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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Claudine Adeyemi

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Good morning, this is Jazz Shapers, I am Elliot Moss. It’s where the Shapers of Business meet the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. My guest today is Claudine Adeyemi; Founder and CEO of amongst other businesses Career Ear, a careers advice and recruitment platform enabling employers to engage with young, diverse quality talent. As a child Claudine wanted to be a doctor until she was put off by watching Holby City and Casualty. The negative affects of television no less. But aged 11 a new ambition rose forth to be a lawyer and what a fine ambition it was too. Ambitious and academically strong she was none the less tested. Claudine had lost her mum when she as 5 and she moved out of home at the age of 16 after a fall out with her father. Whilst staying in a hostel, as she says “the distractions were really tough. My neighbour had parties all the time and I could have thought ‘it’s too difficult to focus’ I’d rather have fun but when I have something I want to achieve, it’s difficult to let that go.” Her focus paid off and after law school she joined Mishcon de Reya as an associate specialising in real estate litigation. In 2014 Claudine founded the Student Development Company, the SDC; a not for profit organisation providing career related support to young people from less privileged backgrounds. To date the SDC has supported over 1,000 young people and their ‘Ask a Professional’ initiative, a monthly Q&A session with an industry professional led Claudine to launch Career Ear as a mobile app in 2016 to help individuals outside London access professionals. We will be talking to Claudine in a few minutes about all of this and how Career Ear is growing and why it is vital to break down the barriers that young people face. We’ve also got brilliant music from amongst others, Lee Morgan, Lauryn Hill and Abdullah Ibrahim. That is today’s Jazz Shapers, here’s Alice Clark and Never Did I Stop Loving You.

That was Alice Clark with another brilliantly soulful number here on Jazz Shapers; Never Did I Stop Loving You. I love it when I say number, I feel like my father. I am Elliot Moss and this is Jazz Shapers and my Business Shaper today as I said earlier is Claudine Adeyemi. Welcome.

Claudine Adeyemi
Thanks for having me.

Elliot Moss
It’s an absolute pleasure. We know each other because obviously we have worked together and I don’t have many people on the programme at all who have worked at Mishcon de Reya but I have interviewed many lawyers who have gone on to do other things. Now tell me about firstly, how it was that you decided that you wanted to become a lawyer. Let’s start there?

Claudine Adeyemi
It’s not the most inspiring story. I had this vision of I guess wanting to do something relatively prestigious and in hindsight having looked back it’s kind of the cultural pressures that come from, I mean I am half Jamaican and half Nigerian so those pressures where they kind of expect you to kind of achieve great things academically and then career wise and so originally I thought I’d be a doctor and as you’ve mentioned I kind of watched a couple of TV programmes like Casualty and was really put off by the blood and thought I need to rethink this. I was very young at that time so there wasn’t any particular methodology to kind of coming up with, with what I wanted to do but switched from there to becoming a lawyer. At some point that was reinforced by watching a bit of Legally Blonde and ultimately it just stuck and so I found that I was studying subjects and enjoying subjects and enjoying certain skills that I started to learn complimented being a lawyer and the rest is kind of history as they say.

Elliot Moss
As I mentioned it when I introduced that you were coming on the programme you had a pretty tough childhood. I mean you grew up in South London I think as well. To get to become a professional usually you need, one needs quite a lot of guidance, quite a lot of help, a really strong structure around you. It feels like you had to create all of that yourself?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah I don’t profess to come from poverty or anything like that. It wasn’t that bad. I think the problem was that, well one, we were a single parent household, my mum passed away when I was quite young so my dad raised my brother and I and we just weren’t connected so I didn’t know professionals, I didn’t even known anyone that had been to University and it kind of just made that difficult because there was no one to turn to to get advice about what you should be thinking about doing, how to figure out career paths, how to think about what you should be studying and just how to prepare getting that kind of work experience where you can go into the office and see what it’s like and start building those networks and leaning on things like that so just didn’t have that kind of support structure in place and I had to figure that out for myself. So my school, because I was quite academic, kind of got behind me a little bit and so I was able to kind of grasp a couple of opportunities that came up through that so for example, I was able to go into a City law firm whilst I was still at school and do a week’s work experience which was really cool but I also did things of my own back so at 16 I had my CV in hand which had next to nothing on it, walked down my local high street and went into every single law firm I could find and asked them to take me for a week or a day or anything. Managed to get into one, went back the following summer, went back again and that was really my first foray into, into the legal environment and it was, I guess for me, it discounted wanting to kind of be in a High Street law firm but that was really a useful experience in itself and that was kind of where I started building up my networks and knowledge and then outside of that, as I said, kind of creating those opportunities so I remember a friend that I had gone to primary school with that I hadn’t seen for a while then came to my Sixth Form and I got chatting to her and she said “my dad’s a Barrister” and I was like okay you need to connect me, I need to go and shadow him and that’s what I ended up doing. So it is just kind of thinking outside the box and trying to kind of I guess network before I even knew what networking was really about and trying to kind of create and/or grasp opportunities that came my way.

