Bedford student wins scholarship from global law firm

A man who lives in Bedford and overcame personal setbacks to pursue his dream of being a lawyer has won a coveted scholarship from a global law firm.

Foster Mukhwapa is one of just 10 undergraduates from UK universities to be selected by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence 2016 Scholarship.

The scholarship aims to address the under-representation of black men from low-income households in large commercial law firms.

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Benefits and opportunities Foster can now take advantage of include an alternative route to a training contract interview with Freshfields, work shadowing, tailor-made skills sessions, £3,500 towards his study costs, career guidance and one-to-one mentoring with five legal experts drawn from Freshfields, Goldman Sachs, the Bank of England and the University of Northampton.

The scheme’s previous scholars had the opportunity to shadow Freshfields staff, work on a mock project with experts and carry out work experience at Goldman Sachs.

“It really is a dream come true. I have already benefited from a number of skills sessions under the scholarship scheme,” said Foster.

The road hasn’t been easy for Foster, who emigrated to the UK from Malawi in 2011.

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“When I was in secondary school I lost my father, who was just 46,” said Foster, who lives in Bedford with his wife and two children.

“As a result, I had to fund my college education personally. I did this by working, and during my time at work I came into contact with people who worked in the legal profession, and I realised this was something I wanted to do.

“It’s been a struggle, but I’ve survived. And now this scholarship is an opportunity to work with the best.”

Sophie Lomas, senior lecturer in law at the University of Northampton, said: “Foster is a talented and dedicated student who performed exceptionally well during the first year of his studies at the University.

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“At the end of his first year he won the prize for the best academic performance in his year group and was also elected as President of the Student Law Society.

“We are extremely proud that he has been successful in his application to become a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence 2016 Scholar and that his talents have been recognised outside the University.

“We have no doubt that Foster will make the most of this prestigious opportunity and we wish him every success.”