Five sixth-formers to receive £3.5k bursary as well as mentoring and work experience opportunities
Sidley Austin is looking to ease the financial burden of university with the launch of a new bursary aimed at aspiring lawyers from low socio-economic backgrounds.
The US firm will award £3,500 per academic year to five students from September 2022.
As well as continued financial support, Sidley will offer successful applicants work experience placements at the firm, including automatic entry to its summer vacation scheme in their second year of study, provided they maintain a grade of 2.1 or higher each academic year. They will also receive mentorship from a trainee solicitor for the duration of their studies.
The bursary will be run on a rolling basis, offering “academically gifted students with a clear passion for a career in law” the opportunity to attend university with some of the financial burden alleviated. They will be final-year school students who meet a set of criteria, which includes having an offer to read law at a UK university.
Those eligible will be interviewed by a group of Sidley partners, as well as the graduate recruitment and diversity committees, to determine the final five students.
The firm will provide accommodation in London during the interview process for those who require it and, should they be successful, their work experience placement.
Sidley’s international human resources and diversity director, Jerry Gallagher, commented: “We are proud to be launching our bursary scheme for less advantaged law students as part of our ongoing commitment to improving diversity across the industry. Our hope is that Sidley’s support will minimise the financial burden of undergraduate studies, allowing recipients to focus on their higher education and making the most of the all-important opportunities that university life has to offer.”
“We are confident that the opportunities offered to recipients alongside the financial aid will provide unparalleled insight into, and experience of, the work done at Sidley,” continued Gallagher. “As well as the connections, confidence, and relationships they will build along the way, we hope to give students an intimate look at life within an international law firm and guidance on how they can shape their own legal career.”
Other law firms to financially support aspiring lawyers through university include magic circle firms Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May, as well as Norton Rose Fulbright and Gowling WLG through a partnership with Birmingham University.