Chris is the Founder of Aspiring Solicitors. He is a qualified solicitor having trained at a leading US law firm and also practiced as a corporate solicitor at a leading global law firm in London for over three years.
Chris has voluntarily assisted aspiring solicitors from underrepresented groups to enter the profession for over 6 years.
Chris personally experienced barriers throughout his career due to his diversity as a state educated, first generation graduate/solicitor, non Russell Group university graduate with an accent. He found that each of these factors acted as a barrier to entry to the profession at various stages of his career. He is passionate to remove barriers to increase diversity in the profession and believes that capability and personality are the only two factors which should determine whether anyone receives an opportunity to pursue their goals.
Gemma Baker joins Aspiring Solicitors after nine years as a Graduate Recruitment & Development Gemma Baker Photo (1)Manager at Ashurst and Mayer Brown and five years at Kaplan, where over two-thirds of the students who regularly consulted her obtained a training contract. Her passion is helping students obtain a training contract through bespoke, proactive and achievable advice.
In her 14 years in the legal graduate recruitment world, Gemma has reviewed thousands of application forms, written and marked assessment centres and interviews and understands what makes an application or interview stand out for positive reasons! She will now bring her insider knowledge to benefit Aspiring Solicitor Members.
Jeniz White joins Aspiring Solicitors as Communications and Student Manager after working with both Chris and Gemma for several months whilst applying for training contracts.Prior to obtaining her training contract, Jeniz studied Law at the University of Leicester, where she graduated in 2014. She participated in a variety of work experience placements during her academic career across various industries, including the banking, retail, local government and telecommunications industries.
Jeniz was born and raised in South East London and attended both secondary and primary school in the area. She was one of a handful of ethnic minority students at both schools and had undiagnosed dyslexia for the entire duration of her compulsory education. Jeniz also came from a low-income background and was the first in her family to attend university.
Jeniz will be liaising with Student Ambassadors and Representatives, assisting with AS workshops and events and speaking to Aspiring Solicitors’ members through university visits and online platforms.
Justine Fitzpatrick joins Aspiring Solicitors as an Executive Assistant. Justine’s previous experience includes working for a local firm of solicitors in their commercial property division for just over a year and prior to that worked for Norton Rose Fulbright, London for nearly 11 years.Justine is a proud mum and works flexibly around her son wherever required.
Rachel joins Aspiring Solicitors as Student Manager. She is a future trainee solicitor at Hogan Lovells. Rachel is originally from Middlesbrough and has a distinct North-East accent. Her family did not study at college, let alone at University, she is LGBT, attended a non-Russell Group University and was state school educated. Rachel is therefore very aware of the barriers that students from an underrepresented group face and is determined to help students from similar backgrounds achieve their potential.
Sonia Bamford joined the Aspiring Solicitors team in August 2016. She qualified as a solicitor in 2003, having trained at Herbert Smith LLP. She then worked as an employment lawyer at Bird & Bird LLP for six years before practising at a niche employment law firm in Kent.
She was an employment and business law tutor on the LPC at BPP Law between 2011-13, where she acted as a personal tutor and mentor to students, taught skills such as interviewing and drafting and also marked and moderated exam papers. She then moved into more HR-related work.
Sonia’s latter experience includes working in the Graduate Recruitment team of a Magic Circle firm, where she has been involved in screening applications and interviewing for vacation schemes and training contracts. Sonia believes strongly in the principles behind Aspiring Solicitors and hopes to help bright and talented students achieve their true potential, regardless of their personal background, status or situation.