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Herbert Smith Freehills renames £9,000 diversity scholarship in memory of firm’s first black partner

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Applications open 1 November

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Global giant Herbert Smith Freehills has renamed its successful scholarship scheme in memory of the firm’s first black partner, Roger Leyland, who sadly passed away in 1996.

Today the firm revealed the Excel Scholarship — which was launched in 2014 to provide financial support to “exceptional” black and minority ethnic (BME) students considering a career in City law — will now be named the Roger Leyland Memorial Excel Scholarship.

Entering its third year, the scholarship — developed in conjunction with diversity-focused recruitment company Rare — provides successful candidates with an award of £9,000 over the duration of their undergraduate degree, two week’s paid work experience at the firm, a guaranteed interview for a summer vacation scheme and personal tuition with one of Rare’s recruitment experts.

Commenting on the renaming of the scholarship, James Palmer, Herbert Smith Freehills’ senior partner, said:

Roger was a great lawyer and colleague and I am delighted that he will be remembered through this scholarship. I was lucky enough to work directly for him as a trainee: he was technically brilliant and commercially astute, but even more he was enormous fun to work with.

Last year’s recipient of the scholarship was Corinna Cherrie, who attended Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in West London and went on to study law at the University of Cambridge. She recently landed a training contract at Herbert Smith Freehills and is due to start her legal training in 2019. She commented:

I have thoroughly appreciated all the support that I have been given as part of being an Excel Scholar. Being an Excel Scholar was instrumental in my decision to accept my training contract offer from Herbert Smith Freehills as the people I have met throughout the past two years and the information I gathered on what it would be like to work here made it impossible for me to choose to do my training contract anywhere else.

Applications for next year’s scholar open on 1 November. You must be in your first year of undergraduate study to apply. Scholarship hopefuls must also be a member of Rare, which is completely free to join.

33 Comments

Trump's locker room bantz

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Why was this deleted?!

(2)(0)

Tunda

Cos’ it be raysisss!

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Anonymous

As if someone from Cambridge needed help from an access scheme… Just a token for PR points.

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Anonymous

Surely it depends on their journey to Cambridge?

I ‘m an ethnic minority and find it strange that an old Etonian who is black, will be eligible for these diversity initiatives.

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Anonymous

They went to Cardinal Vaughan- it sends loads of people to Oxbridge. It’s one of the best state schools in the country, and regularly outperforms privates

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Anonymous

From a white male brought up in one of the poorest areas in Birmingham, by a single mother in a council flat, I really appreciate being utterly forgotten about in the pursuit of ‘equality’. The support for disadvantaged people like me is non-existent.

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Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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Benj

Nah matey check yu white privilege.

Havin White skin give you ten time da life chances of a black old Etonian from Cambridge even if yu come from council estate.

How many time you ever been beaten up cos of yu skin colour? Eh?

(1)(4)

Not Amused

It’s important that we work to correct wrongs – not merely complain about them.

There are many organisations which help just such disadvantaged children. I had a mentee from just outside Birmingham last year. You need to start engaging with the organisations which do offer help and volunteering your time.

There’s nothing to be gained by seeking to criticise a different scheme helping different children. All that matters is that all children get the help and support they need. Start to be a part of that by volunteering.

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Anonymous

Great! Perhaps you could post a link to a scholarship or award for “disadvantaged white males from working class areas”?

No?

Thought not.

Then shut he fuck up!

(7)(5)

Anonymous

I guess something is wrong with the internet because however hard I tried I couldn’t find any scholarship or support for the group in question.

Lots of opportunities for them to pay tax and serve in the military though.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Thank you!!!

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Tyrion

There are scholarships out there for you. This is a single scholarship for an underrepresented group. I think you need to chill out. I’m from a minority background, I believe that the focus should be on tackling wealth inequality, but to dismiss a single scholarship when so many exist to help to people from your background is pathetic.

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Skep-tic

Care to post a link, buddy?

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Tyrion

You don’t believe that there are any scholarships for which a poor working class white male would be eligible? Are you serious?

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Anonymous

You’ve got to get political – understand that the globalist powers that be (powers that are exceptionally well represented within the British and world legal community) see you as being the number one enemy. Don’t assume you’re “forgotten about”; the fact you are being force fed a shit sandwich is NOT an accident.

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Anonymous

time to go soul man…

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Anonymous

I think Not Amused misses the point.

The Roger Leyland scholar is not a child.

You can have a mentee – from a single parent Council estate background, but can you get them into Herbert Smith or Brick Court Chambers ?

Where is there a Magic Circle Firm who will give you an extra pat on the back for slogging it out around the track from a single mother on a Council estate to a traineeship amongst their number ?

Where is the mentor telling a young English Defence League activist how Tommy Robinson is wrong and that they should get a professional job in the City ?

