Gowling lawyers to help fund Black students through Birmingham Law School

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By Aishah Hussain on

Firm to also offer work placements and on-going mentoring support

Gowling WLG partners are to help fund black students through law school as part of a new partnership with Birmingham University.

The Black Talent in Law Bursary scheme will see Gowling WLG (UK) Charitable Trust — a registered charity funded entirely by donations from partners of the firm — support the studies and future careers of black students at Birmingham Law School.

Three students will be the first to enrol on the scheme in September. They will be provided with work placement opportunities at Gowling, on-going mentoring support from lawyers at the firm, and also paid financial contributions in the second and final year of their studies.

Andy Stylianou, chair of Gowling WLG (UK) and the firm’s lead on diversity and inclusion, said: “We are excited to launch this scheme in partnership with Birmingham Law School through the Gowling WLG (UK) Charitable Trust. The scheme will offer the students a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience working within a busy international law firm while completing their studies and to be financially supported along the way.”

He continued:

“Black lawyers are under-represented in corporate law firms and we are committed to doing our part to address this and to promote the progression of black students to careers at our firm and the legal profession more widely.”

Paul McConnell, head of careers and employability at Birmingham Law School, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Gowling WLG (UK) Charitable Trust on this initiative. The bursary will make a real difference for our students, providing both invaluable career development opportunities and also financial support for their studies.”

Now over one year on from the death of George Floyd, which reignited the global Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, a number of firms have signalled intentions to up their diversity efforts. These include setting diversity targets from partner through to trainee level, reverse mentoring schemes, as well as paid internships and scholarships.

In June last year, the Black Solicitors Network urged law firm leaders to “walk the talk” on diversity and “create a level playing field for all”.

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