Toynbee Hall and Cleary Gottlieb are proud to launch The Champions Project to support young Black people with aspirations in the legal profession

Toynbee Hall and Cleary Gottlieb are proud to launch The Champions Project to support young Black people with aspirations in the legal profession

Young black woman e-learning making notes looking at laptop

Toynbee Hall and long-standing corporate partner Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP have partnered to launch the Champions Project, a programme for black people in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets at university, or who have recently graduated—both aspiring to become lawyers or are interested in one of the many professional careers in an international law firm.

Both Toynbee Hall and Cleary Gottlieb are committed to eliminating all forms of structural racism and maximizing opportunities for Black lawyers. The Champions Project is part of this commitment

Participants in will be matched with a colleague within their London office as a means of widening access to law firms and creating positive change within the legal profession.

The project will initially be launched with 4-6 pairs in September for a twelve-month period, but we aim for many more pairs in the coming weeks/months. We are also working with Toynbee Hall to offer training to all volunteers.

Quote from Jasmine Ashley-Tagoe, Free Legal Advice Centre Manager

“I cannot over-state the importance of mentor relationships for professional and personal development. I am a young Black woman but I didn’t think I ‘needed’ a mentor until I got one. Only then did I begin to understand the value of having guidance and objective, strategic input from someone more experienced in my profession. My mentors have been sounding boards, have elevated and promoted me, questioned me and supported me.

I believe this is invaluable for everyone, but particularly for young Black professionals for whom the reality often is that the system does not afford the same access or opportunities, and falling into ‘informal’ mentoring relationships is that much harder.  Against that background, the ability of strong mentor relationships through programmes like this to change a person’s career and life trajectory should not be underestimated.”

Naomi Tarawali, Associate, Cleary Gottlieb

Amplifying Voices                   

It is equally important that the contributions of black professionals are noted and seen by the wider community. Working with our partners at Cleary and volunteers, we will collate vlogs which share the experiences of Black professionals working within the City. Topics can include, but need not be limited to:

1. What do you like most about what you do and what is the wider impact of your role within your organisation?

2. Name one thing you would like to see change positively for Black people in professional settings.

Cleary Gottlieb are also assisting us to create legal resources which will be publically available on our website and through our service that will offer support in addressing issues around racial justice. A team has been working to create content on the topic of ‘stop and search’. This and more topics will be added to our website soon.


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