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East Ham student gains ‘life-changing’ scholarship

Steve Lewis is among six candidates chosen for  the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme. Steve Lewis is among six candidates chosen for the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
4:33 PM

A mature student is among six people selected in the first round of the Stephen Lawrence scholarships announced by an international law firm.

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Steve Lewis, who is 43, has been selected by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to join the inaugural year of their Stephen Lawrence Scholarship programme. It will initially run for three years, with the search for the class of 2014 scholars now underway.

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.

Steve Lewis, 43, from East Ham, said: “The scholarship is life-changing – it is a dream come true. It will give me the opportunity to be a successful lawyer. I love the subject and what I am possibly able to do for other people, and I want to get young black kids interested in raising their aspirations.”

Steve left school at 16 and worked in various jobs, including as a baggage handler at London City Airport, as a mobile phone salesman, as well as working for Lloyds Bank, Land of Electricity and the Corporation of London. Aged 41, he decided to pursue his interest in the law and began a Certificate of Higher Education in Legal Methods at Birkbeck, University of London. In 2012, he started an undergraduate course in Law (LLB) at Birkbeck – London’s evening university.

As part of the application process candidates met Doreen Lawrence - the mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence - which Steve reported to be an emotional moment. He said: “Being a black man, Stephen’s murder especially touched a nerve with me. Londoners have grown up with what happened surrounding his death. I am determined to work hard and become a lawyer and I would like to give back to in order to broaden access.”

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