Lord Paul Boateng awarded Honorary Life Membership at Breaking Barriers 2023


On 17 October 2023 at London South Bank University, the Society held its annual joint event with the University: Breaking Barriers. The keynote speaker was Lord Paul Boateng who spoke about his career in law and politics to a packed theatre of law students.

Lord Boateng is very much a South London person. He started his career as an articled clerk with Ben Birnberg’s Borough High Street firm, then as a newly qualified solicitor worked at Paddington Law Centre before returning to become a partner in that firm.

Lord Boateng’s experience as Legal Adviser to the Scrap Sus Campaign, acting for defendants in the Brixton, Bristol and Liverpool uprisings, and during the miners’ strike, showed his commitment to access to justice for all and combatting injustice. He represented Cherry Groce amongst other victims of institutional and racial injustice.

He was later called to the Bar and was elected to Parliament in 1987 as Labour MP for Brent South, having served on the GLC as Chair of its Police Committee. He became Britain’s first black minister and later Cabinet minister, serving in the Department of Health, the Home Office and in Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

South London Law Society President, Donovan Lindsay, announced that Lord Boateng is now an Honorary Life Member of the Society.

Lord Boateng was followed by a panel of inspirational role models who told their stories of overcoming barriers and giving top tips to the students. The panel members were:

  • Elaine Banton, Co-Chair of the Bar Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee,
  • Shaheen Mamun, founder and partner of Black Antelope Law,
  • Judge Shelley Brownlee
  • Jonathan Achampong, partner at Wedlake Bell,
  • Miranda Grell, Staple Inn Chambers,
  • Chris Lambert, Garden Court Chambers,
  • Pamela Robotham, Director of Greenwich Housing Rights and Vice President of South London Law Society.

The panel session was followed by a networking reception where students met the speakers informally as well as Society committee members from Hanne & Co and Anthony Gold Solicitors.