In Conversation with David Lammy MP

Posted on 6 November 2018

In October 2018 we welcomed David Lammy MP to the Academy in conversation with Partner Sonia Campbell.

David Lammy is the MP for Tottenham, London’s most diverse constituency. One of the leading agenda setters in the fields of social activism, diversity and multi-culturalism, he was a member of the previous Labour Government (2001-2010).

His current position as an active backbench MP has enabled him to engage in his passion for tackling the big issues facing society on a macro and micro scale, and provide tangible solutions to bring about effective change. In September 2017, David published his review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System.

Mishcon Academy
Mishcon Talks: In Conversation with David Lammy MP

David Lammy MP
Social mobility is obviously the big buzzword of the times but we’ve got to unpick it.  It’s about firms and organisations understanding that they can’t just live in some ivory tower silo, they have to be in communities, on the ground in the sort of communities that I represent, in some shape or form, understanding the context from which young people come and then they have to act.  Where are you recruiting from?  Which universities?  Which schools?  What is the data telling you?  How are you preferencing some groups that have been historically held back?  Women, ethnic minorities, those with disabilities.  Who is doing the interviewing?  And then when you look at those who get in, how are they advancing?  Who is on your management board?  What do they look like?  What are their backgrounds?  What’s your plan to see change?  That’s what being real about lifting people up means.

The judiciary said to me, ‘look, yeah, but it’s a pipeline issue, we just aren’t seeing those ethnic minority lawyers come through the ranks, you know, they’re just not there David’.  And I looked at the figures and I thought, this isn’t right because I qualified twenty odd years ago and I know these ethnic minorities, of course they’re there!  But what’s happening, they’re applying and they’re not getting through.  

Sonia Campbell, Partner
And why aren’t they getting through?

David Lammy MP

Sonia Campbell, Partner
Tell us.

David Lammy MP
Because, actually, you have systemised privilege.  That’s… you’ve systemised certain kinds of chambers, certain kinds of universities, a certain way to present in order to be a judge, therefore that privileges certain kinds of people.

I think that there is a willingness to listen but action is short, very short in some areas and there’s not much radical energy.

Mandatory ethnicity pay reporting is essential, follow the data, create a transparent environment in which clients can see how good you are with issues of diversity in which individuals can make active choices about whether they want to work with you and for you and in which that data can be collected across a number of institutions and comparisons can be made.  So, I’m, I’ve, you know I don’t think we need a consultation, I think we should be getting on with it.

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