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Lawyer hopes to inspire more diversity in senior roles

Anthony Ojukwu, from Clerkenwell, has been shortlisted in the Black British Business Awards

07 August, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Anthony Ojukwu: ‘Hopefully any young people in Islington who see these awards are inspired to get into the industry and it gives them the confidence that they can flourish and thrive’

A LAWYER shortlisted for the Black British Business Awards (BBBA) says he hopes he can inspire more people from minority backgrounds into his industry.

Anthony Ojukwu, an associate at prestigious corporate law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has been shortlisted in the Professional Services category of the 2020 BBBAs.

He told the Tribune that representation of black people in the most senior roles in professional services, which includes lawyers, accountants and bankers, is “not that extensive” but he thinks the awareness raised by recent Black Lives Matter protests may change that.

The 28-year-old from Clerkenwell said: “Hopefully any young people in Islington who see these awards are inspired to get into the industry and it gives them the confidence that they can flourish and thrive.”

Mr Ojukwu studied law at Oxford University and joined Freshfields in 2016. He has worked on high-profile litigations worth hundreds-of-millions of pounds.

Speaking of the corporate response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Mr Ojukwu said: “I think it is probably fair to say that in professional services representation of black people at the more senior end is not that extensive.

“In the context of recent events, it has shone a spotlight on representation in these industries. There has been a lot of talk about change and it is interesting to see what will happen next. Will talk become action?”

Mr Ojukwu once dreamed of being a footballer, but there was only so long he could push back against parents who were keen for him to “pursue a more traditionally well regarded career”.

The 2020 BBBA finalists will appear in a digital events campaign throughout September along with a tribute to black Brits who have been working on the Covid-19 frontline.

Winners will find out on October 2.

A spokeswoman for BBBA said the finalists have been picked as they “embody the Black British community’s ability to prevail, excel and lead through adversity”.

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