Students who bagged a law school scholarship explain how it opened up the legal profession for them

“A lot of people don’t apply for the scholarships because they think they won’t be successful”

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Talented students should be able to study law, whatever their financial circumstances. The University of Law offers the UK’s largest combined university law scholarship and bursaries fund. More than £600,000 is on offer to students in need who can prove their academic excellence and need, with a wide range of scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses designed to appeal to all types of students.

These include the Law First Scholarship, for students with first class degrees, the Creative Thinking Scholarship, which allows students to showcase their knowledge of the law and English skills in an application essay, and the Lord Blunkett Widening Access Award, named in honour of The University of Law’s Chancellor.

Legal Cheek Careers caught up with some students who have secured scholarships in recent years. They told us how they were successful, what the awards meant to them and talked about what they are up to now.

VICTORIA BRENNAN — Law First Scholarship, GDL Class of 2014

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How did the scholarship help you?

“The Law First scholarship meant half of my fees were paid for. This meant I could start on the GDL straight after my four-year undergraduate degree. I didn’t have to wait and earn money before starting on my journey into law.”

What are you up to now?

“I started my training contract with Pinsent Masons in September. The summer of 2015, between finishing my GDL and starting the LPC, I did a vac scheme with them and they paid for my LPC and offered me a place to start in 2016 as soon as my LPC was done. Without the support of Catherine in ULaw’s careers department during the GDL I would not have obtained my vac scheme at Pinsents and ultimately my training contact … which would mean I would not have had my LPC paid for and I would not have a job doing something I love I right now!”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“Go for it! If you don’t ask you don’t get, so you have to put your hat in the ring to be in with a chance of getting a scholarship. I never thought I would be lucky enough to get a scholarship, let alone a law first one for students who have obtained a first class honours in their undergraduate degree. The fact the law first scholarship existed was part of the driving force behind my determination to get a first in my undergraduate degree as I knew without it I would have to self fund the whole course and it might be a while before I could start.”

FIONA WHEELER — Law First Scholarship, Part-time LPC Class of 2016 and trainee solicitor, combining study and work with raising two young children

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How did the scholarship help you?

“I had been made redundant from my job and was unemployed after finishing the GDL. If I had had to pay the full fees it would have been too much of a financial stretch but only having to pay the partial fees made it viable and allowed me to retrain and find a new job.”

What are you up to now?

“I am currently working as a trainee solicitor at Helix Law, a small firm in Brighton. I started my training contract in April and, all going well, will finish it by March 2018.”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“It’s worth having a go. If you are successful, it will allow you to get a great education and develop your skills.”

EDWARD PALMI — Law First Scholarship, GDL Class of 2015 and Part-time LPC Class of 2016

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How did the scholarship help you?

“I was a self-employed tutor throughout the GDL and the scholarship took the pressure off me in respect of finding new clients, so I would have been able to study the GDL but it would have increased the pressure on me outside of university.”

What are you up to now?

“I am now working as a paralegal and studying the LPC part time on the weekends.”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“I think the most important thing is being organised. The scholarships require the student to potentially write an essay and the deadlines are earlier than deadlines for the course so if students are working or studying they should make sure they give themselves enough time to get the application in on time.”

HANNAH EASTAFF — Choose Law Discretionary Award, GDL Class of 2015 and LPC MSc Class of 2016

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How did the scholarship help you?

“The scholarship helped me in terms of funding as it made my fees significantly cheaper. This further helped as the decrease in course fees meant that I had more money than I initially thought for my GDL and I was able to resign from my part time job. Given the amount of work the GDL and training contract applications require, this was extremely helpful. Additionally I was able to include my scholarship on all my training contract applications.”

What are you up to now?

“I am currently an LPC MSc student at University of Law, Guildford. I have a training contract with an international firm in their London office starting in 2017. I received my offer this summer after completing a vacation scheme at the firm in July.”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“Make a note of dates for scholarship applications to make sure you don’t miss the window of opportunity. Even if you don’t think you stand a chance, apply! I never expected to win the award and it really did make a big difference to me. Spend time on your application and don’t rush it. For the essay I completed I made sure to spend a significant amount of time researching and constructing my answer to make sure every word counted.”

DAVID DEAN — Choose Law Discretionary Award, LPC Class of 2015 LPC

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How did the scholarship help you?

“The scholarship helped to contribute towards my fees. I was working part time as a waiter and it meant that I could work less hours and focus on my studies. It also meant that I could get a smaller loan.”

What are you up to now?

“I am currently working at a top 200 specialised personal injury firm based in Manchester. I am working as a paralegal at the moment due to start my training contract after January next year.”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“My advice would be that people should just apply for any scholarship they can. They have nothing to lose and it’s a great thing to add to your CV. I know it gave me an extra thing to talk about in job interviews.”

RACHEL BRASSEY — Choose Law Scholarship, GDL Class of 2015, LPC MSc Class of 2016

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How did the scholarship help you?

“I couldn’t have studied without it — I worked alongside my GDL to financially support myself and receiving the scholarship eased the financial pressure on both myself and my parents who are retired and are therefore unable to financially support me.”

What are you up to now?

“I’m currently studying my LPC with MSc in Business at The University of Law.”

What’s your advice for people applying for scholarships at The University of Law?

“I’d advise people to just go for it — I didn’t think I stood a chance of getting a scholarship, but I did and came out of my GDL with a commendation.”

KEY DEADLINES

Next up is the deadline for ULaw’s Choose Law full fees scholarship — two of which are up for grabs — on 30 November. There is also a runners up award worth £2,000.

Then comes the deadline for the Lord Blunket Widening Access Award on 7 December for students starting the GDL or LPC in January, and on 24 February for students starting the LPC part-time in March.

The next round of scholarships are for September 2017 courses. Students can register their interest and the application process will commence in the coming weeks, although you’ll have to be in receipt of an offer to apply.

Apply here. This year ULaw is offering £600,000 in scholarships and bursaries.

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