A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

APIL is for everyone

Trevor Sterling relaunches APIL's 'Harness Voices' initiative

Trevor Sterling of Moore Barlow relaunches our Harness Voices project to encourage members from under-represented groups to share their stories about their journey into personal injury law. Trevor (pictured right) was elected in July 2021 as the first black senior partner at a top 100 law firm. Harness Voices is part of APIL’s drive to ensure that equality, diversity, and inclusion is at the heart of its activities.

Trevor, who is also a member of APIL’s diversity group, said, “I’m really pleased to see APIL take action to make sure our association is accessible to everyone. Taking the first step on the journey to a diverse and inclusive organisation is the start of something special, and I’m very pleased to help relaunch Harness Voices and be the first to tell the story of my life helping to rebuild the lives of injured people”.

We are delighted members from under-represented groups are proud to tell us their success stories, warts and all, of their journey into PI and we hope to inspire other members from diverse backgrounds to join in.

“This is your opportunity to share your story and inspire others. Tell us what attracted you into PI, what gets you out of the bed in the mornings, what barriers you faced on your journey and how you overcame them. We want to improve our association, so tell us what APIL could do better to ensure inclusion,” said Trevor.

If you would like to share your story with the APIL membership please send around 300 words and a photo, or a two-minute video - to APIL’s HR & Business Support Manager, Tanya Benjamin-Edwards. Please keep it positive and inspiring to help us create a safe place for people to get involved.

Read Trevor's story

View details of our EDI (equality, diversity, and inclusion) policy and plan

Pride Month

APIL is proud to support #PrideMonth

Jonathan Wheeler
Managing Partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp

Jonathan Wheeler of Bolt Burdon Kemp shared his story for our Harness Voices project as part of APIL’s celebration of #PrideMonth.

My passion originally wasn’t for personal injury necessarily but for legal aid. I wanted to help people who couldn’t afford lawyers, so I joined the biggest legal aid firm in the country as an articled clerk in Liverpool. It just so happened that the vast majority of their work was PI. Before I knew it, I had a filing cabinet full of tripping claims against the local council! That’s where I cut my teeth on litigation and when I fell in love with the court room drama of ‘the trial.’ (I had many. Back in those days we joked that the standard of proof for tripping claims in the city was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ because the judges were so fed up of them). But I also loved the client contact too, which is why being a litigation solicitor was the perfect job for me.

I came out at work after my first year. It was the early 90’s and even though I was working in a big city, things weren’t like they are now. There was AIDS, and section 28 and a lot of homophobia in the media. My colleagues however were very supportive. I moved to another firm after a year of qualifying. To celebrate me getting through the interview I went out that night to one of the local gay clubs with friends, only to find the managing partner who had interviewed me at the same venue! I knew I was in a safe place there.

Moving to London was the next step in my career. Islington was probably one of the gayest places in the capital, and I was immediately welcomed by my new colleagues and my sexuality was never an issue. I loved the place so much I bought (into) the company. I now lead the firm and we specialise only in serious injury cases, and recently moved our offices to the City of London. I have strived to create the best place for our staff to work, where they can be themselves, and so do their best work. A diverse workforce connects better with our clients who all have diverse backgrounds too.

As a founder member of The Law Society’s LGBTQ+ Solicitor’s Network, I now sit on the Law Society’s Council representing our LGBTQ+ members and my firm has recently been awarded Diversity Champion status by Stonewall. It’s so important for us seniors to promote equality and tell our stories. By doing so we can pave the way for the next generation, and help usher in an even more inclusive profession than the one we joined.

Justina Molloy (she/her)
Senior Associate Solicitor

I took a long path to becoming a lawyer, but when I got there I was determined to be out from the start. I was at school in the late 1980s when Section 28 was introduced which banned the promotion or teaching about LGBT+ people and lifestyles in school. This created a difficult and homophobic environment which resulted in my staying at the very back of the closet!

I did my undergraduate degree at Leeds University and then a masters degree at Cambridge University. At this point I thought about a PhD but instead took what was meant to be temporary job in the Institute of Criminology Library in Cambridge. This led to a professional qualification as a librarian and a brief but ultimately unhappy career in IT. During this time, I had met my now wife but we were not open about our sexuality other than to our closest friends.

On holiday in the early 2000s I decided I needed to change career, and so gave up my secure IT job and went to law school. Doing the GDL was challenging having lost the habit of studying! I then did the LPC and got a training contract with, what was then, Kester Cunningham John. My first seat was with an amazing group of injury lawyers, undertaking work at the highest level, and I knew I had found my passion! As a personal injury lawyer, I enjoy a deeply rewarding role where I can make a tangible difference to people’s lives but I am also paid to argue! It was important to me to be open about my sexuality from the start of my career in law, as I wanted to be my authentic self at work so with deep breaths every time, I would ‘out’ myself to new colleagues and contacts. This is a process which never stops and you can never be 100% sure of what reaction you might receive.

I am now a member of the Irwin Mitchell LGBT+ Network Steering Group and sit on the APIL Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I see these as opportunities to champion lesbian visibility as I strongly believe in the power of role-modelling. I hope that by being open, I can inspire someone else to be themselves.

International Women's Day

APIL is proud to support #InternationalWomensDay

International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
Read Kim Harrison's blog entry - Embracing equity on International Women's Day

Diversity & inclusion committee

The diversity and inclusion committee is a sub-committee of the executive committee. Its work is currently focussed on establishing what challenges APIL faces and ensuring it’s objectives face up to weaknesses and shortcomings, addressing them in a practical and achievable programme of activity. The aim of the committee is to improve accessibility across the association.

View the team