Founder of BIM
Black Interns Matter started in late 2020, but its origins date further back. My heritage is Bajan and English. I experienced racism throughout my personal and professional life. BIM is an incredibly personal passion for me, as through the programmes I hope to allow access to opportunities for those from the Black community, where this may not have previously existed.
I wrote an article in mid 2020 about some of the names I have been called, and the abhorrent things that have happened to many of my Black friends. I hope that through BIM that we can start to move the dial on addressing racism, prejudice and bias, and that BIM can showcase our amazing community of ambassadors, supporters and interns. Everything we do in relation to BIM comes back to our community, and we have been fortunate to have a number of the community provide their services to design the BIM logo, manage the BIM social media and provide support behind the scenes.
Since we launched, we have introduced a number of targeted schemes such as the Access scheme and our Black Vacation Scheme. We have partnered with a number of law firms and companies, and continue to work on your behalf to present a diverse range of opportunities to the Black community. My initial vision was to assist 1000 Black Interns by the end of 2021. That vision remains, and with more ways that you can engage with our programmes across internships, mentoring and job opportunities, I hope that we can surpass this figure.
Some of our amazing Black Interns Matter community
- Tebogo Mphahlele
Through access to a highly sought-after position at a global law firm coupled with direct personal training with founder Samuel Clague, the SJP has propelled my professional career. By virtue of the specific guidance on assessment centre and interview technique, the SJP has equipped me with vital employability skills whilst aiding my personal development. Ultimately, the Stephen James BIM programme has been a fantastic initiative aimed at increasing ethnic minority representation in the legal sphere. In an employment climate plagued by fierce competition, the consequences of Covid-19 and unequal access to support, the SJP has been an exemplary programme of the most applaudable nature.
- Tonye Johnson
BIM is a rewarding campaign that I am proud to be part of. Samuel Clague gave me the opportunity of contributing my graphic design skills to the project and this has opened up many more doors for my business. I was able to get in touch with black lawyers from my background and being part of the BIM community has increased my confidence when applying for jobs within the legal field. It has given me hope that there is an open door available and I really appreciate the work being done and the difference it is making for my community.
- Mariam Olusunmade
Being a third year student, I have spent the duration of my degree applying to various schemes and placements to try and further my prospects of attaining a legal grad job. It is becoming increasingly difficult and with the interruption of Covid-19, it has been even harder. With the help of the BVS programme, I have been able to have more chances at applying to firms for vacation schemes which will hopefully transform into a training contract in the upcoming years. It’s a truly helpful programme that has reignited my hope in gaining a grad job!
- Cassandra Acquah
One of the obstacles I’ve personally faced is not always knowing which opportunities are out there that I’m eligible for. There is a huge variety out there which is great but it can also be quite daunting if you don’t know exactly where to start or what to look for. The BVS programme has been really helpful in providing me with the option to benefit from amazing opportunities with law firms that I may not have come across by myself, and has always been done in a very personable and friendly way which I’ve hugely appreciated!
- Omari Daniel
As a staunch egalitarian with a penchant for volunteerism, contributing to the BIM initiative has been very rewarding and self-fulfilling. It empowers me to continue raising the bar for justice and equality from where my forebearers left off. This initiative has improved my own brand of personal activism by depicting a more vivid picture of barriers to societal equality. As put by Toni Morrison – “Make a difference about something other than yourselves.” As a black working-class individual, I understand first-hand how these initiatives increase positive visibility for my demographic. It is on these grounds why I have extended my personal mantra of ‘Kaizen’ (i.e. Japanese for continuous improvement) to assist in effecting this difference for my community. Thanks SJP!
- Sagal Ali
Before I came across the Black Interns Matter movement at The Stephen James Partnership, I believed a legal career was inaccessible to me. I lacked the confidence to apply for vacation schemes and other legal opportunities. I was getting a lot of rejections and I felt disheartened about pursuing a legal career. Since being a part of the BVS programme, my confidence has grown. I have been progressing a lot further in applications than I was before. The BIM programme was key in providing an opportunity for me at a US firm, something that I never imagined myself being a part of. I am really grateful to Samuel Clague for his unwavering commitment to creating spaces in corporate environments for black people.