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Hackney barrister voted one of world’s coolest men

TOO COOL FOR LAW SCHOOL: Tunde Okewale

MAKING MEN’S style magazine GQ’s top 35 men under 35 ‘cool list’ is normally a privilege reserved for princes and pop stars.

But barrister Tunde Okewale, who grew up on a council estate in Hackney and put himself through law school working at Sainsbury’s, has been voted number 33 on the elite list – putting him in the company of Prince William, Tom Hardy and Drake.

The men’s magazine described the Nigerian-born lawyer as a “legal legend” and a “celebrity” in his profession.
It praised him for setting up Urban Lawyers, “making the law accessible to young people”, and crucially for being named “one of the best looking men in the legal world” by industry blog yourbarristerboyfriend.tumblr.com.

The article also pointed out that he did not have the benefit of the easy progression from Oxbridge to chambers that so many of his peers enjoyed.

“I am a big fan of GQ and it is a great accomplishment to be recognised with people who are known globally and are household names,” Okewale told The Voice.

But being recognised as one of the coolest men in the world was just the beginning for the human rights advocate. This month, Okewale was also crowned Diversity Champion at the UK Diversity Legal Awards in recognition of the work he has done in getting people from non-traditional backgrounds into the profession.

The accolades, he said, are opening doors.

RECOGNITION

“These awards and recognition are really raising my profile. As I become more established, a lot of firms want to work with me. This is making it easier for me to carry on the work I am doing in breaking down barriers in the legal profession.”

Recently, Okewale was invited to join the board of a pioneering leadership programme, aimed at improving diversity in the police.

The 30-year old, who came to the UK when he was just a year old, is keen to be a role model for young, black boys.

He said: “I am a black kid from a working class family that grew up in Hackney, and I am hoping that young people will look at me and say, ‘if he can do it, I can do it’. It doesn’t have to be something in the legal profession, whatever you are passionate about go for it and give it your all.”

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