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Freshfields Law Scholarship awarded to Birkbeck undergraduate

Birkbeck Law student Wesley Manta has been awarded a prestigious Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship, marking the second time that a Birkbeck student has been chosen for the mentoring and scholarship programme.

Second year LLB student Wesley Manta has been selected by international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for a Stephen Lawrence Scholarship, which aims to address the under-representation of black men from less privileged backgrounds in large commercial law firms.

Together with Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE, Freshfields is working to broaden access to careers in large commercial law firms and other careers in the City of London.

Wesley said: "I am eternally grateful to Baroness Lawrence and Freshfields for providing me with this opportunity. Breaking into the commercial world is not easy, as there are so many rules and ways of working which we are never taught in university. Through this scholarship, I hope to be able to gain the practical knowledge required to succeed in the City."

Professor Daniel Monk, Professor of Law at Birkbeck, supported Wesley’s nomination. He said: "The School of Law at Birkbeck has participated in the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme from its start in 2013. Every year we have nominated up to six eligible students and are very proud of our two students who have been awarded scholarships.

"The selection process itself is hugely valuable and all the students we have nominated have benefited from the experience and the care and ongoing support from Freshfields. It's a really innovative scheme informed by a deep understanding of the realities of inequality in the legal profession."

The scholarship will provide Wesley with £3,500 towards course and study-related costs, as well as invaluable interview coaching, career guidance, and mentoring. The programme is designed as an alternative pathway to interview for a training contract at the major City law firm.

Annette Byron, Freshfields’ Partner Sponsor for Social Mobility, commented: "We believe that this scholarship is unique. We draw on innovative assessment techniques to gauge potential across many areas, and our development programme equips scholars with the skills necessary to become top class lawyers or to enter other City professions. We hope to make a real difference – which we define as people from different backgrounds joining, staying and succeeding, and, in turn, continuing to strengthen organisational culture around inclusivity."

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