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PRIME Board members

Annette Byron, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Annette ByronElected as a real estate partner in 2000 at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields), a founder member of PRIME, Annette is the firm’s Partner Sponsor for Social Mobility. She also sits on the firm’s training contract recruitment panel and works with its Responsible Business team on its school-age initiatives.

Annette co-led the re-launch of Freshfields’ global Black Affinity Network, bringing together lawyers of black African and black African-Caribbean heritage from across the firm. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme, a unique social mobility scheme which seeks to address the disproportionate under-representation of black and black mixed-race males from less privileged backgrounds, and the lack of direct role models, in large commercial law firms.

Annette grew up in inner-city Manchester and read Law at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics. She has been listed in the Financial Times’ 2016 UPstanding Executive Power List of 100 leading black, Asian and minority ethnic business and legal professionals from the UK, Ireland and the U.S.

Nicholas Cheffings, Hogan Lovells – Chair

Nicholas CheffingsNicholas was the first member of his family to go to University. He began his legal career working in-house before moving into private practice. He is now the global Chair of Hogan Lovells and also maintains an active practice.

Nicholas is committed to increasing diversity and social inclusion. He is a member of numerous related bodies, as well as the Chairman of PRIME. Nicholas, and Hogan Lovells, believe that access to the legal profession must be open and fair, and that perceived barriers that may deter talented individuals must be removed. Nicholas personally supports many of the firm's social mobility initiatives.

Hogan Lovells are signatories of the Social Mobility Compact, and founding members of both PRIME and the Pathways to Law and Pathways Plus programmes, focused on social mobility within the legal sector run in partnership with The Sutton Trust. Since 2008 the firm has hosted 25 open days and 12 work experience programmes, including through Ladder to Law, a bespoke program started in 2010. More than 250 Year-10, -11, and -12 students have attended workshops, open days, and work experience programmes, including 84 Year-12 students from state schools who will be first-generation university attendees. Since PRIME was founded in 2011, the firm has provided work experience to 135 Year-12 students.

Patricia ("Tish") Christias, Microsoft

Patricia ChristiasTish is passionate about promoting a diverse and inclusive legal sector and sits on the board of PRIME as the in-house representative, and on the National Advisory Board of Career Ready.

She started her career in private practice as an IP litigator. She then transitioned to become a commercial lawyer and is currently Head of Legal for Microsoft in the UK, leading a team of lawyers who support the full range of Microsoft businesses in the UK on a wide range of commercial and contentious issues.

Tish is a graduate of Trinity College (Connecticut) and The George Washington University Law School. She is a member of the New York State Bar.

Bill Drummond, Brodies

Bill DrummondManaging Partner since 1998, Bill joined Brodies in 1980. Under his leadership the firm has grown and turnover has built year on year. During that time Brodies has led the way in LLP conversion, sought to embed transparency in its reporting to stakeholders, and won numerous awards.

Brodies is a founding member of PRIME, offering work experience in its Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow offices. The firm has relationships with a host of schools across the central belt, the Scottish Borders and the north of Scotland. Brodies' work experience programme gives students an insight into all aspects of the business, not just law but also professional support services including IT, Finance, HR and Marketing; and develops their skills in a wide variety of areas such as communication, presentation, networking, negotiation and team working. Additional coaching and mentoring is offered to participants as they continue on to higher education or the start of their professional working lives. Three ‘graduates’ of Brodies’ PRIME programme are now studying law at university.

Janet Legrand, DLA Piper

Janet LegrandJanet has been Senior Partner and Senior Elected Board Member of DLA Piper since 2009 and was involved in the legal profession's initial discussions with the Cabinet Office and others which led to the setting up of PRIME, of which the firm is a founding member.

DLA Piper has a longstanding and deep rooted commitment to social mobility, which is reflected in its global Break into Law programme, of which PRIME forms an important part. The firm offers PRIME work experience programmes in all 7 of its UK offices and ran 48 Break into Law programmes and events in the UK in 2015. Over the course of the year, 890 DLA people spent over 4,300 hours volunteering on social mobility programmes, which benefited over 1,700 students.

Four students from DLA programmes are now solicitors or trainee solicitors with the firm and a further three have been offered Summer Scheme places.

Julie Randles, HE Access Network

Julie RandlesJulie Randles is CEO of the HE Access Network, a social enterprise improving the life chances of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting them through key educational transitions. Her previous roles include Director of Programmes and Partnerships at the Sutton Trust, a charity improving social mobility through education, and Head of the Families and Schools Together (FAST) programme at Save the Children. She is a community governor at a primary school in Camden that serves a very disadvantaged intake.

Julie has an MA from the University of St Andrews and an M.B.A from the University of Stirling. She is passionate about the transformative effect of reading for pleasure on children’s later attainment, and thinks her own love of reading contributed to her being the first person in her family to be educated past the age of 16.

Chris White, Aspiring Solicitors

Chris WhiteChris is the Founder of Aspiring Solicitors. He is a qualified solicitor having trained at a leading U.S. law firm and also practiced as a corporate solicitor at a leading global law firm in London for over three years.

Chris has voluntarily assisted aspiring solicitors from underrepresented groups to enter the profession for over six years. Chris personally experienced barriers throughout his career due to his diversity as a state educated, first generation graduate/solicitor, non-Russell Group university graduate with an accent. He found that each of these factors acted as a barrier to entry to the profession at various stages of his career. He is passionate to remove barriers to increase diversity in the profession and believes that capability and personality are the only two factors which should determine whether anyone receives an opportunity to pursue their goals.

As a registered company limited by guarantee (company number: 08039633), the PRIME Board members must adhere to directors duties under the Companies Act 2006. These are detailed here.

Member firms
Farrer & Co
Digby Brown Solicitors
Bircham Dyson Bell
Stevens and Bolton
irwin mitchell
Allen & Overy
clyde and co
walker morris
stephenson harwood
lewis silkin
travers smith
slater and gordon
sidley austin
reed smith
dac beachcroft
joe egan
howard kennedy
holman fenwick
douglas jones
Arthur Cox
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
berwin leighton paisner
bird and bird
Gowling WLG
baker and mckenzie
Pinsent Masons
Blake Morgan
Hogan Lovells
Herbert Smith
Sheppard and Wedderburn
Slaughter and May
anglo thai
arnold and porter
Trowers and Hamlins
Macklay murray
Norton Rose
DLA Piper
Clifford Chance
Bond Dickinson
burges salmon
burness paull
king and wood
mayer brown
osborne clark
simmons simmons
taylor wessing