Elliot Moss
So you were talking about the law, I mean the law is a serious profession, it’s demanding and obviously you talked about your high level of academia or academic qualifications and academic ability. Having been a lawyer, or still being a lawyer and we will talk about this kind of the double world that you are in at the moment, tell me about the two or three top skills that you have developed in the time that you have been practising the law and part two of that question is, and how has that helped you as you’ve now gone and founded some businesses?

Claudine Adeyemi
I think one of the top things and actually it is interesting because I have been reflecting on this quite recently. One of the top things that I have realised about myself is that I really enjoy problem solving and so practising as a lawyer was an opportunity for me to hone in those skills in a kind of complex legal problem environment but those skills are transferable right so those have then allowed me to kind of take that, I guess combination of being able to analyse the situation, think critically about it, ideate solutions and either kind of come up with things that I can then implement or sharing my conclusions and giving advice to others and so I have been able to take that into this environment, running a business in all sorts of different areas from coming up with what the product should look like and what we are doing with the product, through to challenges that we face from a financial perspective, from a marketing perspective, yeah all sorts of different things. So I think yeah, problem solving is probably the number one thing. I think the other thing that I probably developed much more in my professional career was the networking side of things and I really find networking to be a bit of a dirty word, I hate the word itself but building relationships basically and that’s again followed me through so I’ve done a lot of that with the work I have been doing with Career Ear since I’ve been out of the legal space and I think that particularly so we were kind of doing some fundraising and stuff as well, so particularly thinking about that, getting out there to events, getting in front of investors, getting in front of potential customers as well, so yeah that’s been quite interesting.

Elliot Moss
Just give me your one liner on, if you were to tell someone exactly what the Student Development Company did and exactly what Career Ear did, if you were pitching to me as a potential investor. What would you say they stood for?

Claudine Adeyemi
So the Student Development Company was a non-profit organisation that provided ad hoc career related advice, support and guidance off line. I don’t know if you want me to go into more detail but that…

Elliot Moss
No that’s a good elevator pitch. And Career Ear?

Claudine Adeyemi
So Career Ear is an intelligent careers advice, discovery and recruitment platform. So we are helping employers engage and employ young, quality, diverse talent and plugging the gap that’s left behind by schools not having the resources and ability to provide the right careers advice and guidance to young people.

Elliot Moss
And just having the chance to talk to you like this, it makes me think that it is not a coincidence that your own childhood, you found ways through, you found the opportunities but you are a driven person, you are an intelligent person, you have other skills and tools that perhaps many people don’t that come from less privileged backgrounds and you talked about you weren’t poor and stuff like that but you still had a pretty rough ride as it were. Do you think about it like that? Was that the impetus for creating the Student Development Company in the first place?

Claudine Adeyemi
Absolutely. So I think for me I didn’t kind of realise obviously at 11 that the career that I wanted was in an industry that was super elitist, that had low representation of black people, of women and so when I kind of arrived I realised that I was more the exception to the rule and that you know, I knew lots of people who had similar ambitions whether it was legal or other careers who hadn’t quite achieved those things and then kind of looking at the research that’s out there and working directly with young people, kept seeing these kind of challenges and so it absolutely was the reason why I set up the Student Development Company in the first instance, to kind of provide a platform that I would have benefited from when I was going through that journey basically.

Elliot Moss
And why was that important to you because you could have just said ‘well I got, you know, I worked hard’, I mean if I embarrass you by telling you or everyone else that’s listening, you got four A’s at A level, you got four A’s at AS level, you went to a London University.

