Redefining stereotypes by showcasing positive Black and Ethnic Minorities contributions, and empowering and inspiring the next generation.

EDITION EIGHT – 2020

Sherene Pascall-Wallis

I am…a go-getter who puts her mind to something and doesn’t stop until I achieve it….

Who are you?

I am a go-getter who puts her mind to something and doesn’t stop until I achieve it. I am always motivating others to achieve their goals. I am passionate about seeing young ladies from my background entering into the legal world so that we can smash through the glass ceilings!

What is your present role?

I am a family solicitor. This involves representing people in various family matters such as divorce, contact arrangements for parents and children, obtaining injunctions for victims of domestic violence, and representing parents when the Local Authority have intervened and want to remove their children.

Tell us about your life journey so far. What has brought you to your current role?

I came from a single-parent family where I saw my mum work 3 or 4 jobs at a time to support me and my siblings. I was the first in my family to attend university. I didn’t know anyone who was a Solicitor and didn’t know where to start on my journey of becoming a Solicitor.

After I obtained my GCSE’s I worked full time as it was more important for me to bring money into our home than obtaining a further education. I didn’t go to university until I was 26, it was at this point in my life I knew I wanted to become a Solicitor.

I worked full time whilst studying part-time throughout my legal journey. It was difficult, and I wanted to give up so many times, however, God would not allow it. Although it was very challenging, I am glad I persevered as my proudest moment to date was qualifying against all odds as a Solicitor.

In your field of work, what has been your observation and/or experience of white privilege, discrimination and prejudices?

The legal world is still predominantly made up of white males. When I am in court it is blindingly obvious that BAMEs are still the minority in the legal industry. I have had legal professionals assume that I am the client as oppose to the lawyer, purely based on their own subconscious prejudices.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?

That I am good enough. I don’t have to try and be anybody else, God made me the way he wanted me to be and there is no other like me. I also don’t need to put pressure on myself to get anything done by a particular time in my life, as everything happens if/when it is meant to.

What song, quote, statement or image do you find most encouraging?

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou has always been my motivation as it describes my journey in my personal and professional life.

How are you redefining a stereotype?

I’m a female, black, cockney Solicitor from a council estate in South East London! We are a rarity!

What advice or top tip would you give to the next generation of BAME individuals?

Work smart. Network with people who are already in the field that you want to work in or start a business in. I got where I am today because I used the gift of my gab to network and make friends with people in the legal industry.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone who has already done what you are trying to achieve to be your mentor. Most importantly, enjoy the journey, do not wait until you have reached your goal to enjoy it.