The New Black UK – Akil Hunte – S2E7

This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Rob Hanna is joined by the inspirational Akil Hunte.

Akil Hunte is, amongst many other things, a Multi-Award Winning Law Graduate from Nottingham Trent, Managing Director of The New Black UK, Future Trainee Solicitor at CMS and Founder of LinkedIn Skills For Lawyers: 4 Steps to Success Coaching Programme.

Rob thoroughly enjoyed talking to Akil about how The New Black UK started as a concept and society as well as what he aims to achieve alongside his team members Giosuè Bonsu, Charlene Gambiza, Michael Lines and Deladem Dzotsi.


[0:00:00.2] Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast, powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week, I’m delighted to be joined by the very inspirational Akil Hunte. Akil is a multi-award-winning law graduate and future trainee solicitor at CMS in London. He keeps himself very busy and is also the director, of the New Black UK, founder of LinkedIn Skills for Lawyers and Blogger.

[0:00:25.4] Akil Hunte: A bit of a mouthful.

[0:00:26.6] Rob Hanna: So welcome again.

[0:00:27.2] Akil Hunte: Sounds good when you say it.

[0:00:30:7] Rob Hanna: It’s great to finally have you on the Legally Speaking Podcast. But before we go through all your amazing works, we do have to start with our customary question on the podcast. So, on the scale of one to ten, ten being very real, how real do you rate the hit series Suits?

[0:00:47.7] Akil Hunte: Well, that’s an interesting question because there’s so many parts to it that are not real at all and look real at the time. But from my perspective, I say three because I feel like when you look at the firm and you look at the offices, it looks quite illustrious, quite prestigious, et cetera and that in itself is the case for some firms. But when you actually look at the content of what they’re talking about, and you’re looking at all of the situations, they get themselves involved in it’s just a bit ridiculous for me. So, I would say three because I just don’t think that it has a lot of content that really happens, but there’s some stuff that looks quite real to the average everyday person.

[0:01:24.9] Rob Hanna: Okay. No, I think fair enough. And you’ve justified your answer pretty clearly.

[0:01:29.8] Akil Hunte: So, like a legal essay.

[0:01:32.5] Rob Hanna: Of course, So we of course need to go through all of the great things that you’re doing for the legal sector and, what you’re doing to give back and what you’ve got planned. But let’s go back a few steps. Tell us a bit about you and tell us a bit more about your family background.

[0:01:44.9] Akil Hunte: Sure. Thank you. So, as you know I’m Akil Hunte. I’m was born and raised here in London. So, this is my hometown. I have origin to Jamaica, Grenada and Guyana, I’ve never lived there, I wished I did at some point, it would have been nice and lovely and tropical, but unfortunately, I have not so, I’ve lived here my whole life. As I grew up, you know, like I wasn’t in the most privileged background. So, for me, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. That’s always something that has been my goal, but as I’ve gotten older, it was a lot harder for me because I didn’t really have a lot of role models or a lot of people that was in law. I remember there was so many times where I was trying to find people who are lawyers and I’d go to some events and I would see the lawyers and I’ll be like, I just can’t see myself doing this.

And for me, I had some friends that were interested in law, but when I said, that I actually want to go and see lawyers in action, they would told me, nah, it’s not really worth it. So, for me, the whole journey to getting to this stage wasn’t the easiest, because I didn’t have a lot of role models at the time, it was in the industry, but had a good family network, family support system and they supported me and they made sure that I had enough education to be able to, you know, build a platform, to allow me to get into the industry and I went to university in 2015.

[0:02:58.7] Rob Hanna: Did you always want to go to university? Tell us about your time there.

[0:03:01.6] Akil Hunte: Sure, Sure. So, university was always the plan. I think my mum is a very educational focused person. And so, she was always drumming into me that, you know, education is the key and making sure I was going to library when I was younger. So, for me, university was always the plan and Nottingham Trent University, funnily enough was a university, that wasn’t one that I initially thought was the main one I wanted to go to. But as soon as I went to the campus, I had a really good vibe from there.

I met some of the lecturers who’ve actually ended up like giving me things when I left, I was like, wow. And they were so appreciative of the things that I did in the university that it was like, I met you on the open day. And now you’re being like this when I finished, and it showed the chronology, and it shows that how authentic they actually were at the time. So, I wanted to go to another university, but I didn’t get the grade. So when I went to Nottingham Trent, I thought to myself, actually, you know what, I could take advantage of this because I’ve come there not having the best platform to board off in my perspective, but now I can hopefully make something that’s exceptional. And I think, you know, when I went to university, that was the main thing I thought, which let me be exceptional here, let me not be average student, let me be an Oxford student.

[0:04:09.2] Rob Hanna: Good stuff. And so how many awards did you win at university? I think you broke a record.

[0:04:14.3] Akil Hunte: Yeah, for sure. So, if I’m not mistaken, I think it was seven. I’ve got, I won two negotiation competitions. I won a Dean’s award twice and I won free awards from the student union and that’s not included in the scholarship. So, I believe it was seven awards on a scholarship however, it was all in different spaces of time, so it wasn’t in one time.

[0:04:36.0] Rob Hanna: And you were again, just tell us a bit more, you’re the first student that you rightly say to receive the Dean’s award for outstanding contribution for two consecutive years, right?

[0:04:45:04] Akil Hunte: Yes, that’s true. Yeah, that was weird. I remember when I got told about it, I was like, they must’ve made a mistake because I won this last year. And then they said, no, you actually got it and then I did the graduation speech from our cohort at the time. So, when I did a graduation speech, I was like, wow, like they’ve actually given me this award twice. The Dean has said, I liked this guy twice, that’s quite an achievement.

[0:05:06:01] Rob Hanna: Well, good for you. Good for you. And we will talk about the most current, the New Black UK. But before that, you know, when you’re in university, why did you want to create the university society called the New Black NTSU?

[0:05:17:18] Akil Hunte: For sure, for sure. So, that was an interesting story and I’ll take you back to the beginning. So, I initially planned to do this in my first year, and you can find articles about it. I literally said for my first year there, that will be this society. However, the reason I thought about doing the society, because I felt like the word black was not really used in a very positive sense, both in how the media presented it, how culturally is being very stigmatized. I didn’t really like that because people associate black with death, negativity, funerals, so I was like wow, like so, when people call me black, it’s what people think about me. So for me, it was like, I want to make black, black a word that people can come together and be inspired to be able to achieve and succeed and overcome their negative ideas or misrepresentations that are put towards themselves, or they put towards themselves in their development.

So for me, I wanted to make the new black that hub but it didn’t start them because after my first year it was quite challenging because as you mentioned, some things were going quite well and I was also director of the student union at that time. So, I was like, what student trustee of the student union and I had just got a scholarship. So for me, it was quite challenging to be able to navigate that but what I found out at the time was that, you know, when I started again, in my end of my second year, I felt like, you know, this is something that is more important than just me. It’s more important than just, you know, getting an award or more important than just being a student that’s looked at well by others. For me, it was like, I needed to be able to bring people together and help them to succeed and develop, hope to motivate them.

And for me, that’s why I started again, I’ve got a bigger team. I’ve got people that want to support us from behind the scenes and we’ve literally just started to push it out. And I think when we started, it was a bit like on edge because they already knew that I didn’t do this before and now I try to do it again. So, it’s like will he ditch us again, but it wasn’t like that. So, when we got together, we did really good events. We got an event where we collaborated with very influential people that have like a national reputation and organizations that worked in like very prestigious roles, both in journalism and other industries. So, for me, it was like the whole point of it was to bring people together and think differently about how to try to develop in society and overcome the idea that before too.

[0:07:27:06] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I’m pretty well said. Well said. So, I think you mentioned from a young age, you wanted to be a lawyer. Why law? You know, there’s so many other great professions out there. Why was that your calling at such a young age?

[0:07:41:06] Akil Hunte: That’s interesting because I’d say there’s three reasons. First reason is, I could talk the roof off. If I could talk the roof off and as a lawyer, you have to talk the roof of I thought anyway, at the time. So, I thought that was my first key skill, the second key skill was I was analytical. So when I was younger, my mom always told me, Akil, you’re always analytical and you need to start analysing everything. And for me, it was like, if I’m going to be able to do something, I have to use my skills and I was very analytical. So, I thought, you know what I like to talk, I’m very analytical so being a lawyer might be able to work. And the third reason was I was just crazily ambitious from a very young age. So, even though I didn’t know any lawyers and I didn’t have anyone around me, literally hoarding me into this industry. It was just like, well, being a lawyer is regardless, most academically, most one of the most prestigious roles in this country, but I also like to help people. So, if I’m able to coalesce both of those things, I will be able to build something that I never thought I could when I look around me and I see what everyone else is doing. So, for me, I feel like it was those key things, which was that I was very ambitious. I was very analytical, and I just liked to speak.

[0:08:49:06] Rob Hanna: And what really inspires me about your journey as well as, like you said, where you started sort of things know, not come from this overly privileged background and you’ve still kind of kept into being very switched on and very looking at things as matter of fact. And I like the fact that you’ve also stayed true to your values and the fact that you still want to give back. Right. That’s really, really great. So, in terms of one of those things, there’s so many juniors out there that are really struggling to get training contracts, right. So, for you, how did you secure your future training contract with your sort of soon to be firm and how do you handle objections along the way?

[0:09:21:09] Akil Hunte: That was so interesting, you asked that question because that whole process was a hard one. And for me, I was applying for my first year because here’s me thinking that I’m this kid in Oxford at Nottingham Trent right, who is exceptional. I was trying my best to apply for Vacation Schemes in my first year. And I would obviously get rejected because my A-level grades, wasn’t absolutely the best and I didn’t have a lot of legal work experience, I don’t think I actually had any at the time.

So for me, it was from my first year but going through that process over three to four years was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but also the most rewarding, because I say for youngsters coming in and let’s say, there’s three things you have to understand in regards to the process and rejections, the first thing is you have to understand, like, not every firm is for you. And I say that because there’s probably over, there’s hundreds of firms in the industry and not every single firm is going to be tailored towards your development. And if you’re trying to train it somewhere where you’re trying to be a lawyer that was not only going to qualify, but able to go into areas that are going to enrich your life, you need to be able to be in a place to provide that so you have to find a firm that’s for you the first thing.

Second thing, I thought when I was going through the process was that I recognize the act which the process worked for me and I just worked for the process. And when I say that, I mean, they will just go through code applications all day, and just hope that someone recognizes your innate like talent for being a lawyer. It’s not going to happen, I’d say you have to be able to build yourself in a way that allows you to go through the process in the way that makes you feel comfortable.

When I think I found that through going through the New Black Society, through doing public speaking, through negotiating, through being a director of the student union, these things, I felt like wasn’t by force. It wasn’t something that I did just to get a train of contract but something I genuinely enjoy it and something that I still help support now like I was a judge on a negotiation competition last year. And like I saw kids come in and try to negotiate. I wouldn’t say kids, some are older than me actually, but it was the whole idea that I love negotiation and now I just love to negotiate. So, for me, it was just like, it was something that I felt passionate about, something I felt interested in. So, that’s the second thing – make the process work for you.

And the final thing is, to understand that it’s a marathon not a sprint and I don’t say that as I’m the only person who said that, I believe there’s a musician, Nipsey Hussle he had a clothing line called Marathon Continues. And for me, that resonates with me because I understand that in this whole process, you have to have a lot of stamina to be able to get there. And if you don’t have the stamina, you won’t get through. So even most exceptional people that I met in university, they never got accepted in their first place, they have got some rejections along the way, and that’s fine. But if you understand that when you go through this process, you have to go through these rejections like I got rejected multiple times at interview.

So for me, it was like, that’s a bit of a confidence then to now because you think, Oh, they liked me because they see me, right. And it’s actually the opposite because they liked my application, but in person, it wasn’t as easy. So for me, it was like, you have to make sure, you know, that when you go through that process, not everyone is going to get along with you not everyone’s going to be able to contribute to your vision. So, you have to be able to just navigate that in the best way for you so obviously those three things…

[0:12:21:07] Rob Hanna: Great stuff. And again, in terms of that, giving back and keeping busy, you’ve also done some recent charity work and correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve been out in Tanzania. Tell us about your time there and what you were doing?

[0:12:34:09] Akil Hunte: That was cool. I was there from October to December for I think 74 days. So, it wasn’t a short period of time and that whole program was based on a charity called, Voluntary Services Overseas, their aim was to conspire communities overseas and hope to alleviate poverty. So, I went to Tanzania with a group of people from the UK, lovely people we got also so well. And like what we did was we had to create projects over there to help to spearhead the economic development in the region. So, it was creating workshops for the youth. I was doing workshops on CVs, employability skills, you know, networking, et cetera and then we also had to help SMEs build their businesses through the market implants and such. So it was a real crash course in like, not, I think it’s not NGO work, but just more sustainable development and ensuring that you can look at other countries and see, you know, what are they doing, right.

The first thing, and then think, what can they do to improve? Because when you go over to places like that and you see the youth over there, do you recognize these guys are probably smarter than us? The way that they approach a lot of problems in their lives or approach, you know, development in their classrooms. So, these kids are smart, and they are mature to an extent, of course, as you can be as you are a youth. So, they took a lot of our lessons and they showed us so much love and so much appreciation for those lessons that I feel like I learned a lot from that in itself. So, I’d say that experience was really good for me because it allow me to understand that, you know, there’s other regions in the world that, you know, don’t have as much privilege as us in terms of the economic benefit, but they have so much potential to do so well if they have the resources to do that. And I think that was one of the key lessons I got from that.

[0:14:13:05] Rob Hanna: Great and what a fantastic experience. So, it’s somewhere I haven’t been, but I think hearing that is something I would love to do myself.

[0:14:18:01] Akil Hunte: You have to know Swahili if you go there.

[0:14:21:03] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I’m on that. So, outside of the law you do have so many passions and interests, which we’ve touched on lightly, but one of those of course is the New Black UK. So, for people listening in who may not be so aware, what is the New Black UK? Why did you want to set it all up?

[0:14:36:06] Akil Hunte: For sure, for sure. So that’s all based on the concept described earlier in terms of black and being aware that I believe to be stigmatized in society and not presenting the way that it should be. And for me, the New Black UK and for us as a team as well, because the team behind us and they’re doing an incredible pushing us forward we’re creating a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to inspire, motivate young people from less privileged and more marginalized communities between 16 to 25, particularly who are aspiring professionals and creators to see it, I guess, diversity in a person professional development and we need to provide that in multiple ways.

So the first way is to make events, conferences, and workshops in order to mobilize inspire young people in our target audience to really achieve their goals. Second way to create media content that allows young people in our target audience really engaged, who were trying to achieve, but also see the authentic behind us, because we’re not just a corporation who just treats stuff just for the sake of it. We put as much value as we can into making the people behind the camera seem like they are the people, you know, that they are learning from, and they are inspired by in their respective industries.

And finally, in terms of the core part of the business, we’re trying to create programs and initiatives in partnership with corporations, choosing organizations in order to help support and mobilize young people in our target audience who would like that development. And aside from that aiming to consult organization institutions and corporations in order to improve the DNR strategies when as participation as well as the coopetition possibilities game, to enable them to understand what our target audience wants to achieve going into these environments and allow them to flourish in that environment, as well as collaborating with like-minded organizations to achieve similar goals, respectively. So, that’s kind of the overview of us.

And at the moment we’re just doing a lot of workshops. So, there’s a workshop literally tomorrow I’ll be going to Nottingham at a time won’t be tomorrow when this comes out, but it’s tomorrow and we’ve got more workshops to come over the next, over this year. So, it’s quiet, you know, it’s quite amazing to see when you work with a team of incredible people, you know, you’ve somewhat come from the society. And some of them, you know, I’ve known for years, like they’ve just helped to build this and how to, you know, really create something that I think could hopefully go global.

[0:16:49:05] Rob Hanna: So, okay. Well, what’s the best part of working with the team at the New Black UK?

[0:16:52:02] Akil Hunte: So, many parts I’d say there’s three things. The first thing is that everyone is so different from me yet they’re so exceptional at what they do, for example, on the team you’ve got Giosuè he’s the technical director. We’ve got Mike, he is the branding and graphics officer. We’ve got Charlene, she’s a marketing director and we’ve got Dee, who helps out when she can on behind the scenes. For me, it just like everyone around me there is just so different for me that whenever I oppose like this, it just gets elevated to another level. And I feel like not everyone can see that when they’re looking at us from the outside, they might just see me talking, but they don’t know that, you know, behind the scenes, you know, there’s marketing going on behind the scenes, there’s what is branding and design consultations. And, you know, there’s technical side. That’s ensuring that, you know that in the future, we have to scale what we’re doing on another level. So, that’s the first thing, the skill set.

Second thing is the personalities because I’ve known these guys for so long and every time, I’m talking with them and I’m working with them, doing it with them, it’s just a great vibe. And, you know, whenever we come together and we talk about things, just a crazy energy and I love it. So, I feel like their personalities just really compliment mine and they really help us to jell better as a team and I find that so important in terms of the team dynamics. And finally, I just say, now, you know, that they’re also like, down to push the vision alongside me, because one of them was president of the society. One was vice president of the society in Uni and the other one was supporting the society before it was even a society. So, they all know what I want to achieve with this and they all want to add something to that, but they’re not just working for me, they’re working with me because they’re working with me to push this vision up to another level. So, it’s just like, we are all, like in our own separate categories, sharing our own separate expertise and build us off in incredible. So, I think those are the best things.

[0:18:41:07] Rob Hanna: Great stuff. And do you know what inspired and why I was so fascinated in your journey and why I was so keen for it to give you this platform and opportunity, because I think your sheer passion and for what you’re trying to do and what the meaning behind this is, like you say, it’s so real and, you know, we’re really trying to tap into helping and supporting people in everything you’re doing. So, it really is commendable so well done, I’ve never met someone who’s so thirsty and hungry and manages so many things and keep doing all of that most definitely. But in terms of getting it, so how can people join or be part of the New Black UK? You know, you’ve talked about a lot of the benefits, so, you know, if there’s any more you want to list, but yeah. Talk to people, maybe listening to how they can get involved.

[0:19:19:09] Akil Hunte: For sure, thank you for that. So, for us we’re active on social media, so you can find us on the New Black UK or YouTube on LinkedIn. And on Facebook, you can find us at the New Black UK as one word on Instagram and on Twitter. At the moment LinkedIn and Instagram are our biggest following, so we’re getting quite a lot of attraction on there in terms of added benefits and joy and loss. So, at the moment we’re still in our building and phase, so we’re still trying to build up our structure, you know, our governance, our procedures, all of that. So, for us that we’re really looking to take it to a next level. So essentially, if anyone just wants to support us, you know, they can just drop us a message and say, you know, how they can add value to what we’re trying to achieve, because ultimately, for us, it’s just like when we’re working together to achieve division as a team, we recognize you can’t do it by yourself. So, I guess people just want to spread the word of us and, you know, let university know about us, let corporation know about we’re trying to achieve, I think. That would just be the most support fame because, you know, we know what our values are, we know what we stand for and we know what our principles are, I guess now we just need to be able to build that platform to create that global exposure, which I think will happen.

[0:20:23:05] Rob Hanna: Yeah. Nothing is straightforward in this world and you know, if you’re going to make something for success, you can have a lot of challenges, you can have a lot of failures along the way, and you’re gonna learn a lot. But what do you think are some of the main challenges you’re gonna face with the New Black and you know, what are your kind of thing? What’s it gonna look like?

[0:20:37:09] Akil Hunte: For sure. That’s an interesting question, because ever since I’ve thought of this concept, there has been challenges along the way, some of the challenges has mainly related to my confidence in what I can achieve. So, I’d say the first thing is challenges to self-confidence because when you’re trying to build anything that is trying to make a global impact, you have to understand that, you know, by trying to build this impact, you are going to have to be impactful in yourself. So, it all comes from yourself and I think that’s the biggest challenge I think our faces ensuring every day and, you know, and every year, or, you know, every month I’m able to consistently feel that I can create an impact with this because it’s not easy when you’re starting us off. And then people kind of know what it’s about, but you know, you haven’t told it in a way that, you know, can feed into a sort of narrative that people can understand.

So, people are trying to find out what it is, but they can’t but what I’m trying to say is it’s challenging when you’re trying to build something that is unique and different because people understand that uniqueness and how it benefits them. And sometimes I feel that we don’t add much value as we can, and I’m really trying to provide that value over the next, you know, a few years so I think that’s the first thing.

The second thing is sometimes when you’re trying to, you know, create an issue like this in industries, which can be quite privileged, which can be, you know, quiet, you know, single-minded in a way it’s difficult to be able to change perspectives in the industry, which is why we actually made a whole video series called Changing Perspectives, because we felt like if we don’t change perspectives then no one’s really going to understand what we’re trying to achieve because the whole point of the New Black is to inspire you to overcome the ways that you think about things.

And the people are looking at us and they are not overcoming the way they think about us, then they’re not able to be able to work with us. So I think, you know, just try to navigate and, you know, inspire young people, go into industries where their underrepresented, they may have a lot of privilege others, but also, you know, they may come from communities where they are stigmatized on a lot of platforms. And I think being able to provide them with an infrastructure to support that is by no means an easy feat. So, I think that in itself will be challenging to do.

And finally, I think the main challenge that we could face is just being consistent because, you know, my team are very busy and we go out, they will have a lot of things due in at the moment. And, you know, we’re all work with one vision and, you know, we’re all trying to build something that, you know, will outlast us. So for us to achieve that, we have to be consistent and I think, you know, it’s not easy to be consistent when you’ve got so many pressures, as you know, young people, some from the black community, you know, some from the workloads white communities, some from the middle class black community, some from the Asian community, you know, people who believe in the black, in what we’re trying to achieve, you know, it’s challenging to be able to bring us all on one front. So, I feel like, you know, that will be a challenge, but definitely be something that we can overcome.

[0:23:12:07] Rob Hanna: Yeah. Good for you. And in terms of later this year then, or some things maybe in the short term with regards to events, what have you got planned or what’s bubbling away that you can kind of give some snippets on?

[0:23:22:04] Akil Hunte: For sure. For sure. So, we actually do have some things coming up in the future I think by the time this is released, it will be out. So, we have a new video series that’s due to come out of your social media video series. I can’t disclose the content yet, but once it is out there in the public domain, then everyone shouldn’t hopefully know about it. But they’re series able to, you know, motivate, inspire young people as our ethos is to really overcome the challenges they face on a day to day. And we’re aiming to, you know, release that pretty soon. So hopefully by the time this comes out, it’ll be available and, you know, people will know about it.

Also, in terms of events, so which look with currently doing workshops with a lot of universities and societies in a moment. So, we do have some more planned in the near future or was there confirmed, hopefully we can talk a lot more about that. However, we have that in the pipeline. So for us, it’s really that to move forward in our core strategy of engaging our target audience and benefit in them as much as we can, hopefully in the future, I’ll be able to collaborate with corporations, organizations, institutions, and monitor, you know, build this platform on a wider level to enable us to be able to make impact that we want to make, you know, hopefully on a large scale, so for us, that’s the main thing that we’ve got in the pipeline, hopefully much more soon.

[0:24:39.6] Rob Hanna: Good stuff, good stuff. And then talking more about law firms then you know, what can they do to increase the pull towards people, maybe going to the legal sector you know, candidates will probably come from more of an underrepresented or marginalized communities, you know, what can be done?

[0:24:58] Akil Hunte: That’s interesting. There’s a lot to that question because it boils down to a few factors, are people willing to do what’s done? Do people who can benefit, would they appreciate that benefit once it is done? Finally, you know, once it’s done, it preaches that benefit where they made the impact people see. So, I think even answering those question itself is a very challenging thing and not something that I can answer, but I think in terms of what can be done, I feel like first is the first is make a warm and welcoming environment for everyone, no matter where they’re from, because I feel like sometimes you go into an environment and, you know, you might say, Oh, one of my favourite musicians is a musician called Jay Hoss and for me, and I am like Jay Hoss. And they are like Jay who?

And if I’m trying to display in that, so might look at me and be very uncomfortable with the fact that, you know, I like a black British artist who talks about things that are very specific to his community. So, for me, it’s like, firstly first, I’ve made people comfortable with who they are and what they like, and don’t feel like they have to be outcasted as a result of that. Second thing is to be able to understand that in this industry we go into, when people are socializing, I think this is a key part of it. Like just make sure people can feel comfortable. So, a lot of people can feel that, you know, they can, you know, don’t have to drink if they don’t want to, you know, can be able to engage in other activities that are just more inclusive. So, you don’t have to create a culture where people don’t feel like they can just be themselves.

Because when you say someone brings up, bring your whole self to work and your whole self is Muslim then if you can’t drink, you know, and you’re saying, part of it brings up the work is to drink. Then obviously you can’t drink. If that’s the case and me not being a Muslim myself, I can empathize with the fact that if someone has that, you know, that requirement. If they have that belief, then you have to respect that and make an environment that hopefully caters more towards the whole environment as opposed to just a few individuals. So, I think that needs to be done and I think those are the main things. To be honest, I feel like there’s a lot that has to be done.

[0:26:53:2] Rob Hanna: Yeah. And there’s some good insights there, thanks for sharing that. And you know, some of the other things moving into more of the sort of current world then, and, and a lot of people that we’ve had on the legal speaking podcast has been through LinkedIn. And I know that’s a big platform that you mentioned a lot that you’re using. So, I want you to tell people more about your personalized coaching program called LinkedIn skills for lawyers, do you wanna sort of tell us more about that?

[0:27:14:7] Akil Hunte: For sure. For sure. So, that program essentially was birthed off the fact that I’d been using LinkedIn for three to four years consistently, posted motivational Mondays, I was posting…

[0:27:25:1] Rob Hanna: Which was amazing, by the way, I love your words. Some of those are amazing.

[0:27:28:00] Akil Hunte: Thank you so much. And they’ve all come from the heart, it’s not anything that I’ve like just made just for the sake of making it. I feel like a lot of the time I make it just free off the and struggles and challenges I used to face or I’m currently facing, but I feel like I’ve been doing it for years now. And as I’m seeing more people on a platform reach out to me, or I’m seeing more people on the platform trying to get into the legal industry, I recognize that not a lot of people feel that, you know, they can use LinkedIn for their benefit or they’re using LinkedIn for their benefit, but they’re not really using it in the optimum way and I’m trying to create a platform to help that.

So, LinkedIn skills for lawyers is a program that’s designed to help aspiring and current lawyers improve, you know, their presence on the LinkedIn platform by providing them the skills and tools to be able to achieve that. So, in order to do that, I create a personalized structure that helps them have a few weeks whereby we give them a structure support. I say, we, it means me talking to them and giving them, you know, the kind of the strategy to be able to overcome what they’re trying to achieve, to be able to be successful and hopefully get into the industry or be well more well known in the industry for the person that they are. So, that’s the main crux of the program and that’s what we’re doing with it.

[0:28:40:1] Rob Hanna: And you know, this thing, we’ve talked about a lot over the themes of the season one and season two is around personal branding and social media. So, you know, how important do you think that is for your current and future lawyers in the 21st century?

[0:28:53:1] Akil Hunte: For sure, for sure. So, a personal brand is probably one of the most important things that you can have, especially if you’re not from a community where you’re very well-represented and I would say I fall within that category. So, I would say that the first thing that’s important about building a personal brand is that if no one knows who you are, then no one’s going to be able to want to bring you into the firm because you need to be able to at least stand for something other than the fact you’re just a student, I feel like that’s the main thing.

The second thing is that building a personal brand allows you to actually have a conversation started before you even enter a room. So, I feel one thing I thought I’ve done well in the past few years is I’ve built up a reputation for things that I truly believe and care about. So, if someone talks to me, they taught some of the things I truly believe in, care about and it made the conversation a lot easier. So, I think that’s the second thing, it just allows you to be more authentic and allows you to put relationships in a way that works for you. And especially when you go to an industry, you know, whereby it’s not easy to get a training contract, I think out of thousands that apply only hundreds, get it. So, it’s a very small margin so you have to be, will stand out in some way.

Using AI as a part of that personal brand will be very critical for a lot of the experimenters of today. And I say that because there’s a lot of current topics that’s happening right now in the legal industry, you know, such as, you know, training contracts being created in order to, you know, feed off the technological revolution that’s occurring. And I feel like if people were able to showcase that they understand, you know, how cryptocurrencies work, you know, they showcase the understand, you know, how machine learning works. They show how artificial intelligence works in a document review process, or in terms of how to, you know, even potentially make the old legal tech start-ups as a sort of prototype project who knows, right. But if they can incorporate that within what they’re trying to, you know, achieve in university and beyond, they will be able to go into an interview and maybe talk to someone who’s quite senior, but is really in charge of that and be able to build an authentic relationship. So, I think that’s very important in terms of building a personal brand and stuff in that aspiring lawyers can use AI to be able to use that.

[0:30:54:0] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said, well said. And in terms of some of the other things that you’ve done, or as part of your background, which are really interesting you also a volunteer for the big warm-up, you wanna tell us about that?

[0:31:05.8] Akil Hunte: Those guys are great. Well, actually go in there today, funnily enough, I’m going there tonight but these guys are incredible. So, what they do is they serve on food and hot drinks onto the homeless every Thursday from eight o’clock and they do it in a specified place that’s around the Westminster area. And the reason they do it is because they recognize that when you’re serving food like free shelters and whatnot, sometimes I want to be with one of come into a shelter. They just want to stay where they are, I just want to stay so they go over to where the people are and they provide them with the food and the hot drinks be able to help them sustain themselves in the evening that they’re finding it hard.

