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Browne Jacobson lawyer champions social mobility in the legal profession with key ambassador appointment

20 July 2021

Lynette Wieland, a health and social care lawyer at Browne Jacobson, has been appointed as a social mobility ambassador for The Law Society.

The Law Society social mobility ambassadors’ scheme, which is made up of a small network of 13 UK based solicitors, promotes role models from non-traditional backgrounds who are committed to sharing their stories and raising the aspirations of students and graduates interested in joining the legal profession.

Lynette is an advocate of social mobility within the legal profession, having taken a non-traditional route into law herself. When growing up, a change in her housing and financial circumstances meant that university and a career in law seemed an unlikely option for Lynette, having left school without A Levels and living and working in a socially disadvantaged area.

Lynette then took on an apprenticeship, working at a vocational training provider, where she became an advocate of learners studying through apprenticeships. She used this to springboard into other opportunities such as becoming a member of a National Learner Panel, funded by a government department which led to her presenting a speech in the Houses of Parliament for the Skills Commission. She then decided to pursue her passion and interest in the legal profession, successfully applying to the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) which provided both LPC funding and invaluable work experience opportunities. Lynette then secured an apprenticeship with Browne Jacobson in 2014 and secured a position as a paralegal in the Clinical Negligence team and then qualified as a lawyer in Health Advisory and Inquests Team.

In addition to her social mobility ambassador appointment, Lynette is also a champion for neurodiversity for Neurodiversity In Law. Neurodiversity in Law is an organisational network whose purpose is to promote and support neurodiversity with the legal professions and eliminate the stigma often associated with people who think differently. Lynette who has dyslexia, dyscalculia and Meares-Irlen Syndrome - a visual stress condition which can lead to difficulties around reading and spatial awareness - took up the position earlier in the year and regularly gives talks on neurodiversity.

Lynette has various mentoring responsibilities externally through her involvement with the Law Society’s Lawyers with Disabilities Division, her neurodiversity in law role and through her position on University of York’s widening participation group. She regularly gives aspiring students advice on diversity disclosure and how to access a career in law.

Internally, Lynette has been pivotal in helping to steer Browne Jacobson’s diversity and inclusion agenda over the last 12 months with a key role on the firm’s Disability Network with Head of Education partner, Mark Blois and the D&I group.

Lynette commented on her appointment:

“I am delighted to take on this fantastic role. As someone who has overcome significant obstacles to become a solicitor, I recognise the importance of social mobility being at the forefront of any law firm’s future agenda, ensuring the profession has an inclusive and diverse make-up in terms of talent and clients.

“By continuing to share my experiences and story, I hope to empower aspiring solicitors to build self-confidence so that they can succeed in the profession. I also hope to advise change makers on how to make the profession more accessible to those who lack the traditional professional networks or financial means to enter it and to those with a disability."

Christina Lambi, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at The Law Society said:

“Lynette was the first candidate to be interviewed for the Social Mobility Ambassador role and was very impressive. She is an active ambassador and an important advocate for disabled professionals and students. This focus on disability with social mobility is often overlooked. She is at the beginning of her role and I am confident she will go on to provide greater contributions to students and legal professionals.”

Oliver Holmes, Head of D&I at Browne Jacobson added:

“Social mobility is a real driver for Browne Jacobson. We want to show ourselves as an innovative legal employer by having a workforce with a creative makeup. Research has shown people from diverse and neuro-diverse backgrounds can be some of the most creative people which significantly contributes to the vibrancy of a workplace.

“Lynette’s ambassador role will elevate the message that you don’t need the financial set up or high academic background in order to have a successful and progressive law career, with her story being clear proof of that.”

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