Claudine Adeyemi
UCL.

Elliot Moss
UCL. Whether you are black, brown, white, a man or woman, these are exceptional results and you could have just said ‘well that was me thank you very much’. What made you want to do something where you would be helping people?

Claudine Adeyemi
I think I just felt an overwhelming duty to give back. It is quite hard to describe, it just felt like it was almost like a calling. Almost like I had a responsibility to do it. I also definitely remember feeling out of place when I arrived at Mishcon and not, not because it’s a reflection on the firm itself because I think it’s actually quite an inclusive environment, but I do remember speaking to one of my supervisors at the time and being like ‘I’m not going to last here’, people are talking about you know Michelin star restaurants and art galleries and all these kind of really posh things and I have no idea what they are talking about and can’t participate so I just kind of wanted to, I think for me in those environments, I wanted to make sure that I was doing something to contribute to making those environments more diverse and then ultimately more inclusive which then is part of the reason why I then got involved in lots of DNI initiatives and things like that at Mishcon and then externally. It has just evolved.

Elliot Moss
It has indeed involved, we are going to hear must more about how its evolved with my Business Shaper, it’s Claudine Adeyemi, she’s coming back in a couple of minutes but first we are going to hear from one of our partners at Mishcon de Reya, the name referenced a few times today, it’s unusual here but there you go, and they have got some advice for your business.

You can enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers and indeed hear this very programme again by asking Alexa, the very kind Alexa, sitting somewhere in your house to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes, or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, then the full archive awaits. We have had some brilliant Shapers over the last 7 plus almost 8 years, hard to believe. Back to today’s guest thought it’s Claudine Adeyemi, she is the Founder and CEO of Career Ear, a careers advice and recruitment platform and if you were listening earlier and I hope you were, she also founded the Student Development Company. So we were talking about transferable skills, we were talking about the calling to do this thing. You took some time out from, well actually at first you didn’t, you did both at once didn’t you? The Student Development Company you were still working at Mishcon…

Claudine Adeyemi
Yep.

Elliot Moss
…and you did that. Tell me about, because people talk about the side hustle. How hard was that first phase of doing two things at once?

Claudine Adeyemi
To begin with it wasn’t too bad because I have always been one of those people that tends to have other projects on the side and things but there was then a point where I was doing the day job, the Student Development Company and then obviously I spun out Career Ear, so I was doing all three. That got quite challenging. So there were a lot of 4.00, 5.00am starts fitting in bits and pieces before work, then evenings and weekends. So it was quite intense. Fortunately Mishcon is super supportive so I also got to kind of be a bit more flexible with my working day which was really nice. So popping out to schools, well Sixth Forms, Colleges and things like that where I needed to give talks and things like that because obviously if you are working hard the trade-off is that you can you know, you can have a bit of flexibility in your day which I was really grateful for which I don’t think you find in many working environments. So that helped a lot but yeah it was intense and so it definitely got a point where it was just like well we have started to get a bigger vision for what we can achieve with Career and I won’t be able to continue doing both really well and I am not someone that likes to be doing something and not doing it well. So yeah it got a bit too difficult to do all three.

Elliot Moss
So then recently about how long ago, about a year ago or so is it?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
A bit longer?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah it was just over a year ago.

Elliot Moss
You took a sabbatical from the law and you are now fully focussed. How has that been? Is that transformational in terms of your ability to focus on what the thing you really need to look at?

Claudine Adeyemi
It goes in waves. It’s been quite a challenging transition in some respects but amazing. So just being out of the space where you have a structure, you know exactly what needs to be done every day but also that you are super focussed on just your job whereas now I am I guess the service but I am also the IT department and the Accounts department and the HR department so that’s been yeah, quite the transition but I’ve learnt so much so quickly and I think you, well for me, I learn really quickly and well when you are under that kind of pressure where you have no choice but to learn it and so that’s been an interesting journey.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of work load and I am just going to go back to that time when you were doing all three and getting up at 4.00 or 5.00, I read somewhere that you schedule downtime. This is an important thing that you have noticed… she’s laughing… of course she doesn’t schedule downtime it is just what she tells people when they ask her questions.

Claudine Adeyemi
Absolutely.

