Bird & Bird announces today the launch of its Bursary, which will provide financial assistance to talented students from underprivileged backgrounds to study Law at university. As well as providing financial assistance, the firm will provide a mentoring programme to offer these students support and career guidance, including time with newly qualified trainees and partners. The selection process is currently underway and the first candidates will be announced later this summer.
The Bird & Bird Bursary has appointed a Patron, Rehana Azib, a barrister who was recently awarded Young Achiever of the Year 2009 at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. Rehana combines her busy employment and personal injury practice at the bar with active participation in various charities and community initiatives.
The Bursary will be led by Partner Simon Shooter, who commented: “The Law Society’s Annual Statistical Report 2008 shows that 10.7 per cent of practising solicitors in England come from an ethnic minority background. The diversity of those in law must begin to reflect the multicultural society we live in. We believe that helping to remove a financial obstacle that may deter bright young people from schools in socially deprived areas from going to university to read law, is a valuable step that will hopefully go towards improving diversity in the legal profession.
Rehana’s appointment is extremely important to us as well. She is an inspiring individual whose achievements and widespread impact on various communities make her an ideal Patron for the Bursary.”
Commenting on her own appointment, Rehana Azib added: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to become involved with Bird & Bird’s Bursary. This is a cause I can personally relate to as, not coming from an economically privileged background, I endured financial hardship throughout my studies from school through to pupillage.
Minority groups need to be encouraged and assisted in pursuing a career in Law at the outset, which will address the question of under representation in the profession generally, and eventually at judicial level. I hope that by providing both financial assistance and mentoring, it will remove some of the barriers that minority groups face when contemplating a career in Law.”
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Notes to editors
Biography of Rehana Azib
Rehana is a personal injury and employment barrister practising in London. She was born in Derby where she attended private school on full-scholarship and left with the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award amongst other school prizes.
She obtained a law degree from the University of Oxford in 2001 and was subsequently awarded two scholarships to study for her Bar Vocational Course. She was called to the Bar in 2003. Rehana has done extensive work for mental health charities and in particular, in representing the interests of black and minority ethnic communities. Despite practising as a barrister full time, she is actively involved with her charity work. Rehana has been interviewed and photographed in the Sunday Telegraph magazine for her personal style and was jointly awarded the Young Achiever of the Year Award 2009 at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.
About Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird is an international legal practice comprising Bird & Bird LLP and its affiliated and associated businesses, and has offices in Beijing, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm and Warsaw.