UWE law students say 'Magic Circle' scheme opens up a whole new world

Issue date: 20 April 2017


Students from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are effusive about the way a 'magic circle' law firm has opened up their vision about possibilities they had thought were reserved for a privileged few.

The world leading 'magic circle' law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Derniger runs an annual Stephen Lawrence Scholarship (SLS) designed to address under-representation in large commercial law firms of black men from low-income households. The scheme is aimed at first year law students.

Several UWE Bristol students have gone through the competitive process and they say that the insights have helped to widen their vision about future employment plans.

Jeremiah Daliel is currently studying on the Legal Practice and Masters in Law combined course. He said, “Initially I didn't have a clue about what went on in the professional legal world. The process has helped me to understand how a large successful firm operates.”

“I had vague ideas about employment but my sights were set quite low. The SLS process opened my eyes to the scope of legal roles and helped me to focus where I want to be when I enter the profession next year.

“Although I didn't win an actual scholarship the scheme helped with making good contacts and mentors who I am able to seek out when I need some professional advice.

“The scheme gave me the chance to learn so much from mistakes. I now know that when I finish this year that I want to commit to working for a large law firm that will present a range of opportunities as I progress through my career.”

Samuel Babia has been put forward for the scheme this year. He said, “It is humbling that the loss of the life of a young man, Stephen Lawrence, has opened the golden gate of life transforming opportunities for many black male students providing a platform for some black students, with exceptional talents, to realise their dreams.

“At the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Insight Day I was impressed at the astonishing size of the office building and its elegance which surpassed everything my 'open mind' imagined. The staff members were friendly and constantly engaging in conversation with us.

“We had various sessions that helped us understand the weight and spectrums of Commercial Law practice. Following an interview, I was nominated by UWE for the Freshfields scholarship scheme.

“This process of assessments has completely transformed my understanding of the Commercial Law in practice and given me a clearer sense of direction. My drive for excellence is now fuelled to work hard and strive towards this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Kathy Brown, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol, said, “The Stephen Lawrence Trust scholarship scheme offered by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer through the Department of Law at UWE has provided some of our students with a unique opportunity to meet the partners, associates and trainee solicitors at a magic circle law firm.

“This tends to be the preserve of the highest achieving students from Russell Group universities. Students who attend Freshfields get an insight into a world that has never been part of their vision. It opens eyes, minds and doors. It promotes self-growth and a vision beyond low expectations.”

To find out more about studying law at UWE Bristol click here

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