Elliot Moss
How do you handle… so what is your downtime, how do you defribillate? How do you get your head refreshed and refocussed again after being under a lot of stress and as you said, being the HR department, the IT department, the Everything department?

Claudine Adeyemi
So there is a couple of things. The key thing for me is swimming. So I took up swimming a few years ago. I used to know how to swim when I was a kid and then didn’t swim for 10 years and this is like a huge story, jumped into a pool in Tunisia and almost drowned. I was like ‘oh okay I’ve forgotten how to swim’. So I started adult lessons about 4 years ago now and that was specifically with a holiday that I had booked with my family in mind, I was like I am going to learn how to swim before this holiday. So again, putting that pressure on to try and learn in advance and so that’s what I did and then I kind of kept it up, kind of. So would usually go a few months off and then a few months on but kept doing that and what I found was that for me it is nice to be doing something round learning so I am still constantly learning to be a better swimmer but swimming for me gives me the head space that I just don’t get doing anything else because I am so focussed on my breathing and my stroke to avoid drowning and dying that I can’t think about work, I can’t think about any of the stresses. So I get 45 minutes and hour of head space and I come out re-energised. Not because of the exercise because I hate exercise but because of just having had that head space and then the other thing, so in terms of the scheduling downtime, yes my swimming classes and things are in my diary but sometimes I do actually put in my diary like ‘catch up on my box sets’ so that I’ve got time to just sit down and chill out because otherwise I rarely get time to watch my shows.

Elliot Moss
Tell me about Career Ear specifically and tell me about also how you are managing all these multiple roles and whether you have now managed to get a bit of a team around you, whether it’s a full-time team or a virtual team?

Claudine Adeyemi
Career Ear as I said before, it’s an intelligent careers advice platform and what we are doing is rather than just kind of building a jobs board and encouraging students to kind of go on there and look for opportunities, we are building a space where they can actually explore their different options, discover their skills in an engaging game environment. They can ask questions to industry professionals as they are kind of going on this career discovery journey and then they can access opportunities and the idea is that they are then accessing the opportunities that are relevant to them, relevant to their interest, relevant to their skills and then the benefit for the employers is that they are then receiving interesting applications to their roles and actually things that aren’t necessarily roles, so it may be events and insight days and things like that as well, from the students who are using a platform to further and advance their career so they are really interested and serious about it but they are also interested in those particular industries and companies and they are matched in terms of the skill. So that is kind of what we are doing with Career Ear. In terms of the stage that we are at I recruited a Co-Founder to join me, her name is Precious and she is awesome and so she has been working with me for most this year now and we get on really well and she is like, fills all the gaps on the tech side because I know nothing about tech. Well I say nothing but I’ve learnt a lot.

Elliot Moss
You know what you want it to do but it doesn’t mean necessarily you know how to do it?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah. I’ve had to learn a lot but she is the expert which is great and then we have a total team right of about 8 so we’ve got a couple of developers and we’ve got Precious, we’ve got someone that leads on our impact because that’s quite important for us making sure that we are actually measuring that we are making a difference to the lives of these young people and then we kind of work with an L&D expert as well, so to make sure we are getting it right in terms of…

Elliot Moss
Learning and development.

Claudine Adeyemi
Sorry yes, learning and development.

Elliot Moss
She is so in the parlance just in case, I am sure many of you already knew that but for those of you who didn’t there you go.

Claudine Adeyemi
To make sure we are getting it right in terms of how we think about the interests and the skills and things like that and support both the employers but also the students and then a couple of others who help out in terms of engaging with the colleges and reaching out to employers and things like that. So yeah we are building up a bit of team and yeah, trying to get us into a position where we can actually bring on proper full-time staff, so we are still relatively early because a lot of them are kind of fitting it around other commitments like what I was doing previously.

