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Justina Omotayo

Justina is a Steering Committee member of Slaughter and May’s DIVERSE Network promoting and advocating for ethnic minority inclusion in the workplace. Justina has designed Slaughter and May’s Inclusion Allies series encouraging discussions regarding workplace micro-aggressions, she has undertaken reverse mentoring, been a speaker for the firm’s graduate recruitment event and organized the 2019 Black History Month event. Justina is supporting a relationship law firm with their diversity and inclusion initiatives, exchanging best practice and increasing collaborative work. In addition, Justina is Mentoring BAME employees in other companies on how to launch their own networks.

Sarah Lee

Sarah is the Partner Sponsor for DIVERSE at Slaughter and May, and was the firm’s first D&I partner, responsible for establishing Slaughter and May’s eight employee networks. Last year she launched a buddy scheme for ethnic minority trainees, and has sponsored the firm’s female leadership development program for the past seven years, ensuring ethnic minority representation. She has helped redesign the graduate recruitment approach with a focus on diversity, worked on enhancing the firm’s Black History Month celebrations and has mentored various ethnic minorities professionally, including a student through the firm’s ‘Law Springboard’ program with upReach. Sarah launched and hosted the ‘Diversity in the City’ series initiative to connect ethnic minority professionals across the City, and as a Commissioner for the Judicial Appointments Commission works to promote greater diversity within the judiciary.

Nilufer von Bismarck

Nilufer is Slaughter and May’s D&I Partner, with strategic oversight of the firm’s inclusion initiatives and employee networks. She provided leadership to the ‘Inclusion Allies’ initiative to recognize how everyday exchanges might lead to feelings of inclusion or exclusion, and is Partner Sponsor for the Muslim Network, supporting social and awareness-raising events. She has hosted the firm’s annual graduate recruitment event, ‘A World of Difference’, collaborating with university BME societies, and hosted the firm’s 2019 Black History Month event. Nilufer is on the Board of Trustees for IntoUniversity, which tackles educational disadvantage, and has spearheaded their partnership with Slaughter and May. She leads workshops and advises on how clients can develop their own D&I initiatives, and mentors numerous ethnic minority professionals.

Nilufer von Bismarck

As a high profile ethnic minority role model, Nilufer acts as a role model and mentor both formally and informally to ethnic minority employees throughout the firm. She is the first woman and Muslim to lead a corporate group at the firm and hopes to serve as an inspiration to others. She supports the firm’s Muslim Network, aiming to provide practical support for Muslims, particularly during Ramadan. Nilufer also works with the firm’s DIVERSE (ethnicity and social mobility) network to discuss a range of workplace challenges and opportunities, including the ethnicity pay gap, which Slaughter and May voluntarily reported on this year. Externally, Nilufer is on the board of trustees of IntoUniversity, leading on hosting workshops for students to introduce them to the legal profession as a career option and supporting events to raise the charity’s profile. She has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for services to financial services. Career highlights have included advising on the UK Government’s post-crisis bailout and re-privatisation of Lloyds Banking Group. She is listed for M&A in The Legal 500, and as a leading lawyer in the Capital Markets – Equity section of IFLR1000. She has also been profiled in Black Letter Law, a directory that showcases achievement of ethnic minority lawyers, since it began in 2006.

Sarah Lee

Sarah currently leads on enhancing ethnic minority recruitment and retention practices, and is the partner champion and sponsor for the ethnic minority network (DIVERSE) within the firm. Her work through DIVERSE, includes considering the firm’s recruitment approach and launching “Diversity in the City”, giving BAME employees the opportunity to feed back their views and suggestions on the firm’s inclusion approach as part of their retention of BAME talent initiative. These efforts won the Law Society Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Sarah also sponsors the firm’s female leadership development programme and ensures that BAME women are represented on this scheme. Sarah is a Judicial Appointments Commissioner, through which she promotes the opportunity of judicial careers to those from underrepresented groups. She has undertaken many speaking engagements to profile ethnic minority leadership as a lawyer, including speaking at secondary schools and university careers events with significant populations of ethnic minority students. She has sponsored and presented at a collaborative project between Oxford University’s ACS and Slaughter and May’s DIVERSE network, which provides practical skills based workshops to BME GCSE students at schools across London, and works with the charity Pilotlight, which brings together senior business leaders and charities/social enterprises to develop strategic and business plans. She has been recognised as a leading lawyer in her field by Chambers UK, The Legal 500, The International Tax Review: Tax Controversy Leaders Guide and the Women in Business Law Guide.

