14 February 2014
Programme to honour memory of Stephen Lawrence
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has been selected for a prestigious law scholarship which aims to address the under-representation of black men from low-income households in large commercial law firms.
Kofi Madden from Wythenshawe in Manchester is one of only six students in the country to be chosen for the inaugural year of the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship programme following its launch in 2013. It was set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence by international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
The aim is to address the under-representation of black men from low-income households in large commercial law firms by providing an unprecedented opportunity for the selected candidates to receive practical support and guidance from Freshfields to help them secure a high-achieving career in the law.
Kofi is a second year law student at UCLan and the first person in his family to go to university.
The 21-year-old said: “Being the first member of my family to go to university makes me feel very proud. When I was nominated by UCLan to apply for the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship I was in disbelief that I had been chosen and when Freshfields rang and told me I’d got it I couldn't believe it.
“I’ve always been inspired by my mum who has always pushed me to achieve my dreams and supported the choices I’ve made.”
“I’m also proud to be a scholar because it’s in honour of Stephen Lawrence and I can really relate to his story. Since starting on the scholarship the dream of becoming a solicitor has never been closer.”
Kofi came to university as a foundation year student before embarking on the three year degree programme. Kofi juggles his university and scholarship studies with working part-time at the Mercure Hotel in Manchester helping with conferences and events.
“It’s a big commitment but I know it’s worth it,” he said. “I’ve had some great feedback from my mentors at Freshfields and can see I’ve improved over the last few months. Prior to the scholarship I’d never set foot in London; now there is a real chance I’ll be working there for an international law firm in only a few years’ time.
“I’ve always been inspired by my mum who has always pushed me to achieve my dreams and supported the choices I’ve made,” he added.
“We are looking forward to working with each of our scholars as they embark on building a successful career in the law.”
All scholars receive a tailored personal and professional development programme focusing on written, presentation and numeracy skills and commercial awareness; interview coaching and career guidance; one-to-one mentoring; commercial familiarisation during university holidays; an alternative route to interview for a training contract at the firm and a £3,500 contribution towards course and associated study-related costs. Freshfields is collaborating with clients and partners including Goldman Sachs to deliver aspects of the programme.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE, said: “I am thrilled to be working with Freshfields to offer these six gifted candidates such a transformative opportunity at the beginning of their legal careers.
“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.”
Freshfields’ senior partner Will Lawes said: “We are proud to welcome such talented and driven individuals to our scheme. Our scholarship’s aim is to genuinely open doors to the legal profession and at the same time ensure that we have a rich talent pool of candidates who will achieve top positions in the long-term.
“We are looking forward to working with each of our scholars as they embark on building a successful career in law.”
Find out more about the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme and see Kofi's video here.