Chinelo Awa

When I walked through the glass doors of Barclays on Thursday 30 January 2014, I had high expectations for the day ahead of me. I was pleasantly surprised when my expectations were met and exceeded by the end of the Legal Launch Pad (LLP) Induction day.

From the moment I arrived at the event venue (where a lovely photo of me was taken), I got the impression that I was part of something special. I was made to feel welcome and got the impression that the organisers were genuinely happy to see me – It was also nice to finally meet Tricia Eghagha – fondly described by Debo as the engine that keeps the programme running – whom I had exchanged a lot of emails with prior to the event. The turnout of sponsors, ranging from lawyers from Barclays – including the bank’s Group General Counsel – to graduate recruitment officers of sponsor firms of the LLP programme demonstrated the high quality of support the programme enjoys. I was also pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the students selected to participate in the programme, which I believe demonstrates the breadth of the programme’s scope. 

The day itself comprised of inspiring, encouraging and challenging talks, interactive sessions and presentations from representatives of sponsor organisations and supporters; all of which were relevant for developing both a legal career and a strong character. I was particularly challenged by the words of Solomon Wifa (Managing Partner at O’Melveny & Myers) who spoke about learning to adapt oneself to the position one finds themself in, to get to where one wants to be. The panel discussion by past LLP participants was also motivating. As I listened to them speak about their journeys since the programme, I was struck by the transformation they all noticed in themselves between the start of the programme and the end. I remember saying to myself, “If they can do it, then so can I”.

A practical piece of advice from Debo (Executive Head of the BLD Foundation) was to get in the habit of decluttering. Whilst she was referring to decluttering fear from our lives, I can confirm that my flat has never been as organised as it is now!

In my opinion, the Legal Launch Pad is more that just a programme. It is a family committed to empowering the younger generation to make a positive impact on society by providing them with all the tools necessary to do so. I am thankful for this opportunity and look forward to the rest of the year with gusto.

Chinelo Awa 

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