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Aspiring barrister launches crowdfunding campaign to cover £66,000 Cambridge Uni fees

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St Edmund’s College working with alumni to help bar hopeful hit target

Dylan Kawende

A wannabe barrister has launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign in a bid to help cover the cost of his legal studies at the University of Cambridge.

Dylan Kawende, who currently studies history and philosophy of science at the University College London (UCL), has successfully secured a place on the two-year Law with Senior Status (SSL) course at Cambridge’s St Edmund’s College.

Taking to his Crowdfunding page, the 22-year-old explains that the scholarships on offer through the Inns of Court aren’t enough to cover the full cost, while the ones available at Cambridge remain out of reach until he’s registered as a student in October — by which point, he says, “it’ll be too late”.

Undeterred, Kawende now hopes the generosity of others will help him realise his barrister dream. Using the hashtag, #GetDyl2Cambridge, Kawende hopes to raise £66,000 in just eight weeks to cover his course fees and living costs. He has received just over £7,800 in donations so far.

Kawende, the British-born son of two Rwandan genocide refugees who emigrated to the UK, cites the mishandling of the highly publicised Stephen Lawrence case as the inspiration for pursuing a career at the bar. In 1993, Lawrence, a black teenager, was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths in south east London.

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On why he wants to become a barrister, as opposed to solicitor, Kawende tells us: “The bar offers a greater emphasis on advocacy and legal analysis from an early stage. I also like the challenge of being self-employed.”

Since Kawende’s appeal has gained traction, St Edmund’s College has announced that they are “hoping to work with [their] alumni to do what we can to support him”, but encourages all to donate in the meantime.

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38 Comments

Food for thought

Regardless of your socioeconomic background, asking for money to have the mere chance at breaking into one of highest paid professions in the country feels like scamming your fellow kind-hearted citizens out of their pocket change.

(108)(38)

Mary Hartley

Is there not student loans to cover this? This seems to me to be a little ‘Cheeky?’

(20)(2)

Aspiring Barrister

Any spare change, mate?

(7)(0)

Realist

Join another profession. If you cannot afford the fees to study then how do you expect to financially take care of yourself during pupillage, if you of course get pupillage. Do not think that when you enter your second six, payments for work will be immediate, you could be waiting months for payment. I am not trying to dash a dream career, but be sensible and think carefully about your choices. It’s not the glam life that it appears.

(32)(43)

Anonymous

Errr, using the pupillage award?

(30)(5)

Also realist

Good chambers pay big sums in first six. Tax free too.

(24)(3)

Anonymous

He wants £66k in 8 weeks? Sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous

(49)(12)

Anonymous

Studio flat? Surely he should be expected to rent with other students, like pretty much every student in the country. Ridiculous.

(80)(2)

Anonymous

Why should I pay for his fees? What happened to personal accountability and responsibility in this country? Your aspirations are not my problem, and it is not someone else’s fault if you can’t afford to do whatever you want.

(45)(33)

Anonymous

Why not encourage all practicing barristers to donate one hour of their billable time to the lad?

Mere pocket change. And just think of all those Twitter ‘Likes’ to be gained from being so generous!

(41)(14)

Anonymous

The QC who steps up and funds literally all of it would be viewed on Twitter universally as such a virtuous, open-minded, generous, kind, heroic, sexy and cool person.

It really is a win-win for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity!

(18)(7)

Anonymous

Come on Jolyon, time to dig deep!

(25)(0)

Anonymous

GDL

(23)(0)

Anonymous

I can’t work out why he needs to do the senior status law degree. The GDL at City in London would cost £11,730 starting Sept 2019. He’d only need to fund one year of living expenses. He would be entitled to apply for an Inn’s scholarship to cover of some of that.

Even if you assume it would cost £20k overall to do the GDL for a year in London, he is effectively seeking funding for an additional £46k to top up a perfectly respectable UCL undergraduate degree to a Cambridge undergraduate degree, rather than just do the City GDL (which is what most barristers who have converted do). Is that really worth it? Is it necessary in order to become a barrister? I think the answer to both of those is probably no.

