Two students are on their way to becoming solicitors, thanks to the diversity inclusion scheme set up by Inez Brown, president of Birmingham Law Society.
The scheme, which offers scholarships to two students who would not otherwise have been able to complete their Law Practice Course, has been supported by the University of Wolverhampton (the university Inez attended) and the University of Law.
The scholarships, awarded to Drew Nelson from Birmingham and Sophie Murphy from Wolverhampton, will be accompanied by mentoring and support from HCR and from Gateley Legal LLP, with Pinsent Masons offering both a virtual internship. Mentoring will also be offered to Sharon Nelson, who impressed the selection panel with her determination and focus. Drew and Sophie have just started their post-graduate Law Practice Course.
Inez said: “Both Drew and Sophie started their courses this week and I am really delighted that we had such excellent candidates. I wanted to support young people who, for a range of reasons, would not normally be able to afford to do their LPC – Government funding is available for their degrees, but there is no funding available for the LPC, so many people simply don’t go ahead.
“Both Drew and Sophie have overcome challenges of different kinds to get to this stage. Sharon too, who achieved a 2:2 in her degree in spite of her dyslexia, clearly deserved our support and I’m so glad that, with our partners, we can offer such excellent opportunities.”
Drew said: “After being awarded the scholarship, I was beyond elated. I was working two part-time jobs to self-fund the LPC in two years’ time; the scholarship meant I could return to university this year, which was a relief.
“It is encouraging to see a law society invest in local youth. I am sincerely grateful to the Birmingham Law Society and am looking forward to what the future holds.”
Sophie said: “I am absolutely honoured to have received a scholarship. The initial news was extremely overwhelming. It has shown me that with hard work and determination, rewards and recognition will follow in the long run, and to never lose focus on your true ambitions.
“It is truly an amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to get involved in everything that it has to offer! I would like to thank Inez Brown and the interview panel for taking this chance on me; it is greatly appreciated.”
Inez was inaugurated as President last month – she is the Society’s first black president, and had to overcome obstacles herself to reach her position as partner and clinical negligence specialist with HCR’s sister company Medical Accident Group. She grew up in Smethwick and worked as a legal secretary for 15 years before she was able to train as a lawyer.