KCL biochemistry student and Surrey Uni veterinary medicine grad scoop STEM GDL scholarships

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£2,500 each towards BPP course

Jane Xiu and Amy O’Sullivan

A King’s College London biochemistry student and a veterinary medicine graduate from the University of Surrey have become the latest wannabe lawyers to scoop a special Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) scholarship for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students.

Jane Xiu and Amy O’Sullivan saw off competition from a host of top applicants drawn from STEM Future Lawyers, the UK’s only dedicated careers network for science-minded wannabe lawyers. It has attracted over 1,500 active members since its launch in 2017, all of whom are STEM students.

The lucky duo have been awarded £2,500 each to kick start their legal career at a BPP University Law School campus of their choosing. The prize can be put towards the law school’s existing GDL (the year-long conversion course non-law students must complete to become a solicitor) or its new SQE-slanted GDL, the Law Conversion Course (PGDL), from September 2020.

The lawyer hopefuls were selected by an expert judging panel featuring, among others, Andrew Chadwick, dean of BPP University Law School, and Jonny Hurst, head of student recruitment and outreach.

Both Xiu and O’Sullivan are planning to study the PGDL at BPP’s Waterloo campus from September.

Xiu said:

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed studying Biochemistry at university, but I soon realised that this was an area that I couldn’t see myself working in as a career. Law caught my eye as there was the unique opportunity to use the skills and specific scientific knowledge developed throughout my degree alongside commercial legal issues in areas such as intellectual property. I believe that STEM students are able to contribute greatly to the legal profession and am very excited to pursue a career that has the opportunity to combine my interests in STEM, law and business.”

O’Sullivan added:

“I have always envisioned my career reaching much further than the veterinary profession. After attending various STEM Future Lawyers events, I realised that the demand is increasing for lawyers with a thorough understanding of specific industries, and it is this mix between science, trade and the law that makes the role of the commercial solicitor such a fascinating career. I am extraordinarily grateful to be awarded the scholarship because this enables me to start learning an exciting but challenging new discipline.”

Commenting on the scholarships, the founder of STEM Future Lawyers and Legal Cheek, Alex Aldridge, said:

“We are delighted to be working with BPP for a second year to help more science students enter the law and begin to reshape the legal profession. Since launching in 2016, the network has grown exponentially and STEM Future Lawyers now has over 1,500 live members and partnerships with 15 law firms, including three magic circle firms.”

Chadwick said: “We are extremely pleased that these scholarships are proving successful amongst our students. STEM students continue to be increasingly in demand and important as the legal sector continues to change. These students are incredibly valuable assets to firms in improving the delivery of legal services as technology is now fully integrated into the profession. The legal profession benefits from talent such as this and we will continue to commit to developing our STEM talent.”

Last year we reported a University of Manchester biomedical sciences student and a University of York chemistry graduate scooped the first-ever STEM GDL scholarship. Syeda Rubab Zahra and Saskia Boardman each received £2,500 towards their GDL fees and started their courses in September.

STEM Future Lawyers is the UK’s dedicated law careers network for STEM students looking to make the leap into law. Since its launch in 2016, STEM Future Lawyers has grown to over 1,500 members, all of whom are STEM students. You can sign up to STEM Future Lawyers, which is a Legal Cheek sister site, here.



IT’S A TRAP! Get out now before it’s too late! You don’t have to be lawyers!


When we have a STEM shortage in the UK workforce, why are we encouraging STEM students to become non-STEM professionals? Presumably so that they can wield so-called “LegalTech” (read: Microsoft Word and Adobe).


Why not support these talented people for their hard work instead of using this as a platform for your agenda?

Congratulations to both of these recipients and best of luck in, what is sure to be, your successful futures!

2 Year PQE

Veterinary medicine is such a tough profession to break into and extremely oversubscribed. It is a shame that Amy took a place from someone who may have wanted to study and practice as a vet.

I think the structure of higher education is to blame. It is a very difficult decision for a 17 year old to make to decide to become a doctor/vet/dentist and probably one which should be made at a more mature age.

Best of luck to her. I hope she doesn’t regret it.

Just saying

Imagine studying vet med… only to become a lecherous lawyer! LOLOLOL!

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