21 Jul 2021

Diversity champion celebrates election as 'first black senior partner' at a top 100 UK firm

Trevor Sterling hopes landmark inspires greater diversity and social mobility within the profession

Portrait of Trevor Stirling

Trevor Stirling Courtesy of Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow has elected Trevor Sterling to be what it believes is the first black senior partner at a UK Top 100 firm. 

He will join the South England-based firm’s executive leadership team already comprising a female chair, Helen Goatley, and the youngest managing partner at appointment of a UK Top 100 law firm, Ed Whittington. 

Whittington said Sterling’s appointment was a “testament to our people-first approach” that sits at the heart of the firm’s culture.

He added: “Together, the executive leadership team embodies our commitment to diversity and inclusion right across the firm. We have huge ambitions for our business and having such passionate, talented and driven people in key positions is essential to realising our goals, whilst continuing to deliver the highest quality and level of service to our clients.”

Sterling has nearly four decades of experience as a personal injury specialist, and focuses his practice on a range of serious injury claims, including brain, spinal and serious trauma injuries. 

He joined Moore Barlow’s legacy firm, Moore Blatch, in 2015 as a partner and head of its major trauma team from Slater & Gordon, where he worked as a partner in the firm’s personal injury practice. Before that, he spent 25 years at trade union firm Rowley Ashworth, now known as Thomspon Solicitors. 

Commenting on his appointment, Sterling said he was honoured to be elected to the role. “I really hope this inspires greater diversity and social mobility within our profession,” he wrote on Twitter. 

As Moore Barlow’s first senior partner since its merger, Sterling will oversee the firm’s operations across its six regional offices in Southampton, Guildford, Woking and Lymington, as well as its two London locations in Richmond and the City. 

The private client, property and personal injury-focused firm currently boasts 71 partners and 196 lawyers and legal professionals. It began trading as Moore Barlow after the tie up between Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins went live last May. 

In addition to his legal work, Sterling helped to establish a charity that works to promote equality in public and private service, the Mary Seacole Trust, and has held the position of chair since 2016. His contribution to diversity and business impact has been widely recognised by the legal industry, which led him to be named ‘Lawyer of the Year’ by the UK Diversity Legal Awards in 2019. 

Recent months have witnessed the achievement of a series of diversity landmarks, including the election in April of Sidley Austin's Yvette Ostolaza to chair its management committee next April in a move that will make her the first Latina lawyer to be appointed to lead a top ten US law firm.

In the same month, Georgia Dawson became senior partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, making her the first woman to lead a UK Magic Circle law firm.