Funke Abimbola sums up everything you need to know about lawyers breaking through barriers! Right from the start of her legal career she has faced challenges due to her African name and the colour of her skin. In an interview in 2016 she recalled:
“I also experienced racism when I went for a job interview for a corporate solicitor role. The receptionist assumed I was there to interview for a secretarial position, simply because I was a black woman.”
She has gone on to become one of the most senior black lawyers globally. She has won countless awards and inspired many of those around her through her charity work and diversity campaigning.
I was lucky enough to meet Funke at a breakfast legal seminar many years ago. I had arrived in a fluster and was feeling very awkward, inexperienced and out of my depth. Funke walked straight up to me, introduced herself and put me at ease immediately. She really took the time to learn about me and why I was there. She gave me her card and said that I could get in touch at any point if I needed anything. It was only afterwards that I looked her up and I realised that all of the accolades and hype around this lady are entirely deserved. She really is a leading light in our legal sector.
Given this incredible lady is only midway through her career, only time will tell what else she can achieve!