Nilufer von Bismarck

As a high profile ethnic minority role model, Nilufer acts as a mentor both formally and informally to ethnic minority employees throughout the firm. She supported the development of the firm’s bespoke ethnic minority cross company mentoring programme, which was the first of its kind and aimed to retain talented, diverse lawyers by providing them with impartial career advice from senior business leaders. This scheme has now been rolled out to other employers and she continues to participate as a mentor to someone outside of Slaughter and May. Externally, Nilufer is on the Board of Trustees of Into University, leading on hosting workshops for students to introduce them to the legal profession as a career option. This year she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for services to financial services. Career highlights have included advising on the UK Government’s post-crisis bailout and re-privatisation of Lloyds Banking Group. She is listed for M&A in The Legal 500, and as a leading lawyer in the Capital Markets – Equity section of IFLR1000. She has also been profiled in Black Letter Law, a directory that showcases achievement of ethnic minority lawyers, since it began in 2006.

Sarah Lee

Sarah currently leads on enhancing ethnic minority recruitment and retention practices, and is the partner champion and sponsor for the ethnic minority network (DIVERSE) within the firm. She is on the Recruitment Strategy Committee and works with RARE, a specialised graduate recruitment agency that finds the most talented ethnic minority students. She is a highly visible role model for all lawyers and employees at Slaughter and May, and is an active mentor, both formally and informally for ethnic minority lawyers within the firm. She has undertaken many speaking engagements to profile ethnic minority leadership as a lawyer, including speaking at secondary schools and university careers events with significant populations of ethnic minority students. Within the wider legal community, she set up the diversity partners forum and has sat on various panels discussing the attraction, recruitment and retention of ethnic minority lawyers. She is ranked as a leader in Chambers UK and The Legal 500 and has recently been appointed as a Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission, an independent statutory body with responsibility for selecting judges for the Courts and Tribunals of England and Wales, with an express remit to encourage diversity in candidates available for judicial selection.

Ngozie Azu

Ngozie founded Slaughter and May’s BME network in 2010, which is now one of the firm’s most active and visible diversity networks. As part of her involvement in the network Ngozie organised a number of seminars which brought together BME professionals throughout the City. Ngozie has also worked closely with partners in Slaughter and May’s Africa practice to attract more BME applicants through launching the Slaughter and May Africa Essay Prize and speaking at the firm’s first recruitment event focussing on Slaughter and May’s work in Africa. Ngozie has developed a number initiatives to support independent African law firms including an annual secondment programme which invites lawyers from Africa to spend three weeks in the firm’s London office. This year’s secondment programme hosted over 20 lawyers from across 13 African countries.

Nilufer von Bismarck

Nilufer is a visible and high profile role model internally and externally; she was named as one of two women (and very few BAME leaders) in the The City A.M./CityJet Power Hundred List in 2011, was shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in 2011, and was awarded ‘Best in capital markets – equity’ by Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Europe Women in Business Law Awards in 2013 and 2014. She also acts as a mentor both formally and informally. Additionally, Nilufer is on the Board of Trustees of Into University, a charity that recognises that young people from the UK’s poorest backgrounds face a considerable educational disadvantage in that they tend to do less well at school than their middle-class peers, they are far less likely to go to university, and they have a lower chance of entering the professions.

Sarah Lee

Sarah was the first partner to take up the role to lead Diversity and Inclusion at the firm, which she held from 2007-2012. She established D&I as a Board level item, introducing training on D&I issues at all levels of the firm and was directly responsible for the setup of their eight employee networks, including the BAME network. She currently leads on a new strategic work stream looking at how to enhance BAME/social mobility recruitment and retention practices. Sarah is also the partner champion and sponsor for DIVERSE, the internal network that promotes and celebrates the BAME and social mobility diversity. Externally Sarah undertakes speaking engagements to profile BME leadership as a lawyer to students and in the wider legal community has sat on various panels discussing the attraction, recruitment and retention of ethnic minority lawyers in the profession.