Mellissa Akinya

Mellissa Akinya is a multi-award-winning Senior Lawyer (Solicitor Advocate – grade 6) employed by the Government Legal Department (GLD).

Mellissa started her career as a Litigator and Advocate (dealing with general private law, public law and immigration) but has been in an advisory and law-making role in the Department for Transport Legal Advisers (DfTLA) for the last 3 years (dealing with a) roads: subsidy control, grants, FOI, public law, litigation, contracts; b) aviation: aviation safety and noise, including drafting legislation; and c) rail: non-legislative rail transformation, procurement, grants, pensions and public law).

Mellissa is also a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion specialist; she is the Diversity Officer and Disability Officer for GLD, a role she undertakes alongside her day job. Mellissa is also the founder of Black Lawyers Circle, an organisation which seeks to increase Black and ethnic representation in all arms of the legal profession (CILEx Lawyers, Barristers, Solicitors and Judges). She is committed to making the legal profession more inclusive.

Mellissa was winner of Next 100 Years “Inspirational Women In Law Awards” in the category of “Mentor of the Year 2023” and finalist for the Law Society’s Legal Hero Awards 2023.


What does “paving the way” for future generations mean to you?

“Paving the way means ‘being the change I want to see’; not only breaking barriers and pushing through doors for myself but holding those doors open for those behind me.
My hope is that the challenges I’ve faced getting into the profession and becoming a leader in my field won’t be felt by those following my path. My hope is that it will be easier for them, hence my commitment to share knowledge and expertise, mentor, connect and support people on their journey, whether through my roles as Senior Lawyer, Diversity Officer, or Disability Officer for Government Legal Department or as Founder of Black Lawyers Circle.
Paving the way has meant being ‘a change-maker’, gently ‘agitating change’ and changing the culture of my organisation and the legal profession from within. It’s meant not waiting for someone else to make a change but being that change.”