Remember the cherry-blossom scented baby powder our parents used to smear our faces with every morning? It is getting a revamp 🍼💨
by Shaznee Seraj
Johnson and Johnson (J&J) are set to discontinue talc-based baby powder worldwide. The company will end global sales of baby powder containing mineral talc in 2023 but that is not to say that the iconic baby powder will be wiped out from planet Earth. The company is simply switching to a cornstarch-based powder. To be frank with you, I cannot believe it took them that long to switch to cleaner ingredients, considering the powder is marketed for babies and toddlers.
“Mhm, why the sudden switch? Were people complaining?”
Yes, pretty much that. The company who claims that it maintained a tradition of quality and innovation is facing over 40,000 lawsuits in the United States. It has been alleged that the rather-iconic powder is contaminated with asbestos which caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. J&J has swatted the claims switching it into a commercial decision to simplify the company’s product offering strategy while delivering innovation and meeting their consumers’ needs. Of course, they said that.
The New-Jersey based company went on to say that their position on the safety of their cosmetic talc remains unchanged and affirmed that the talc-based baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and most importantly, does not cause cancer. However, this wouldn’t be our first-time hearing rumours that talc-based products cause cancer.
Juicy, juicy bits 🧃
This news has been announced four months after J&J stockholders rejected a proposal that would have ended the global production and distribution of the product. Long story short, the lawsuits against baby powder litigation have cost the company billions of dollars. If you are interested to learn more about this, you can check out the article here. Even more so, last summer, a group of Black women filed a lawsuit against J&J. They claimed that the company marketed its baby powder to Black women for decades while knowing the harm the ingredients can cause.
“Internal documents demonstrate that J&J targeted those advertisements to Black women, knowing that Black women were more likely to use the powder products and to use them regularly,” the complaint states. “These talc powder products were not safe, however.”
J&J have managed to attract a suite of lawsuits over the past decades, and it is certainly not a good look for the company. One thing is certain, the news of switching the powder from talc-based to corn starch is not just another news. Lawyers and claimants believe that this very news could strengthen their case against the company. However, this wouldn’t come easy as J&J recently won permission from a New Jersey bankruptcy judge sometime in February. This allowed the company to ringfence its liability in a single subsidiary which declared bankruptcy. Again, this case is a reminder for companies to always put their customers first. Any company must gain the trust of their customers to ensure that the product and services they offer are safe for consumption. Most importantly, it helps to avoid bad corporate governance image and lawsuits as it makes governing the company and its direction unsustainable.
Navigating Through the Field of Law as a Student- A Post-results Discourse
by Amira Awan
For the many of our readers still in education this time of year is an extremely unprecedented time. It is often difficult to not be overwhelmed with a plethora of different emotions ranging from nerves to excitement, as you either progress through the education system and start to attend new colleges/universities or additionally you have recently graduated and are faced with the rapidly evolving, often challenging to navigate field of Legal work.
In this article I intend to discuss the ways in which you can best prepare yourself for the next step in your legal journey so that you are able to impress future potential employment and education bodies whilst simultaneously cultivating your understanding of the Law.
Before I begin I wanted to additionally offer my Congratulations to all who have recently received their results and offer a reminder that as cliché as it may sound even if you are unhappy with your results please try not be disheartened and remember that with hard work anything is possible. As the immensely successful Abraham Lincoln once said ‘’If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already’’.
Moreover there is many things that you can do in order to improve your CV as a potential lawyer. About Law by Tony Honoré , Learning the Law by Glanville Williams and Letters to a Law Student by Nicholas McBride are some good books for people who are only just beginning there journey in further education as not only do they help you to understand the fundamental background of the Law and studying it as a subject but they are great super curricular references to include/discuss on your personal statement. Additionally, I also recommend regularly reading articles from established newspapers regarding essentially everything to do with the Law including anything from the consequences of leaving the EU on the stock market to whether there should be a British Bill of Rights. It should be mentioned that Commercial Awareness is something of great importance as a law student and is emphasised hugely by many firms with magic circle law firm Linklaters saying ‘’It is our business to do business’’.
