In November 2020 we held our first Diversity Matters event to highlight the importance of diversity in the workplace. We heard from a number of speakers who all spoke passionately and informatively about their specialist areas. Today we’re catching up with solicitor, co-founder of the Black Men in Law Network and winner of the UK Diversity Legal Awards Rising Star for Entrepreneurship Award 2018, Isaac Eloi. His talk focused on believing in yourself and claiming what you deserve while Black, LGBTQ and disabled.
I studied law with Spanish at the University of Sheffield. I trained at Freeths and sat in the commercial real estate, pensions and competition, corporate and commercial dispute resolution teams. I qualified in September 2020.
I wanted to be involved in ULaw’s Diversity Matters so I could give back to my postgraduate alma mater and to encourage the next generation of lawyers coming up. Diversity is at the heart of all I do. It’s essential that we have all aspects of society represented within the law to truly serve the public in the best way. Increased diversity will make for more enjoyable and profitable working environments. It will also slowly eradicate barriers to access for those from disadvantaged and non-traditional backgrounds. I really looked forward to the event; to hearing from my peers and learning something new. As they say, you do learn something new every day.
I went from supporting diversity to becoming a speaker and public advocate by getting involved; it is the best way. I started to realise that I had a voice and spoke to people and became the person that 12-year-old me needed to hear from.
Students can show their support for diversity by starting small and continuing to push the dial. You never know whom you’ll inspire and where the journey will take you. You should get involved in societies and communities from your university studies because you not only gain valuable skill but can appreciate the journey when you look back.
This generation is the key to keeping the change for diversity going. One day you will be the seniors, the partners, the QCs and the leading counsel. You might not think it but you will be. Use your generation’s outspoken nature and use it for good. Challenge those who think how far progress has come is ‘good enough’ and keep pushing the dial. Support those who need the help and are disadvantaged in power dynamical terms. It’s really important we learn about each other and our various journeys to the present. It’s only through listening and learning that we grow.
Discover more about this subject on our blog with diversity and disability advocate Yasmin Sheikh.