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Warwick Law student awarded Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship

Second year Warwick law student Joshua Siriboe has been awarded the 2020 Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship. He joins fellow law student Daniel Nwanebu who won the award in 2019.

The Scheme was devised to address the disproportionate under-representation of black men from less privileged backgrounds in large commercial law firms and the City of London. It is a UK-wide scheme aimed at exceptionally talented first year students at UK universities studying law, and in a small number of pilot universities, other courses too.

In memory of Stephen Lawrence, the Scheme was launched in 2013 by global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, working with Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE. Now in its eighth year, the Scheme has assessed over 480 candidates and offered 82 Scholarships. The 2020 cohort of 13 scholars were selected in October 2020 and began a bespoke 15-month development programme in November 2020 which includes skills workshops, commercial awareness, interview coaching, networking, mentoring, support with job applications and careers advice. The new scholars will also receive work shadowing at Freshfields and a guaranteed interview for a training contract, as well as a contribution towards course and associated study-related costs. Many scholars from previous years have gone on to accept training contract offers from Freshfields or join other prestigious City organisations.

Applications are made by universities on behalf of exceptionally talented demographically eligible students, with candidates also submitting a two minute supporting video. Successful applicants then attend a two-day assessment centre at Freshfields in London, before final scholars are chosen. For 2020 candidates, in view of Covid-19, the annual two-day assessment centre was re-imagined into five part-virtual, part in-person assessment centres at Freshfields London and Salford with a further option for students who preferred an entirely virtual experience.

Annette Byron, Partner Sponsor for Social Mobility at Freshfields, commented: “This year’s Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme comes at a time when those with less access to privilege and opportunities are facing greater challenges than ever. The pandemic has disproportionately affected black and ethnic communities, so it is especially important that we bring together this group of talented individuals and give them a sense of community, as well as access to the best possible opportunities to build successful careers in their chosen fields. We are proud to be working with such exceptionally talented students and are looking forward to what we will learn from them as we hope they learn from us.”

Joshua, who is currently studying on our 3 year LLB degree and will be starting his third and final year with us in September, decided to apply for this fantastic opportunity when it was advertised within the Law School. We caught up with him to find out more.

What’s the scholarship all about?

The scholarship is targeted at black men who are early into their time at university and it's sort of like an additional module. It offers numerous opportunities over a long period of time, but its primary goal is development, either for a job in the city or elsewhere. It’s still quite difficult for black people, particularly men, to get access to different things but this scholarship helps to change that.

What was the process for applying?

I met with the university careers officer and she went through briefly what the scholarship was and the steps needed to obtain it. It's not necessary to go to them for help but I would recommend it, they are quite helpful in aiding you through the initial application process. Not long after, you get to visit the firm; I suppose you could call it a quasi-open day. Later you have to make a short (really short) video describing yourself, your motivations, and interests. Finally comes the assessment centre and since you’ll be in your first year, this will probably be your first experience of it. It can be daunting but definitely insightful as to how these things work; take it as a learning experience.

Do you have any advice for those wanting to apply for this award in the future?

I think with the application it’s important to really reflect on what you’ve done in the past and what those experiences have taught you, not necessarily concerning academics but about how they have made you who you are today and why that’s a good thing.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are yet to be set in stone but I am leaning towards trying to become a commercial lawyer.

The next round of the scheme will open for applications in early 2021.

Eustace Nnamdi from our Maths and Physics department was also awarded a scholarship, meaning two winners from Warwick this year. Congratulations to both Joshua and Eustace, this is an amazing award and something Warwick is delighted to be involved with. We are super proud of you both.

Find out more about the scholarship scheme:

Thu 14 Jan 2021, 14:15 | Tags: Award, undergraduate, Student Achievement, Funding, Feature