Elliot Moss
And how have you found managing people because again as a young lawyer you don’t get much of an opportunity to do that. You might be managing a client and a problem but it is unlikely you are going to have six or seven or eight people to be responsible for, not only in terms of human beings and their own development but also in terms of tasks that you are not necessarily an expert in. What have you learnt about yourself and your management style over these last few months and a bit longer?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah so I’ve actually invested quite a lot of time in trying to, one thing about what my style is and how I work but also how to be a better leader and manager and the two I think are very different. I also have kind of developed a philosophy that investing in people is kind of the absolute key and so the way that I traditionally did that particularly having started out with the Student Development Company but also the Career Ear with volunteers was that the kind of offer was you can come and kind of work with us, you tell us what skills that you are interested in developing, you tell us where you are trying to get to in your career and we can try and build a role around that that will help you get there. I will also mentor you, I’ll give you support, I’ll connect you with my network and so it is about building a kind of environment where you are almost kind of developing people out of the business but I think that’s really important to kind of, if you are going to genuinely invest someone’s development and so we’ve had quite a few leave us and go off and become trainees and go off into investment banks and all sorts of different things which I am really proud of but it does mean that I have to then look for new people. So that’s one of the key things that I think is really important to me regularly checking in with the people that are working with us to make sure not just that they are happy in the roles that they are doing and that they understand what they are doing but also that we are supporting them to develop to be the best version of themselves.

Elliot Moss
And do you now look at the world slightly differently being the employer rather than the employee? Has it taught you stuff that you went ‘oh maybe it’s not quite as easy as I thought it was’?

Claudine Adeyemi
Absolutely.

Elliot Moss
Tricky isn’t it?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah, there are some, yeah there is all sorts of kind of competing issues that crop up and I remember kind of thinking about so obviously with, I keep referencing Mishcon but obviously in that environment where you are kind of professionals services and you’ve got fee earning and all of that kind of thing and thinking about the balance between for example, how you decide when you are going to actually bring in new employees and balancing that against where the next piece of work is going to come from. At the time probably didn’t have much appreciation for how difficult that is, particularly where yeah it’s, you can’t guarantee that you are going to kind of be able to bring in a large case for example, that’s going to kind of feed everyone for the foreseeable future so things like that I’ve learned to appreciate a lot more particularly when we are looking at kind of managing our finances and budgets and forecasting what that might look like but building in those buffers for when things might not go to plan, or you might not be paid on time and all these types of things. Yeah it has been quite an interesting journey.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with, plus we will be playing a track from Abdullah Ibrahim. Stay with us, don’t go anywhere.

That was Abdullah Ibrahim with Mandela. I am with Claudine Adeyemi just for a few more minutes. It strikes me Claudine, you mentioned it early on, you are a young woman, you are a professional, you happen to be black, is the role model ting a thing for you because obviously what you have done is created two organisations which are now doing extraordinary things and reaching out to people as you said, you had that calling to help people to give them the things that you didn’t have. Do you think of yourself as a role model? Do people talk to you like that? What’s… is there a relationship you have with that notion of you being some sort of symbol?

Claudine Adeyemi
Yeah it’s a really difficult one. I get very what’s the word… cringy about being referred to as a role model but at the same time I very intentionally became quite visible. I always reference this actually, I went to an event once, it was a law event, networking and it was a mixture of different levels and there were these two girls there who were doing their A levels which I thought was really impressive that they were at a networking event and they were only doing their A levels and I was having a conversation with them and they seemed very bright and very, had like high potential and they turned round and said that they were really keen to practice at a high street law firm which is fine, but when I asked them why they said because they knew that they wouldn’t be able to get into or fit into the corporate kind of law environment and I think that was kind of a turning point for me where I kind of realised yes I am kind of doing all these things and wanting to kind of give back but I needed to be visible with it and be visible as a black woman in law and now in entrepreneurship as well to, I don’t want to say the word ‘inspire’ but like to kind of encourage people to make sure that they feel that they will also belong in those environments basically. And so, yeah I kind of have to accept that I have become somewhat of a role model and that’s just yeah, something that I bare.

Elliot Moss
Well I can use the word inspire even if you can’t because it is not cringy to me. I think it is inspiring, number one future leader on the EMPower, Ethnic Minority Role Model list, that was last year. Rising Star at the UK Diversity Legal Awards, that was last year too. You’d better get some awards this year Claudine, you are slacking. Fellow at the NEF Fast Track, Centre for Entrepreneurs since 2019, World Economic Forum, Global Shaper since 2018. It goes on. These are good things but they keep you busy so how are you keeping your head whilst all around you might be losing theirs because these are choppy waters we are in in terms of politics, in terms of economics. How do you ensure that you keep the flag flying for the things that you believe in?

