Legal Cheek

Dentons channels unclaimed client money to fund new LLB scholarship that pays undergrads £20k each

Megafirm joins Hogan Lovells in sponsoring LLB students

Dentons will use unclaimed client cash to fund three Queen Mary Law School LLB students, in an innovative bursary deal worth over £50,000.

The global colossus — with over 6,600 lawyers in 52 countries — has used Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) approved rules to create the scheme, allowing the firm to take dormant client account funds and use them for charities of its choice.

With Dentons unable to trace the money’s rightful owners, the cash will, rather than just sit there, be put into a £48,000 bursary used to pay three students through a three-year degree at Queen Mary Law School. Supported by additional “matched funding” from the university, the lucky aspiring lawyers will receive £6,500 for each year of their course — amounting to just shy of £20,000 over the duration of the LLB.

According to Queen Mary, those wishing to apply for the bursary must have enrolled with the university this September and be in their first year. In addition to this, they must have been a resident in either the London boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets or Newham for at least three years and must not have a household income of more than £42,600 a year. Finally, this should be the first time the bursary candidate has entered higher education and they must also be the first in their immediate family to do so.

Drastically reducing the overall cost of the £9,000-a-year course and London living expenses, today’s announcement builds upon the long-standing relationship between Dentons and Queen Mary. Having launched a free legal advice clinic called Poplaw together in 2006, bursary recipients will not only be expected to volunteer for the clinic, but will also be encouraged to apply for the Dentons’ summer vacation scheme.

Dentons UK managing partner Brandon Ransley said:

Dentons has a long standing commitment to supporting the communities in which we work and live, such as our delivery of free legal advice to the community of Poplar, East London and our initiative with City Gateway to provide young people with mentoring, training, work experience and one year apprenticeship places. We support communities and individuals through many initiatives so it is a privilege to be able to contribute to the Queen Mary University of London bursary scheme.

Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas — head of Queen Mary’s law school — hopes the bursary will make a legal career more accessible to those students from poorer backgrounds, explaining:

We are delighted by this generous donation from Dentons. This bursary scheme will provide much needed support to students from low income families from the local community who wish to pursue a career in law.

This latest funding scheme comes almost a year after transatlantic giant Hogan Lovells earmarked a funding pot in excess £150,000 to sponsor undergraduate law students through university.

Partnering with LSE and the universities of York and Durham, Hogan Lovells has initially sponsored two students from each institution. Each successful applicant — who is required to meet criteria that includes being the first in their family to attend university — receives two instalments of £9,000 to cover the fees of the first and second year of their LLBs.