ILS Marketing & Business Development Manager, Sandy Fitzgerald, was lucky enough to spend some time recently talking to Trevor Sterling - Partner at Moore Barlow and Chair of the Mary Seacole Trust, about his background, role models and path into the legal profession, as well as discussing diversity in the legal sector and his work as Chair of the Mary Seacole Trust.
In the interview Trevor reflects on his background and that of his parents who moved to the UK from Jamaica when they were 19, as part of the Windrush Generation. He talks about growing up in 70s Britain where racism was a commonplace everyday experience.
Trevor shares his motivation that, despite this challenging backdrop, he was driven by the desire to make his parents proud and having left school early with limited career options, surrounded by encouraging and inspirational people, he found a role as an Outdoor Clerk for a law firm. A firm that he remained with for 28 years and where he became the youngest ever black partner in a law firm at the age of 28. Within law firms that he has since joined he has been the first, if not only, black partner.
Black lawyers are still a minority within the profession, however, and tend to work for smaller practices and to this point Trevor talks about his passion for encouraging more people from diverse backgrounds into the legal profession.
Alongside some of his career highlights which include taking a case to the House of Lords, Trevor is most proud of his work at Moore Barlow LLP, where he is a partner. Here Trevor has been supported in his drive to ensure Moore Barlow is a diverse and inclusive firm and has been the lead in setting up the firm’s Aspiring Lawyers Group which promotes diverse routes into the profession. Aside from his efforts to encourage diversity at Moore Barlow, Trevor also takes pride in having established a Major Trauma Service – the first of its type in the country, supporting St. George’s & King’s College Hospital patients.
It is no surprise that Trevor is also Chair of the Mary Seacole Trust as he sites, among others, this formidable female as one of his historical role models. Through his work with the Trust he strives to promote social equality. Mary was a nurse who went to the Crimean War from Jamaica, having been rejected in Britain, to set up a British Hotel where she cared for and nursed soldiers using her own money and Trevor believes that, by sharing Mary’s story, people of all backgrounds can be inspired to achieve and have a strong sense of direction in their lives. Through the Trust organisations are also encouraged to promote diversity in leadership.
He tells of how the charity undertakes a number of forward-thinking initiatives with the ultimate goal of promoting the idea that we should all feel we have equal opportunities and equal outcomes, a subject which is very close to Trevor’s heart.
Watch the full interview here: