Kitan Adeniji recounts her experiences and impressions during her summer internship at LAG, which included researching LAG’s history in anticipation of its 50th birthday next year.
In January 1972, the newly-formed Legal Action Group issued its Circular No 1, five duplicated A4 pages stapled together … Many magazines, books, training courses and events later, LAG is preparing to celebrate its 50th year in 2022. Stay tuned for details of a year of celebrations, looking back to our roots but also forward to new priorities and plans to keep access to justice on the agenda for the next half-century.
When I arrived in the UK, I was filled with curiosity about its legal system, considering the legal system in my home country – the USA – was created to emulate it. This summer, I chose to study abroad and intern in London from sunny Florida. As a part of my academic courses, I was taught a brief history of the legal system in the UK, although I knew most of my learning would be hands-on and in the field upon starting my internship. This excited me as I anticipated my internship match for the second half of my programme.
Once paired with LAG to serve as an intern this summer, I researched the company values and was astounded after reading the mission statement. To be best matched with a company in the UK, we were required to submit a personal statement as well as a CV. In my submissions, when describing my passions and goals for my life, one of my key statements concerning my future read: ‘I wish to be a voice for those who are not heard.’ Written in my internship placement packet and under the ‘about us’ tab on the LAG website, was the following:
Legal Action Group supports and empowers those providing legal services and using the law to achieve justice for those who are disadvantaged, unable to speak for themselves or who struggle to be heard …
My experience as an intern with LAG was full of learning experiences and helped me further discover my personal interests and strengths. If my placement was not destiny, then I am not sure what is.
A bit about me
In the USA, I am a rising third-year student at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I am currently studying business administration, with a particular interest in international business. I hope to obtain a combined degree – a master’s in international business – upon finishing my undergraduate journey. I am also interested in subsequently obtaining a law degree to specialise in public policy and/or international law, hence this pursuit to study abroad.
Despite my strong interest in business, my passions lie in justice and equity. One of my goals is to lead and promote global business ethics within transnational corporations. I also hope to work in policy to mitigate the oppression of underrepresented populations. I have found that my interests are split between social justice and law, and business and organisational leadership. Business ethics is the perfect medium between these two matters.
I believe the link between business and justice is fascinating because, although many do not realise it, businesses control the world. People believe our governments hold the ultimate and supreme power in the world, but I hope to shift the attention of those seeking justice away from assumed authorities such as the state to businesses and global corporations. Compare the impact of small, underdeveloped countries’ governments on the world with that of transnational corporations. Corporations control billions of dollars, heavily impact multiple countries’ GDPs, completely infiltrate the workforce, and produce goods and services that determine our society’s cultures. In many of these corporations’ executive suites, there are no individuals readily available to represent the populations that they so greatly impact. I wish to be that voice and that representation. I wish to infiltrate these executive spaces to speak on behalf of those affected by these businesses, to guide these corporations to make the most honourable and ethical decisions, and positively impact the world.
Past, present and future
Delving into the archives of Legal Action almost felt like time travelling as I sorted through yellowed, dusty pages filled with words that could never fully encompass the vast amount of history in LAG’s past.
It was a privilege to work with LAG this past summer. LAG’s duality as a publishing group and an access to justice charity is inspiring and innovative. An interesting project that I worked on at LAG included delving into the archives of Legal Action, which began as the Circular in 1972. It almost felt like time travelling as I sorted through yellowed, dusty pages filled with words that could never fully encompass the vast amount of history in LAG’s past. I was honoured to look at those archives in preparation for LAG’s 50th anniversary in 2022.
From its beginnings, LAG has been dedicated to promoting equal access to justice and supporting those who provide the services to ensure it. I recall seeing in a 1973 LAG Bulletin that its ‘Law and practice’ sections were used for instruction on legal procedure and even sometimes specific cases. There would often be a question-and-answer section for struggling lawyers (frequently unpaid) requesting help concerning specific cases they were enduring. Its authors and members were willing to provide extensive help and details to ensure that both lawyers and clients were being taken care of, down to nitty-gritty details of specific cases. The magazine has also been ahead of its time in addressing social issues such as gender discrimination and racial bias in its articles from decades ago. These discoveries proved the genuineness of the organisation and made me feel secure in my placement with LAG.
LAG’s ability to make its magazine relevant, useful and helpful for almost 50 years is nothing short of a feat. Throughout the years in which the UK and the world have faced various circumstances of economic instability, civil unrest and technological breakthrough, LAG’s core objective has remained the same. I rest assured knowing that an organisation such as this is prospering, ensuring equal access to justice for all and, most importantly, ensuring that those who need to be heard the most have a voice.