Why is diversity important?
I believe that together our differences make up something beautiful; diversity brings out the best of mankind. Research shows that diverse work groups produce a more cognitive process and results in the exchange of more information. Being able to adapt to different cultures is important in any workplace; without it you limit your ability to understand your cliental and provide a sufficient service. Diversity is important as it promotes the idea of formulating a new approach when working and facilitates the ability to adapt in different cultural situations. Bringing in different ideas and perspectives leads to better problem-solving, opens dialogue and promotes creativity. When we meet, live and work with people who are culturally different, we are more likely to be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. Mixing with individual of different backgrounds and life experiences allows us to question our core values and beliefs.
Growing up in Bermuda
I grew up in Bermuda where we identify solely as Bermudian, regardless of the roots of our background. Growing up I had the privilege to go to school and participate in programmes with a diverse range of people. During my time in schooling I was able to be in classes surrounded by individuals from different cultures, religious backgrounds and walks of life. This broadened my understanding of the world and the cultures it is made up of. Whilst in high school I had the privilege of meeting my history teacher Mrs. Heidi. She mentored me and showed me the importance of my ancestral heritage, whilst teaching about the history of other places around the world. I enjoyed this class as she assisted me in further understanding other religions and the beauty of those religions. Mrs. Heidi also played a significant role in my conversion to Islam as she taught me about the core values of the religion and how it connected to other Abrahamic religions.
Whilst working in diverse teams I noticed that we brought our own strengths, ideas and styles which always lead to an amazing outcome. During the summer we have harbour night, which is a street fair created of stalls rented by people in the community. Harbour nights allowed for people to sell hand-crafted items from a diverse range of vendors. This is significant as it allowed people to share their cultures from back home and provided a safe place for people to find about more about the individuals. In Bermuda we are constantly immersed in cultures from around the world in day to day life. While in summer camps and after school programmes, the administrators would incorporate games and folk tales from a variety of cultures to ensure that everyone felt included and a part of society. I am extremely grateful for growing up in Bermuda as it taught me that there is strength in diversity; that when we stand together nothing is impossible.
Mentoring programmes I attended
During the completion of my Bachelor of Laws I took part in two mentorship programmes with Clyde and Co. LLP. Through this programme I had the privilege of being guided by an individual who has been through the processes I was currently taking on. I found these mentorships extremely helpful as it assisted with my imposter syndrome. I first participated in the Clyde and Co. programme in my first year of my undergraduate degree; my mentor assisted me with applications, time management and how to perfect my resume through internships and pro-bono work. I found this extremely helpful as she supported me through self-doubt. I once again participated in this mentorship programme in the final year of my LLB Law degree. I joined the programme again as it benefited me greatly in my first year. My mentor helped me traverse through applications whilst completing legal workshops, work experience and guided me through my progression after graduation. I am extremely grateful for my mentors as they gave me the confidence, I needed to successfully navigate through university and encouraged me to offer the same support to other students.
In addition to participating in mentor programmes, I worked as a PASS Success Coach, assisting fellow pupils with the comprehension of lectures. I aided the understanding and formatting of assignments. While in this role I provided a range of weekly services depending upon the student’s needs, such as 1-2-1 meetings, mock seminars and group meetings. I would also assist students with applications for vacation schemes, pro-bono work and webpages to find other legal opportunities. I appreciated this experience as I had the ability to assist my peers; whilst further developing upon my presentation and public speaking skills. I believe this role was beneficial to both the students and me as it allowed us to have a peer-to-peer legal support group.
Benefits of diversity in the legal profession
The interpretation of the law is largely influenced by an individual’s background and life experiences; therefore, diversity should be implemented as it would allow for everyone to be adequately represented. Being inclusive ensures that cultural customs which usually go unnoticed are thought of. This will assist with client retention and promote a positive image of the company. If individuals of different national origins, gender, religion and sexual orientation are hired by a company it will allow for a contrasting range of opinions and ideas to be shared and implemented. Diversity helps to identify and embrace our differences, and teaches us to appreciate being unique.
Diversity in the workplace paints a good public image. It is important for organisations to demonstrate high levels of social responsibility. Diversity in the legal sector allows accessibility for reliable and determined individuals to unlock their potential, and helps secure successful roles in the legal profession. Diversity leads to innovation and creativity. When the legal profession is truly diverse it will allow for every aspiring legal employee to have a fair chance to establish a prospering career in law.