During one of my first deals in London, I was in a large meeting where I was not only the only woman present, but the only person of color. Growing up, I had not expected to be in such a position myself. I was born in Bangladesh and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where I attended public schools until I went to university. I was the first in my family to go to law school but was afforded the opportunity to attend a top tier law school in the States and ultimately to work as a New York-qualified attorney doing capital markets work in London and currently State-side.

There can be many obstacles to working toward the future you want, particularly when you do not have the same financial resources and social capital as your peers. Even where there are good intentions, it can be difficult to connect with people who do not share your background, your interests and your views. To fit in and to remain competitive with my peers, I have felt compelled to, for example, work through religious holidays and avoid confronting those whose comments expressed both subtle and explicit biases – although I do this less and less as I have risen through the ranks of this profession. It is easy to forget that such compromising moments do not undermine your strength and need not restrict your future goals.

I think fair access is critical in any profession and accordingly, with respect to ours, I think there is great value in being part of the Aspiring Solicitors community. I encourage you to take the opportunity to reach out to Mentors with similar (as well as different) backgrounds compared to yours, so you can see that there are many different people rooting for you and fighting to make our profession more inclusive and more successful.

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