Running a law firm has its challenges, especially when you have additional roles to manage such as being a mum, a wife and doing charitable work to benefit your community.
There are probably hundreds of women across the country who have such lifestyles and are managing perfectly well. So, what makes our September cover feature Sarah Khan Bashir so special you ask?
There are many reasons. She has an MBE for a start, is Managing Partner of Bradford law firm, SKB Law and has spent more than 20 years in the legal industry specifically advocating for women’s rights and for members of the society who are vulnerable and may not be aware of their rights.
To add more to her cap, the successful mother of three recently won the coveted Community Contribution Award at the 2019 Bradford Business Awards and is the only solicitor in Yorkshire who was shortlisted earlier this year as Woman Solicitor of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2019. The Awards showcase the best of the profession, with this year’s awards claiming to have received a record number of nominations. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London tomorrow.
Both awards recognise Sarah’s role in transforming SKB Law into a modern legal practice, combining professional legal services with social impact.
This is what sets Sarah apart from others, her commitment to improving the lives of her clients and the wider community. Sarah attributes her professional success to an excellent level of customer service. She believes that “customer service is where SKB Law really excels,” stating “family law is one of the most challenging areas of law.”
“We offer every client a free 30-minute consultation in a trusted space, so they can discuss any issues such as divorce, children or financial matters. Not only that as a firm we want to give back to the community by helping more young people and women to enter the legal profession.” She told Asian Sunday
With over 20 years’ experience as a solicitor, and spending twelve years mentoring young people in schools for Mosaic a charity set up by Prince Charles, Sarah felt it was time to set up her own initiative to help get young people ready for the workplace called The SKB Academy.
“Bradford is the youngest city. We have a sitting pipeline of talent, so I’ve created The Academy to try and develop programmes to help young people have the confidence to create opportunities for and to prepare them for employment” Sarah explained
Joining her on this journey is Mandip Sahota, who was working for Baroness Warsi Foundation when Sarah met her and within a month, they both created a programme called ‘The Unwritten Rules’
The duo now go into schools, where on day one they deliver a workshop which tackle interview skills, networking, presentation skills etc. On the second day the students are then invited to a partner business where they are interviewed to put to the test the skills they have been taught in the workshop.
The two and a half day sessions have so far seen companies such as BBC, ITV and the Yorkshire Building Society and Schofield Sweeney taking part in the process.
The Academy has already worked with schools like Dixons Academy group and the Bradford University Law Department.
Sarah says: “There are young people, who on their own admission tell me they were extremely concerned about being interviewed but by the end of the interviews they are doing high fives and exchanging email addresses with the interviewers.
“The programme is breaking down barriers that aren’t really acknowledged. Dismantling the fear of interviews or businesses that they may not have considered applying to before. We now want every business to have a duty to invest in young people”
There’s so much in the pipeline for Sarah’s law firm and The Academy, she said: “We have big plans! We want to help improve more lives. We’re already digitising our services with Clio, which will help us deliver even better customer service for our clients across the country. We’d like the Academy to offer more work placements, and support even more women and young people to enter the legal profession.”