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News 23rd Feb 2022

Shama Gupta wins The Nottinghamshire Law Society President’s Award 2021

We are delighted to announce our Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, Shama Gupta has been awarded with The Nottinghamshire Law Society President’s Award 2021

 

Shama Gupta profile photo next to Nottingham law society logo and award title

 

“I am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, it is rewarding to give back in whatever way I can in a world where a small of act of kindness can help someone’s legal career journey, as mine was when others helped me on my journey.”
Shama Gupta, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador

 

 

How did you feel winning the President’s Award in 2021?

“Pleasantly surprised, as what I have been doing is something I am passionate about and enjoy and feel it is natural and personally rewarding to give back in whatever way I can in a world where a small of act of kindness can help someone’s legal career journey, as mine was when others helped me on my journey.”

You represent Nottinghamshire, East Staffordshire & Derbyshire on The Law Society Council, what does this involve and how does it benefit the members of local law societies?

“The Law Society’s strength is its representative function to support aspiring and practicing solicitors. To name some activities:

  • Practical guidance & training
  • Lobbying for changes in the law
  • Advising the government on maintaining the rule of law & access to justice
  • Promoting a diverse and inclusive profession
  • Wellbeing of its members.

Understanding issues affecting members is key to its functions and my role as Council Member is to ensure that my constituency members can have the opportunity to engage effectively with the Law Society and vice versa, on key issues which impact on member’s business, such as COVID and SIF.”

What made you decide to follow a career in law?

“I have always loved reading and analysing issues to find solutions; I wasn’t sure what career to follow until my father suggested law as it was perceived to be a prestigious and valuable degree/qualification.

I have never looked back as it has opened doors to a varied career portfolio and the opportunity to follow my passion to help others.”

What do you think of social mobility in the legal sector?

“Traditionally there were challenges for many form a lower socio-economic background to access or progress in a legal career, due to the cost of education, lack of role models, connections and adequate career guidance, amongst other factors. Fortunately, since my days, there are initiatives which have gone some way to addressing these, such as The Law Society’s Social Mobility Ambassador Scheme (I have been an Ambassador since 2016 – Shama Gupta – The Law Society),  The Pathways to Law programme and contextualised recruitment by some law firms, to name a few.

There are still challenges of course, such as competition for training contracts, but if those involved in recruitment and promotion adopt policies which try to create an even playing field for all candidates, that will go some way to reducing equality.”

Diversity & Inclusion are increasingly important in the legal profession & elsewhere, what do you think we can do in Nottinghamshire to improve on these areas?

“I feel forming a network or group within firms to promote D&I is the first step; this engages individuals to run with initiatives they are passionate about or have lived experience of, or to assist others with their initiatives. If this is not feasible, joining an external network such as the Nottinghamshire Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee or The Law Society’s large selection of committees (I am a member of its Lawyers with Disabilities Division.), Lawyers with Disabilities Division Committee Members – The Law Society. This is an effective way to support promotion of all under-represented groups.”

If you would like to discuss anything further covered in this interview, please do get in touch with Shama Gupta.

This article was first published by Nottingham-Law-Society.

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