He sounds badly advised. He’d be better off using the additional £46k raised (if he raises it) to fund the Bar Course.

(58)(4)

Anonymous

p.s. He says he on track for a first from UCL. If he gets a first, it is even less necessary to pay an astonishing amount of money just to upgrade to a Cambridge degree. If he wants to a barrister, do the GDL and get stuck in to practice sooner.

(25)(2)

Anonymous

What hypocritical bull***t…
@ Anonymous at 5:04pm and 5:19pm. You’re probably the same Mugs that go on about only Oxbridge getting into the best chambers and this guy is attempting to do just that and you talk about he should do a f**k**g GDL?! Wankers!!!

(15)(36)

Anonymous

I see so much resentment at bitterness haha. Damn. Get a life! I see a young man that wants to change his life and is going about it, if you don’t want to donate then guess what? You don’t have to! And I personally don’t think he played the ‘race card’ because news flash, he actually didn’t!

(36)(21)

Anonymous

Are you a friend, or is it you?

(8)(8)

Anonymous

I think you are wrong. “Half a story, what about the other half” is the gist of it.

(1)(1)

Arbitrary username

Regarding the ‘race card’ allegation, The Times story from which Legal Cheek ‘borrowed’ this, has further detail, its final paragraph saying:

‘Kawende, who is the first member of his family to attend a top university, has also said he would like to launch a YouTube channel aimed at addressing the lack of diversity in law and academia. “I’m keen on talking about things to do with black history, and issues surrounding inequality and representation in higher education and the profession,” he said.’

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/budding-barrister-s-plea-for-66-000-fees-dg9xz0pjz

PS for the sake of clarity, can we all try to insert random usernames, rather than simply default to anonymous. Thanks.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

From his page: “To paraphrase Philip K Howard (2001) and Virginia Eubanks (2018), it is my view that innocent blood is being shed at the altar of neutral justice and oppressive algorithms.”

U wot m8?

(37)(2)

Anonymous

100% this.

I can fully stand behind and have respect for someone ambitious and smart trying to get into their dream career, but please man, cut the bullshit about contextual science and social justice. I should’ve known just from the title of that UCL degree that it’d be some new age twaddle that wants to turn the objectivity of science into the subjectivity of identity politics.

It’s fair game to criticise science and the scientific approach when it is conducted and utilised to promote an agenda – any agenda – other than realism and truth-seeking. That has absolutely happened in the past, and is no doubt still happening today (though to a lesser extent). Science is sometimes limited by our own fundamental limitations, and inconsistent, insufficient, or misinterpreted results can lead to what he calls “oppressive algorithms”. But call me crazy, it did not at all seem to me like he was being taught on that course to weed out this cancer from science – no, it seemed as though they wanted to replace it with their own moralistic type of cancer, one which would necessitate the imbuement of science with political, social, and relativist dimensions.

That kind of approach should be anathema to any intellectually honest individual who looks to science to guide the progress of our kind, and frankly it is quite disturbing that such a corrosive philosophy has made its way into modern academia.

Sorry to say this, but the less success this guy, and others like him, have in life to influence other gullible people, the better.

(19)(2)

Anonymous

The virtue signalling in this article is strong. But on a serious note – why him? Why him over a number of others in a similar situation?

If you look at the requirements to get on the degree currently, you see AAB (BBB contextual); notwithstanding the grades he achieved at A level or Degree level, you’d think he has attempted to hideaway into a lesser course at UCL to then try and leap frog into Cambridge.

If you’re cut out for oxbridge, you get there the first-time.

(23)(27)

Anonymous

The man has been offered a place at Cambridge, therefore I think it’s fair to say he is most certainly “cut out for it”!.

(26)(4)

Anonymous

Not really, or else he would have applied to studied law there first time. After all, its been 20 years since Stephen Laurence died. Why not study law sooner?

(8)(25)

Anonymous

If he can raise that amount in 8 weeks he may be better suited to a career in fund raising than the Bar.

(28)(1)

Anonymous

The way things are going at the moment he could have a career at fundraising for the bar and the criminal one at that…

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Just do the GDL like everyone else.

