How to Become Partner at a Top 200 Law Firm

Shannett Thompson

In this film, Shannett Thompson, Partner in the Regulatory Team at Kingsley Napley, shares her personal story about being a law firm partner, the path to partnership and the path of transitioning from associate to partner.

The film was produced by Devron Callender of Record Edit Inspire, an innovative freelance filmmaker for Channel 4, 5 and BBC. He has created a series of short films designed to inform and broaden the aspirations of children and young people. His series over coming months will focus on careers and diversity in law. 

Further information

To find out more about career opportunities at Kingsley Napley, our values and responsible business groups, please see the sections below.

See also our Diversity Matters blog series and podcasts.

Latest blogs and news

Things not to say to same-sex parents

In January 2020, I was fortunate enough to give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  As far as I know, I am the first partner at Kingsley Napley (although certainly not the first employee) who has a baby who is lucky enough to have two mums.  News of my pregnancy was met with overwhelming support from my colleagues.  That support continues to this very day, and my wife and I remain truly grateful for the kindness that has been shown to us.  However, since falling pregnant I have learnt that not all workplaces are as supportive to same-sex parents as mine.  The concept of two mums or two dads starting a family is something that some people still struggle to get their heads around.   So this year, for our KN Pride blog series, I have decided to explain the questions, that speaking from my own experience, it is not helpful to say to same-sex parents.

Our diversity journey and where we want to REACH

We have newly renamed our network to the Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) group. Our REACH network is a space where we come together to work towards fostering and maintaining an inclusive workplace, where we can all reach our full potential without fear of discrimination.

Positive representation in law

Satvir Sokhi was recently invited to speak and take part in Leeds Beckett University’s Law Enrichment session which allowed a panel of ethnically diverse professionals to speak to students about our experiences with diversity and inclusion within the legal sector.

The importance of LGBTQ+ spaces on International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

On this day each year, over 130 countries around the world seek to celebrate sexual and gender diversities and draw attention to the various forms of discrimination and violence that the LGBTQ+ community continue to experience. 

How to check if the law firm you are interviewing at is diversity friendly?

There are various drivers forcing law firms to embrace a more diverse workforce and to attract, promote and retain talent from all backgrounds, regardless of gender, gender-identity, race, ethnicity,  sexuality, religion, age, and socio-economic class (to name but a few).

IWD: The right to walk alone without fear – what I and other men need to be doing

Following the tragic events of this week, I have thought back to the past two weeks and considered how my position might have been different if I was a woman.  I now recognise just how incredibly ‘normal’ it has become for women to be warned against walking alone at night, which is something I have never had to consider as a man.  This dichotomy between the experiences of men and women has been made clear by the reaction across traditional and social media.

#ChooseToChallenge this International Women’s Day

Kingsley Napley continue to support International Women’s Day to help forge a more gender equal world. As a firm we pride ourselves on having a workforce made up of over 69% women, with more than 50% in the partnership. However, we know that much work still has to be done in the legal sector and beyond.

Good maternity care: We need to talk about race

An urgent inquiry into systemic racism in the NHS and how it manifests itself in maternity care was launched yesterday. The Inquiry has been convened by Birthrights: an organisation dedicated to improving women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth.

Ethnicity pay gap – still an issue, still on the agenda

Today will see the start of the UK’s first Race Equality Week (an initiative “to unite organisations and individuals in activity to address issues affecting ethnic minority employees”).  Whilst initiatives like this and, indeed, the UK’s first ever Ethnicity Pay Gap Day (8 January 2021) are very welcome and a cause for celebration and hope in relation to such matters, there is much work yet to be done on the issue of race equality and we cannot afford to be complacent.  The ethnicity pay gap is one aspect of this that still needs to be addressed, despite the recent publicity around it and the increasing pressure on Government to take action.

Progression of employees from a BAME background: identifying and overcoming the barriers

According to Diversity UK, in 2018 roughly 13.8% of the UK population was from a minority ethnic background and 40% of the population in London were from the Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

Charity Spotlight - Spark Inside

Kingsley Napley had the pleasure of hosting an evening with Spark Inside. The charity coaches prisoners and advocates for change within the criminal justice system. Please read on to find out what we learnt and how you can help.

Tackling racial harassment in higher education

Universities UK (“UUK”) has published a new set of recommendations designed to decisively tackle racial harassment as part of wider efforts to address racial inequality in the higher education sector. 

Kingsley Napley’s Pledge to Mark International Day of People with Disabilities

Throughout this week, my colleagues have blogged on important topics to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To round off the week, I wanted to demonstrate our commitment to take action to improve.

Kingsley Napley Supports International Day of People With Disabilities

Kingsley Napley is committed to supporting those employees who have disabilities and to recruiting a diverse workforce to reflect our client base and the wider UK population. Together with the Kingsley Napley (Diff)ability network group, we have written this blog in support of International Day of People With Disabilities (IDPWD, Thursday the 3 December 2020).

Disabled people returning to work in the pandemic – a case study

For those of us fortunate to have jobs, our work is important to us - it’s our answer to the question “what do you do?” It provides us with most of our social interaction, it gives our days and our weeks structure, it gives a sense of purpose, and a sense of achievement (and sometimes of failure). Most people want to work but disabled people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be unemployed. Most of us who work fear losing our jobs but many people with disabilities have a genuine and perhaps well-founded concern that if they lose their job, they will never get another.

Has COVID made the legal workplace more disability inclusive?

Almost a year since it published its report on the career experiences of disabled people in the legal profession, Legally Disabled, in partnership with the Lawyers with Disabilities Division of The Law Society of England and Wales, has just released it latest research exploring how the pandemic has impacted the working lives of disabled lawyers. The research, which was launched on 2 November 2020, shows that the move by firms towards almost universal remote working could make the legal profession more accessible to those with disabilities in the long term.

Shannett Thompson Chair of the BAME & Allies Network, shares her career path to Partner and helpful tips

Shannett Thompson, Partner in Regulatory and Chair of Kingsley Napley's BAME & Allies Network, recently shared her perspectives with Legal Women on her career path in to law, her journey to Partner, combatting adversity and helpful tips she would give her younger self.

How can we help ensure black history is a core part of the curriculum beyond Black History Month?

During Black History Month a great deal of attention is rightly paid to teaching black history in schools and colleges. Outside of October is a different matter, as the curriculum focuses on a predominantly white perspective of events to the detriment of students and society. This is not a criticism of teachers, who do a great deal of excellent work and are under immense pressure to teach the parts of history which will help students do well in their exams. However, the range of history taught in schools does need to expand and anyone involved with a school can help speed up this change.

World Mental Health Day 2020 - a BAME perspective

Addressing mental health issues can often be seen as a taboo within the BAME community. The reasons for this are complex and include both cultural and societal reasons. As an Asian male, I know mental health is treated as a “theory” or a “myth”; something that is not really there. In this blog, I want to touch upon the reasons for this, but more importantly, I want to share how I try to keep my mental health positive.

An independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession – if at first you don’t succeed, try try again, but how many chances do we need?

We recently wrote about the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in promoting a good working culture within law firms, and explained why one of the key responsibilities of any employer is to create both a diverse and an inclusive workplace.

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