Rising Stars in Law 2016

 Introducing our Rising Stars winners in the Law category for 2016 (The Lynne Freeman Award)

Claudine Adeyemi

Mischon de Reya

Claudine is a 25 year old lawyer in the tier 1 Property Litigation team at Mishcon de Reya LLP. Claudine advises on disputes relating to commercial and high value residential properties.

Claudine is passionate about diversity, particularly ethnicity and social mobility issues affecting young people. Claudine therefore sits on the firm’s Diversity Committee and in her spare time, founded and runs The Student Development Co. CIC, a non-profit organisation which provides career related support to 16 to 24 year olds from less privileged backgrounds. Claudine has worked with Mishcon de Reya, PwC, Sky and CEB and supported 150 young people.

Claudine is excelling in her field, featuring in Property Week’s Fearless 40 under 40 in 2015 and Highly Commended Junior Lawyer of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards. Claudine was also chosen by Women For Refugee Women to be a representative for their Set Her Free campaign.

Kim Opszala


I am an associate in the Corporate team at Dentons, based in Milton Keynes.  Our team was recently voted “Corporate Team of the Year “ at the Insider Dealmaker Awards, Central & East.

When I can, I like to help out worthy causes and recently coordinated a local collection of items to be taken to the Calais Jungle before winter. I regularly volunteer for Worktree, an education charity based in Milton Keynes, which aims to help and prepare school students (aged 11-16) for the world of work by introducing them to employers.

In my spare time I enjoy travelling and have backpacked around the world visiting Australia, Fiji, India, Hong Kong, South East Asia, Europe and Eastern Canada.  I also enjoy cooking and baking and I like to keep fit by regularly attending the gym.

Danielle Ayres

Gorvins Solicitors

Danielle Ayres is a solicitor at Gorvins Solicitors who specialises in pregnancy, maternity and sex discrimination. Danielle provides her expert legal advice to both employers and employees in this area. Danielle is a mum herself to two young boys and during her maternity leave was made aware through speaking to other new mums just how widely prevalent pregnancy and maternity discrimination was. With this in mind, Danielle set up her own niche area to which she would focus her attention upon her own return from maternity leave. This led her to set up specialist advice clinics called ‘Keeping Mum’ for expectant and new mothers, offering legal advice and support to those encountering problems at work. These clinics have resulted in Danielle being involved in a large number of Tribunal cases in this area, acting on behalf of both Claimant and Respondent clients. Further to this, she has also been able to successfully negotiate settlement agreements, securing some large financial settlements as well as apologies on her clients’ behalf. Danielle’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed: she is now regularly called upon by various news and radio shows, including the BBC and national newspapers, and is an active contributor to issues in this complex area of law. She has also been recognised by being shortlisted for various awards, such as Manchester Young Talent Awards 2015 and BizMums Awards 2015.

Leah Glover


As the daughter of a single mother, Leah is passionate about helping women overcome adversity. Leah has volunteered her free time as Vice-Chair of the Law Society’s Women Lawyers’ Division (WLD) for three years, the organisation that  represents more than 80,000 women lawyers registered on the Solicitors Roll of England and Wales. Despite being the youngest person ever to be a member of the committee, Leah has been instrumental to hosting a plethora of career development events, networking events and writing thought leadership articles circulated to the members of the WLD. She conquered her fear of public speaking, delivering a speech to nearly 200 attendees on International Women’s Day 2015 on behalf of the WLD, emphasising the importance of the day as a reminder of the issues faced by women and what can be done to bridge the gender gap and the power of mentoring junior lawyers.  Leah also plays and active role in the WLD “Returner Course” which is a weekend course for women lawyers who have had time out of work (usually to look after children) and want to get back into the profession. Leah also assists with female students that are trying to get into the profession, hosting events for university societies and answering tough questions like “Is law still an inherently sexist profession?”.  Leah believes sexism, whether conscious or not, exists from the very start of a woman’s career, regardless of whether or not she has children, and as a result, sexism must be combatted at every level. When she is not volunteering for WLD, Leah is a banking lawyer at DWF LLP. She sits on her firm’s diversity panel and is a passionate advocate of the “lift as you climb” philosophy, with several female mentees including both junior lawyers and paralegals at DWF.

Rhiannon Paine

Clifford Chance LLP

I am a third seat trainee solicitor with Clifford Chance LLP currently sitting in our Real Estate Finance practice. I am also the youngest ever, first female and first trainee to act as co-chair of our LGBT network, Arcus (latin for rainbow).

I joined Clifford Chance and Arcus in February 2015. In the last year, I led on the development of female engagement with our LGBT network and was appointed to both our internal Steering Committee and the Steering Committee of the (external) Gay Women’s Network, representing Clifford Chance. I returned from international secondment to the Debt Capital Markets team of our Paris office in March, and in April replaced our outgoing co-chair.

I speak to media on CC’s diversity efforts and LGBT life at the firm, and pull in our internal and recruitment contacts and GWN members for workshops and networking events I coordinate. I also speak at LGBT conferences and at recruitment events to ensure CC attract the best talent.

Female engagement, or lack thereof, with LGBT networks is an issue many corporates face. I have worked to identify some of the reasons behind lack of female turnout and develop innovative LGBT and Allies events in partnership with client and women’s networks that, by being open to all and so ‘label-free’, encourage attendance and participation and foster a culture of inclusivity.

As co-chair my remit is now wider.  I am now driving a series of learning events on ‘multiple identities’ that touch issues including mental health and wellbeing, gender identity and faith and the interaction of each of these with our sexuality and how this effects our happiness and productivity at the office. As a network we constantly seek to develop and I feel privileged to contribute to positive cultural growth, diversity and inclusion within Clifford Chance.