Another great recommendation for students who are looking to study Law at university would most definitely have to be emailing local law firms to see if they can provide any form of work experience/if they can give you any advice on how to be successful throughout your legal journey. Additionally if this is not a possibility there is a vast amount of opportunities on the internet which allow you to take part in ‘’Online Work Experience’’ that would help to strengthen personal statements for university as well as applications for training contracts and vacation schemes.
Lastly once you have eventually secured a place at University to study Law—as many of you know Law is an extremely competitive subject to progress as a barrister or a solicitor. For example if you want to be a solicitor in order to secure a training contract it is hugely advisable that you attend as many vacation schemes and open days as you can. Even in the first year of your degree many law firms accommodate for first year law students, so make sure to do as much research as you can into different firms and what they offer. So that you are able to apply to partake in events in the firms of your choice and gain as many connections as you can.
Similarly if you are applying to be a barrister make sure to attend careers fairs/ get into contact with local chambers so you can see what work experience is available to you and make decisions accordingly. Experience is everything.
The SQE Update
By Divya T
Last week the results of Solicitors Qualifying Examination, SQE2 assessment released, deciding the fate of 726 candidates in 24 countries, who appeared for the assessment and defining the course of action for future lawyers. The 77% passing rate of SQE2 is “well above” 53% of SQE1 which is not surprising according to the review published by SRA on April’s siting of SQE 2 given the legal knowledge demonstrated by candidates in SQE1. The SQE is split into two: SQE1 tests functioning legal knowledge, consisting of just over 10 hours of assessment taken over two days. SQE2 is made up of 16 stations – 12 written and four oral – that test legal skills and application of legal knowledge.
Although, Geoff Coombe, the SQE’s independent reviewer, said: ‘Overall, I felt the SQE2 exams were appropriate for a high-stakes, competency-based exam used for professional qualification. I was reassured and satisfied that the tasks set were valid and that the pass/fail grades awarded were fitting of the standards and competency expected of a newly qualified solicitor. I observed good levels of planning and preparation and a great deal of care and attention in setting valid and reliable assessment tasks.’ A thorough analysis of the SQE2 results show people with a first class degree had a higher pass rate (92%) than people with a 2:2 (57%). Women (79% pass rate) did better than men (75% pass rate). While candidates who declared a disability had an overall better pass rate (92%). Also, those with a qualifying work experience (QWE) recorded a higher pass rate (80%).
The rationale behind the SQE to increase the profession’s diversity and accessibility has found support among lawyers while SQE1 analysis and the latest exam results once again show worrying attainment gaps for a new route to qualification that is supposed to improve accessibility. Eighty-five per cent of white candidates passed compared to 72 per cent of Asian/Asian British candidates and 53 per cent of Black/Black British candidates, and 92 per cent of candidates in mixed/multi-ethnic groups passed.
The review also said: “Additional (multivariate) analyses, which looked at multiple demographic categories including education and training alongside protected characteristics and socio-economic background, did not provide any evidence of ethnic bias in the assessment and, as with SQE1, with candidates with better prior educational attainment doing better on SQE2.”
Anna Bradley, SRA board chair, assured: ‘We have again seen the troubling and long-standing pattern of differential performance for certain groups, particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates. We have commissioned the University of Exeter to undertake in-depth research into the factors driving the attainment gap for these groups in professional assessments so that we can consider next steps. The data from multiple SQE assessments will also help to provide better insight.’
Acknowledging the disparity in achievement across different ethnic groups Geoff Coombe said it was ‘troubling’. However, he found no evidence of bias in the administration or conduct of the exam, including in candidate feedback.
The SQE appears to be first step towards a fair qualification system. The realisation of a promising future as guaranteed by SQE can be brought into fruition or not remains to be seen in coming times.