Two law degree students will spend a day a week working at Thursfields Solicitors for two years in a new scholarship programme with Aston Law School.
Walid Hakem and Valerie Achebe are the first students to win places on the programme, which was designed to widen access from students from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities or from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Jade Linton, an associate director in the Employment Law department at Thursfields, is championing the scholarships which will be based at the firm’s Solihull and Birmingham offices.
Jade said: “We are excited to be offering these scholarships to Walid and Valerie as part of our plans to identify and develop students who may consider Thursfields an employer of choice after their studies.
“The scholarships will be awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional ability in relation to their academic performance, diligence and commitment to their own professional and personal development.
“We are committed to finding and working alongside talented law students, providing insight into the world of work in the provision of legal services.
“This programme will give two law students a real opening at Thursfields and a chance to show both their developing skills and their aptitude to learn more.
Jade explained that the scholarships will be for up to 7.25 hours a week, with the actual dates arranged to suit student’s degree timetables in their second and third years.
She added: “The scholarships seek to address under-representation in law firms and the low attrition rates of lawyers from BAME groups, as well as those from lower social economic backgrounds.
“There should be no bar to ambition and the legal system should reflect the diverse communities we serve and do business with.”
Daniel Cash, a lecturer at Aston Law School said: “We are delighted to have secured this partnership with Thursfields, who have worked with us diligently to develop a distinctive initiative to provide Walid and Valerie with a progressive and impactful opportunity.
“Having worked with Jade and her colleagues before as a school, I was sure that this opportunity would develop into something really positive for our students, and Thursfields have certainly delivered”.
“I am really excited to see our students develop with Thursfields and learn real professional skills alongside a forward-looking team”.
The scholarships are classed as voluntary activities but will attract out-of-pocket expenses of up to £10 per day, plus a £100 book voucher.