Published: 08 August 2023

Student awarded coveted place on Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme

Congratulations to law student Joel Francis who has been awarded a prestigious scholarship with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) and will join the firm’s Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme.

Established by Freshfields in 2013 with support from Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE, the Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme is designed to address the disproportionate under-representation in large commercial law firms and other City institutions of black and mixed-race men from less socially mobile backgrounds. It is aimed at exceptionally talented first-year students at UK universities.

Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholar 2023, Joel Francis

Joel (pictured) has been welcomed among 14 new scholars to join the scheme, now in its eleventh year, bringing the total number of awarded scholarships to 124.

To date, Freshfields has worked with over 80 participating universities across the country, and more than 720 talented law and non-law undergraduates have competed for a place on the scholarship. This year, 34 universities across the UK nominated eligible undergraduates for the scheme with 11 of them permitted to nominate both Law and non-Law students. The scheme’s assessment centres involved more than 220 colleagues, with many actively contributing to the scheme’s development and mentorship programme – including former scholars. Volunteers are also provided by Aon and The Bank of England, among other organisations.

Places are allocated to ambitious, talented individuals across UK universities who undertake a rigorous selection process each year. Dr Katy Peters, the School of Law’s Director of Employability says: “We were delighted to nominate Joel for this acclaimed scholarship and are thrilled at his success. Here at Surrey we work hard to create opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to support them in their career aspirations”.

Freshfields partner Annette Byron, a founder of the scheme and Partner sponsor for social mobility activities, adds: “Freshfields Stephen Lawrence scholars are smart, talented and bring an often-different perspective. Diversity of thought is essential where innovative solutions are needed to overcome some of the world’s most difficult problems.”

As a scholar, Joel will receive a range of benefits and support including a 15-month development and mentoring programme with activities developed and led by Freshfields colleagues.

Joel says: “I am so excited to be given this opportunity to launch my career in the legal profession. Stephen Lawrence’s murder 30 years ago was a tragedy and cut short a life brimming with talent and creativity. I am honoured to be part of this scheme which remembers him and his legacy”.

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