So, I volunteer as much as I can with them as a part of that vision, because, you know, they just want to really make an impact and they just want to do things for the community. Whereby you know, it’s quite disparate in terms of, you know, the welfare in terms of the poverty, and I can connect with that and I can support that because ultimately, they’re trying to support homeless in a part of London where there should not be homelessness when you look at the fact that that’s the home of the government. So, I think, you know, their mission is very powerful and one that I can really identify with.

[0:32:18:5] Rob Hanna: And from that too, you know, taking you back to 2019, when you’re the team lead for the Greenfield Kids Camp, do you want to tell us about that experience?

[0:32:25:2] Akil Hunte: That was a good experience for me, one that I felt like I was so happy to do, because that was just when I came back from Tanzania from the two and a half months volunteering, and for me grateful whole a special place in my heart. I live very close to there and I actually saw the incident at the time of happened. So for me, it was very hard to be able to grapple with those emotions of knowing that I was affected by this tragedy, but at the same time, knowing that I’ve got support the community, that I’ve also been affected, that a lot younger and more susceptible to challenges as they grow up.

So, just to give you context, that camp was over a few days and a Christmas time run by a brilliant woman called Betsy Burner [Inaudible] [0:33:08] and they wished an incredible job alongside their day-to-day life, getting this program together, getting the kids you know, the lunches for the whole few days, took them on trips to be able to support them. And I feel that that whole experience was so powerful for me because I met so many likeminded people actually saw one of them just the other day, walk into a meeting. And like, you know, we just talked as if things had never changed. So, for me, it was like a really powerful experience because it was just even one step for me thinking about how can I support my community, who was very, very, very much affected by that situation.

[0:33:45:00] Rob Hanna: Just before we sort of wrap up there is quite a lot of public speaking you do in public speaking initiative, so tell us a bit more about that.

[0:33:51:5] Akil Hunte: So, I do public speaking quite regularly. And as I said, when I was younger, I was quite a talker so for me it wasn’t anything that I felt like was very out of my depth. So, in terms of public speaking, some that I have done in the past, for example, I was just recently at an incredible founders launch of a social enterprise called Renee Kabuki and she launched her social enterprise called the Flyover Network. I was speaking on that just last month you know, they did an incredible job and I really enjoyed it, you know, that not public speaking to do right now through the New Black UK, because that’s a priority for me this year. And I really want to help push that forward and really use that as a platform to make the impact that I really want to make. But in terms of other public speaking engagements, I can’t remember right now.

[0:34:37:2] Rob Hanna: You on social media and keep up to date with it. It’s just, this guy just keeps himself busy. So yeah, and on that, then what do you do for downtime? You know, what does the Akil do when it’s kind of that even Saturdays, you don’t sit still, but what do you for downtime?

[0:34:51.8] Akil Hunte: Yeah. Downtime for me is like, there is getting evening’s off, and I just watch a movie. So, for me, downtime is never like a day, it’s like increments of my time. So, if I find a free evening through, I’ve done my work, I just switch off. I listen to a lot of music so, I love music specifically that UK rap, R and B, you know, from all parts of the world, I love a bit of jazz, a little bit of soul. So, me – like I’m of quite diversified in how I like to listen to music, I like to just chill out and just mellow with that. But yeah, I don’t, I don’t get a lot of those days much anymore, unless I’m seeing family or seeing my close friends. I don’t really get a lot of downtime, but I try to build in rest throughout the day now, because I recognize that if you don’t do a rest-in, it can really be your biggest detriment. So, for me, I’m just trying not to be worked out and hopefully, you know, just not burn out.

[0:35:52.0] Rob Hanna: That’s a good tip. So, listen, thanks an absolute million. You know, I think everything that you’re doing personally, I think everything you and your team are doing the New Black UK. I do want to continue to wish you all the very best of luck with that also with all of your legal studies, your future initiatives, and, you know, I’m sure everything is just going to continue to go from strength to strength. So, it’s a real pleasure sharing the mic with you today. No doubt we’ll be hearing and seeing you in the future as well, but from my side has been truly inspiration and very gripping. I’m sure our listeners have loved every minute of it over and out.

[0:36:26.0] Akil Hunte: Thank you.

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