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5th October 2023

Celebrating Black History Month at Hunters

Celebrating Black History Month at Hunters
Anna Roiser
Anna Roiser
Senior Knowledge Lawyer

Hunters' Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team has been hard at work preparing to celebrate Black History Month with a series of events across the month.

Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contribution of Black people to British society. The theme this year is 'Saluting our Sisters', highlighting the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities.

We’re thrilled that our headline BHM event will be a talk to the firm from Barbara Mills KC, who this year became the first Black person to be elected Vice-Chair of the Bar Council.

Barbara is also of course a respected King’s Counsel, joint head of family chambers 4PB, a Recorder and Deputy High Court Judge, as well as co-chair of the Bar Council’s Race Working Group.

It’s a real honour for Hunters that Barbara has agreed to join us to celebrate her success as a trail-blazing Black woman in the legal world, as well as the success of so many others.

This month we will also be running a book club discussion of Alexandra Wilson’s memoir “In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System”. The (highly recommended) book details the author’s experiences as a young, mixed-race, female barrister, offering a fascinating and sobering insight.

The EDI team have also organised an unconscious bias training session open to the whole firm, and placed some of the fantastic resources from the Black History Month organisers around the office so that we can learn about the contributions of pioneering Black women to literature, music, fashion, sport, business, politics, academia, social and health care, and more. We will be facilitating a discussion towards the end of the month for those who are keen to discuss their reflections on the various events.

We are conscious that anti-racism requires far more than an annual event. Access to the legal profession remains challenging for black lawyers. As Barbara said in a recent interview with Counsel Magazine

“This journey – a struggle to arrive, followed by impossible obstacles leading to exodus – continues to be the experience of many who come to the profession from underrepresented backgrounds. We must stop looking away from scrutiny of the structure itself as a reason for this”.

Hunters has taken a number of steps over the past couple of years to promote diversity and inclusion, including creating an employee-led EDI committee, bringing in anonymised trainee recruitment, establishing an EDI library and adding an EDI calendar to our Outlook calendars. We know that there is a long way to go, and are working on developing a strategy and framework to guide and focus our EDI work going forward.

I’d be keen to speak to those in other firms who have been involved in EDI groups – I’m sure we can all learn a lot from each other’s experiences!