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No objections for winner of Stephen Lawrence law scholarship

THE LAW IN HIS HANDS: Scholarship student Steve Lewis

A MATURE STUDENT has won a “life-changing” scholarship as part of an initiative to address the under-representation of black men from low-income households in large commercial law firms.

Steve Lewis, 43, of East Ham, east London, is one of six candidates chosen to join the inaugural year of the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Stephen Lawrence scholarship scheme.

Freshfields partnered with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to offer practical support and guidance for law students to help them secure a high-achieving career in the law.

Lewis, who is also a leading member of the Notting Hill Ebony Steel Band, is currently studying law at Birbeck University. His scholarship includes £3,500 towards his undergraduate course tuition.

He said: “The scholarship is life-changing – it is a dream come true. It will give me the opportunity to be a successful lawyer. I love the subject and what I am possibly able to do for other people, and I want to get young black kids interested in raising their aspirations.”

JOB ROLES

The east Londoner left school at 16 and worked in various job roles, including as a baggage handler at London City Airport and a mobile phone salesman.

But two years ago, Lewis decided to pursue law and began a certificate of higher education in legal methods, and then went on to study for his degree.

As part of the application process, candidates met Baroness Doreen Lawrence – the mother of the murdered teenager.

Lewis said: “Being a black man, Stephen’s murder especially touched a nerve with me.

“Londoners have grown up with what happened surrounding his death. I am determined to work hard and become a lawyer and I would like to give back in order to broaden access.”

Annette Byron, Freshfields’ social mobility partner, said: “We hope to make a real difference – which we define as people from different backgrounds joining, staying and succeeding with us.”

Scholars must be “exceptionally-talented students” as well as satisfying strict criteria including being male, of an African or Caribbean background, studying a qualifying law degree course at a British university and the first generation in their immediate family to attend university.

They must also prove they are from a lower-income household.

Baroness Lawrence added: “My personal ambition is to help provide opportunities for people to become the best that they can be.  I have met the scholars and am sure that the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence scholarship will enable them to build successful careers.”

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