Claudine Adeyemi
I think that everyone will have different things that they are passionate about and so for me, I am really passionate about the development of people and skills and thinking about what our future looks like but the human element, not just the tech side and really preparing for that but also how that impacts on diversity and inclusion as well and then in terms of the balance, how I manage that is with difficulty to be perfectly honest. You go through kind of periods where I do feel on top of it, you go through other periods where you feel completely overwhelmed. I probably have a maybe a six monthly review of all the different things I am doing and all the different hats I am wearing and in my last one definitely chopped a few out so that I wouldn’t burn out so it is just about kind of keeping, keeping it all in the forefront of my mind and making sure that I don’t get lectured by my dad too frequently about doing too much.

Elliot Moss
An occasional lecture is alright. If it comes from a good place and it is always well intentioned so that’s cool. It’s been great talking to you. Carry on doing what you are doing.

Claudine Adeyemi
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
Carry on being a role model even if you find that slightly cringy, I think it’s incredibly important there aren’t many real ones, I think you are a real one so good luck with everything going forward and I hope you continue to shape the world around you as opposed to it shaping you.

Claudine Adeyemi
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Claudine Adeyemi
So I have chosen a song by Damien Escobar, it’s called Get Up And Dance. I chose that song, well partly because it’s just a fun song for the morning and my partner and I listen to a lot of Jazz and it is like one of our faves on the Jazz playlist but Damien Escobar himself has just an incredible story and I just thought it was actually really relevant to entrepreneurship. He came from a really challenging part of New York and kind of get into Julliard and contrary to what other people in those kind of communities achieve, became a violinist and had a really cool career but then that career then crashed, he was then homeless and sleeping on the subways and then he rose up and did it all again and has now created a kind of second round, amazing career and I just think that example of determination and resilience is something that entrepreneurs and I think every day people should develop that skill so I thought that was really cool.

Elliot Moss
That was Damien Escobar with Get Up And Dance, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Claudine Adeyemi. She talked about transferring those skills from the law, of problem solving and building relationships into her brilliant new businesses and really importantly these businesses are all about, as she said herself, overwhelming sense of duty to give back and she even called it a calling. It doesn’t get much better than that. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, have a fantastic weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Claudine Adeyemi is Founder and CEO of Career Ear – a careers advice and recruitment platform enabling employers to engage with young, diverse quality talent. She is also Founder of The Student Development Co., a non-profit organisation which provides career-related support for 16-24 year olds from less privileged backgrounds. Though currently on a sabbatical, Claudine is an Associate in Mishcon’s Real Estate Dispute Resolution team.

Realising that she wasn’t destined to be a doctor after watching a few episodes of Casualty as a child, Claudine’s inspiration to become a lawyer was solidified by watching Legally Blonde, and the rest is history.

She is a member of the Property Litigation Association and in 2015 was listed in Property Week’s “Top Forty Under 40”, and was also “Highly Commended” as Junior Lawyer of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2015, recognised as a Rising Star in the We Are The City Awards 2016, Black British Business Awards 2016 (finalist) and The Powerlist 2017. In May 2018, Claudine was named number one in the EMpower Top 30 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List presented by Financial Times, having ranked in the top 30 in the same list in 2017. 

Follow claudine on Twitter @ClaudineAdeyemi.

Interview highlights

I found that I was studying and enjoying subjects and certain skills that complimented being a lawyer, and the rest is history.

Growing up, there was no one to get advice from about what you should be thinking about doing, how to figure out career paths, how to think about what you should be studying.

My school supported me and I was able to grasp a couple of opportunities that came up.

I also did things off of my own back. At 16 I had my CV in hand which had next to nothing on it, walked down my local high street and went into every single law firm I could find and asked them to take me for a week, a day, anything.

I started building up my networks and knowledge.

It’s about thinking outside of the box.

I really enjoy problem solving and practising as a lawyer was an opportunity for me to hone in those skills.

At 11 years old, I didn’t realise the career I wanted was in an industry that was super elitist with a low representation of black people.

Mishcon is super supportive so I got to be a bit more flexible with my working day.

It’s been quite an interesting journey.

I have to accept that I have become somewhat of a role model.

I am really passionate about the development of people and their skills.

You go through periods where you do feel on top of it and you go through other periods where you feel completely overwhelmed.

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