Scholarship sets student Brian’s sights on a career in the City

Date 7.01.2022

A University of Northampton Law student reflects on his scholarship experience with top global law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and plans for his legal career.

After a competitive application process involving assessment centres, interviews, and creating a two-minute pitch video, Brian Ngure, was selected by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) for the Stephen Lawrence Scholarship.

The Scholarship works to address the disproportionate under-representation of black and black mixed-race men from less socially mobile backgrounds in large commercial law firms.

Brian said: “When I got the call to say I had been successful I was really surprised and pleased. I almost didn’t answer the call, I don’t normally answer if I don’t recognise the number, but I did, and the opportunity offered by the scholarship has been amazing.”

Over the course of the 15-month scholarship, Brian has had the opportunity to shadow Freshfields staff, work on legal problems and exercises, access expert career and industry advice from people working in investment banks, insurance firms, the Bank of England, and more. Not long after the scholarship started, the pandemic hit, so Brian has spilt his time between the Freshfields offices in Central London and virtual session with the Firm.

Talking about the experience, he said: “I’ve enjoyed the mix of legal work, from exercises in contract drafting and checking to wider business problems with other departments at Freshfields, as well as meeting and networking with contacts at other leading City law firms.”

The road hasn’t been easy for Brian, living alone and studying during the pandemic, and overcoming personal challenges.

Brian believes that the power of people helped him through a tough time, he said: “It’s been a struggle, but I’ve survived. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last two years is that I don’t have to do things alone.

“For a little while, I was questioning the direction I had chosen, so much so I was ready to have a total change and even considered leaving the university. Then I talked to my tutors, and the Freshfields team, they helped me put things back into perspective and on the right track.

“Don’t ever give up, and don’t do things in isolation. Talk to people and see if they can help or give you a different perspective. When you put in the effort, you’ll be able to find a way through anything. A good support network, which you can call on when things are tough or are not going the way you want them to, is such an important thing.”

Dominic Carrington, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Northampton and coordinator for the Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme for the University said: “Brian is an extremely enthusiastic and willing student, who has shown great resilience, which are all important skills for a legal career. I am extremely proud that he was selected to become a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholar, and that he has got so much out of the experience, and that his talents have been recognised outside the University. I look forward to arranging other eligible students to benefit from this prestigious scholarship scheme.”

As Brian continues his studies on the Law LLB programme, he has his sights firmly set on a legal career with a City firm, “The scholarship has helped me make connections with recruiters in Freshfields, and other prestigious firms. I’m now focused on working hard, being proactive with gaining other vacation internships and work experience opportunities, and getting myself ready to apply for training contacts. The scholarship has inspired my passion to work for a big firm. I can’t wait to start my legal career.”