(16)(3)

Anonymous

Is it me, or is it not clear why the running costs for a two year degree are 66k ?

For overseas students, the oxford website is quoting 24 to 34k per year. But that tariff does not seem to apply here.

Your first degree is 9250 per year, it says. Cannot find info on the SSL degree.

I would have preferred a reference to Julian Assange , rather than Stephen Lawrence, personally. Michael Mansfield and various politicians have fought that battle.

Plus there is mention of a father who had an offer from Cambridge to study electronics, but now has his own IT firm. What support, if any, is there from dad ?

No mention of current debt ?

What role are the banks playing at the moment – he looks loanable.

Combining all that with a London University first degree , and the narrative of the pitch, it looks like he could get an influential job now. Eg with the Labour party or similar.

Not sure, is my verdict.

I disagree with the Oxbridge first time point above, on principle.

(23)(2)

Anonymous

False. He’s not done anything to be a hero. Don’t apply for a course you can’t afford.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It’s disappointing very few people will see this.

His Crowdfunding page clearly allows him to retain all proceeds, despite not reaching the goal. It appears that he is just trying to save money on his end rather than genuinely needing the money.

He could have pursued a training contract with Freshfields, where he would have a free-ride with the GDL and LPC, and would be able to pursue the Barrister route after his Training Contract. Despite this being a reasonable approach, I guess it is for the #Untapped, #fairness, #Justice #Invisible. I genuinely wonder how he plans to give ‘back’ to to the #Untapped and #Invisible when he plans to become a Commercial Barrister (He has previously cited this before and on his Linkedin).

He already has received education at an amazing university (UCL). This is unlike situations where people are trying to fund their first degree.

He has justified his estimated fees by factoring in his religious pursuit, among other non-essential things. He has defended this by saying that other students pursue ‘costs’ from sources that they deem personally worthy, why should he not as well? Well one of the most obvious differences is that they’re not seeking £66,000. He also has rejected ‘Angel Investor’ offers who would fund his education as long as they did not have to pay for his religious expenses. Again, how can he espouse #Untapped #Thisisforus #Thisisnotjustforme Etc, and all these other virtues, and at the same time, prioritise his own individualistic pursuits? He surely could have crowd-funded for any deficit if he needed it that badly, but that wouldn’t allow him to drum up Internet Fame. Shame.

Again, why Cambridge? Why not just a GDL? The obvious answer is because he wants the #Prestige, not because it helps the #Untapped (how does it exactly help the #Untapped and #Invisible again when he already has received elite education?). If he really wanted to, he could have also pursued a Masters (and receive a student loan for Post-Grad), where he’d be better poised to pursue the Barrister route. For example, the BCL at Oxford or an LLM at Cambridge?

As other posters have mentioned, what is his Debt? Why can’t his parents help him? Etc. There are a lot of missing pieces of information, and a lot of virtue signaling to gas over the lack of substance.

He also appears incredibly manipulative. He has criticised his former state education, and then when they responded to him, encouraging him, but expressed their disappointment at his criticisms levied against them, he decided to victimise himself and #Imnotyourenemy. Clearly more of an attention grab than a genuine dialogue between the School and himself. Everything and anything will be publicised so he can reach his £66,000 discount.

He has also mentioned that he has forgone part-time work, to pursue other things like take up extracurricular activities. Now he’s hurting for money? Why exactly do other people have to pay when many others are able (and HAVE to) work for their education? Why exactly is he above the rest and deserves a literal free ticket to an individualistic pursuit? He could have worked part-time and taken up the commitments he has. But he didn’t. There is no ‘struggle’ story here in that sense.

Overall, this appears to be a dishonest, disingenuous cash grab, for an individualistic pursuit, that has no actual end-goal for the people who have donated. He is not doing this for the #Untapped or #Fairness. He is not doing this for you. He is doing this for prestige. For himself. For the clout. For the social media likes and follows. He has not demonstrated a proper road map as to how he will help others, after being funded.

Donate to charity. Donate to something actually worth something. Don’t donate to someone who wants to pamper their CV without paying anything.

