), graduated with her LLB from the University of Kent in 2019 before doing her LPC and MSc from the University of Law, Birmingham.
Also having completed an MBA from the University of Chester, she has been with the firm for just under a year and also started as a paralegal and litigation assistant.
She said: “Between us, we must have sent over a hundred applications to different firms since my second year of university.
“When Barings gave me the opportunity, it was like a dream come true. I walked into the Managing Director’s office when he told me, and it felt like I was on cloud nine.
“It’s also refreshing to see a firm that is so inclusive in an industry that hasn’t always been the most diverse over the years.
“The firm has poured just as much into me as I have into the firm and it’s great to see my efforts recognised.
“For me, it helped getting my foot through the door as a paralegal first and then working my way into the position I wanted.
“My advice to budding solicitors is, don’t give up.”
While developing its in-house talent, Barings is also looking to expand its existing legal team by adding 20 more solicitors and paralegals in the next 2 months.
Managing Director, Craig Cooper, commented:
“We are extremely proud of the opportunities we give to our future solicitors.
“Our latest cohort of trainees bring with them an abundance of skills that they’ve developed as paralegals within the firm and their hard work has been clear to see.
“While the legal market remains competitive, we’re thrilled that our firm continues to attract the very best across the industry.”