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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.