If, perchance, someone wants to refute the above points, don’t be lazy. Don’t just attack the clear cynicism in this message and the above posts. That doesn’t absolve the clearly shaky grounds in which he is raising money for. God forbid the legal profession compels you to think critically. Also, I am pretty sure God forbids tricking people. Shrugs.

(92)(6)

All Panhandling Barristers

‘When you help others,
You can’t help helping yourself!’ – Avenue Q

(13)(0)

Anonymous

This is an interesting post.

The poster may be completely wrong of course, but what if he has nailed it ?

I have a sneaky suspicion that 20 year olds don’t dream up such ideas and tactics themselves.

Remember Hillary Clinton doing part of her thesis on the methods of Saul Alinsky , author of Rules for Radicals ? It makes you wonder whether she was just the acorn.

If the funds can be kept, they will be tax free, those facts are the flashlight on the hidden hand, assuming they are true.

We await a reply to the substantive post, or for the morning deletions.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

“First in his family to go to a TOP university?”

Does this mean that he already has family members with degrees, albeit from “lesser” institutions?

Hardly a working class hero if so!

(16)(0)

unimpressed

Anonymous of 9:57pm sums it up sensibly.

Its not negatives… its general realism. No point does race even come into this.

A person is asking of others £66,000 without doing anything for themselves. Others work tirelessly to save; others takes loans; others sit courses that do not cost as much; others get training contracts to sit the relevant tests then cross qualify.

If he achieves, it fair enough, but he is not exactly putting in the work to change his life.

A common trait a success is that they put the effort, the hours in, to put themselves where they are. To rely on others, makes you the deadwood; the slug at the bottom.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Ive just ordered rules for radicals now, to read it for myself.

Having read the 10.41 post, I think it is time for the salt of the earth to recover its preservative qualities and to survey the topography of the landscape.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This is worth a thorough going over…

There has been similar iniatives at Oxbridge for black men and one for Harvard, plus one on the Bbc.

Dylan is taking a leaf from those.

He has joined numerous endeavours such as the Global Citizenship Programme, the church and something called the LFA. He is d of e gold and a stephen lawrence scholar.

He wants to do a two year degree to really study law andto pursue a youtube channel called Omni lawyer and how to do x like a Cambridge student.

His endeavours have led to him having work experience at freshfields, goldman sachs and matrix.

The book he pulls off the shelf is entitled enlightened economy.

This happens to be the name of a think tank type organisation which puts the detail on the idea of the enlightened economy and echoes a similar take on the economy to his paraphrase quote in the video.

I am not sure though if the idea is to smuggle radical church into goldman sachs, freshfield and matrix , and to change them from within – a revision of the Russian Revolutionary Lenin’s mantra for communists to join the Labour party (radical Christians close down the banks), or to be part of a global movement where such organisations are spun to be like a father in heaven for us all on earth, while retaining an elite of global citizens over a new paradigm.

If the former, great. I will happily give 20. If the latter, then one way or another I think Goldman Sachs are steps ahead and will stay on top of the job. They will need lawyers, medias, politicians and militia to minister over everyone and nothing meaningful will change, not even if Dylan becomes the Lord Chancellor , DPP or Attorney General.

So Dylan, please make an appearance in the LC comments section and hit some boundaries off these bowls at your wicket , if you can !

(3)(11)

Random passer-by

Listen, clearly it is a good thing that the young man wants to further his education. But I think people are entitled to have questions when you are asking for their money. I honestly don’t understand why he doesn’t get a training contract, do the GDL and LPC with funding and then qualify as a solicitor before converting to the bar. It will also enable him to raise money and will actually make his application stronger. The alternative is to get a job as a paralegal or any other job, and study for the GDL and BPTC part time and then pursue pupillage. He has a first from UCL which is a great achievement. There is no guarantee he will get a first at Cambridge and even if he does there is no guarantee of pupillage. The commercial bar is full of cream of the cream, it is ridiculously competitive. I’ve been in the same position, as have many people I know, and you have to be smart about how to approach these things. Personally i would never beg for funds. I’ll earn the money myself even if it means sacrificing a few years doing a job i don’t love.

(20)(0)

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