There is potentially a danger in promoting the frank talker from the Council Estate to the level in society where he sees how Herbert Smith and their clients make their money – and how much they make. Imagine what he might do with his skills if, from that vantage point, he found himself with a polished demeanour and spare cash having practiced law in the City until he had seen enough ?

There is potentially a danger too, that the vantage point of Herbert Smith may turn a Diversity winner into the next Martin Luther King. That would be exciting. Let’s hope that that is Corinna’s destiny ! 🙂

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Not Amused

“You can have a mentee – from a single parent Council estate background, but can you get them into Herbert Smith or Brick Court Chambers ?”

Yes I can (although Herbert Smith is a lot easier than Brick Court …).

Kids who were born poor can achieve anything, even in our society, but they often need help. They need EXACTLY THE SAME help that the kids who are born rich all automatically get.

I’ll not have anyone suggest my kids can’t succeed. If you want to be of use then get off your fat arse and mentor.

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Anonymous

Herbert Smith is easier if they are dumb and rich. Brick Court is for smart and rich.

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Anonymous

Not Amused – Be honest with yourself and give other people’s opinion of the same data some credibility. You have never mentored anyone from a Birmingham Council Estate into Herbert Smith Freehills, and you have never got close to having a mentee get a pupillage at Brick Court Chambers or any of the other few sets that the Supreme Court tend to recruit from.

Perhaps you are trying your best being a Mentee, but be realistic. At some point your mentee is going to have to find the inclination and debt to study for 3 years plus 1 year to get their legal qualifications and they are going to have to haul in the head start in middle class and office parlance that comes as second nature to the usual intake cohort. I would suggest that such social and economic factors are a roadblock for your skill and optimism, but we shall see.

II would suggest that when your mentee turns up at Oxford university, your mentor regime will need to have been pulling a high enough gear such that he or she is in the position not only to get 4As at A level but also to get a blue. If they are in a position to get a blue, they will find Oxford much more satisfying and inclusive, I would imagine.

I am not saying that you cannot get a mentee into the middle class – if that is what you mean by succesful. Getting away from poverty can make people tow an orthodox middle class line until their late 40s, easily, before they start to have a feel for more social intellectual ideas about how to live, but I think you have set the bar too high with Herbert Smith and Brick Court.

Incidentally, Sam Allardyce happens to mention in his autobiography that at West Ham there was a business man who was trying to encourage the Banks at Canary Wharf to take on local youths. Sam does not mention how he got on.

Have you thought of putting a halt to trying to achieve a masterpiece down a dead end, and trying to devise and implement a political idea that will achieve your aims – like fellow lawyers who attempted a version of communism did in the past ? This is where me and my fat arse are headed 🙂

(1)(0)

Ellie

Nice gesture

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Anonymous

That’s all it is when a black Cambridge educated old Etonian can get it.

(2)(0)

Trendy Discrimination

White working class males need not apply.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Just self-define as black.

I knew a bloke at Uni who was very clearly white and who used to use the phrase “as a black man…” in earnest quite a lot.

Then see the faces of the interview panel when you turn up!

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BAME!

🎼I wanna live for-ever!🎤

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Lovin’ diversity big time

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It’s very parochial to assume all “diverse” people are disadvantged, especially in the law. Many are children of wealthy foreign businessmen or corrupt foreign officials. Strongly suspect these diversity initiatives do nothing to help locally born minorities and instead are a further method of quasi-corrupt recruiting that we all know happens (i.e. recruit children of rich and powerful foreigners assuming there will be some payback in the form of deals or legal work).

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Anonymous

Glad they did this so quietly to make a diversity point without cheerleading this in the press…

Oh…

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Mr Adam Deen-Darcy Q.C

The perks of being half-black come through yet again.

Arab & Black students are fully aware of the underhanded token PR bullshittery of these schemes.

Hell, coming out of Oxford, I knew damn well if played the Black or Muzzy card i’d be sure to get some funding for my LPC or even TCs, Services like Rare just for black students made it easier.

I’ve met some truly remarkable poor white gentlemen who could easily out perform me, yet they are given no chance, but if the race card gets me places, you better believe i’ll be playing that shit like Yu-Gi-Oh playing his blue eyes white dragon.

Gimme a raise for being a Muzzy pls?

(4)(0)

Scouser of Counsel

I suspect I was a ‘diversity case’ when I got my Inn scholarship- Northern, state-educated and first in family to go to university. I am a white male.

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MissBlaque

I think it’s great that firms offer scholarships to disadvantaged persons, but I am utterly furious when I hear it has gone to students who are not disadvantaged. Black is not synonymous with disadvantage. Most of these scholarships go to middle class BME persons and therefore does not address the disadvantage it initially set out to. It would be great if there was scholarships for working class white males too, but this group should be equally furious if the scholarships ended up going to white males from a middle class background…

As someone commented above, having gone to a great state secondary school (public school or private school) was she really in need of financial assistance? I just do not think this allocation is fair at all…

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