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NEC Scholarship Recipients 2022
Many thanks to everyone who made a financial contribution to the NEC Scholarship Award fund this year.
The purpose of the NEC Scholarships is to promote greater diversity and social mobility at the Bar. It does so by providing financial assistance to students from diverse backgrounds, who show great promise and potential, but whom may otherwise be deterred from entering the profession due to socio-economic reasons.
Building on from the Scholarship's inaugural year, last year, we were again able to raise a total Scholarship Fund of £8000.
I would like to thank Jacqueline Thomas KC, Morgan Brien, Cathy Kioko-Gilligan, Nathan Davis, Jason Pitter KC, Aisha Wadoodi and the NEC Treasurer, Gill Batts, for their efforts on behalf of the Scholarship Committee and for conducting the interviews of the final 9 candidates.
I am therefore delighted to announce that the NEC Scholars of 2022 are as follows:
Aimilia Katsoulakis - £4000
Aimilia faced a difficult upbringing which resulted in a dependence upon her mother as a single parent and sole income provider on a low-income salary. In 2014 she became the sole carer for her mother who was diagnosed with stage four cancer and unfortunately died in 2019 when Aimilia was completing her undergraduate studies. Aimilia has overcome these tragic experiences and is currently studying the BPC LLM at the University of Law. She has been financially independent since 2018 and currently works two part-time jobs to support her studies.
"My aim when applying for this scholarship was not only to assist my financial struggles, but to encourage others, from a non-traditional background, who wish to pursue a life at the bar. I am also grateful to have been granted two fantastic mentors who will guide me through this stage of my career and assist my progression to becoming a member of the Bar"
Halima Kamran - £2000
Halima grew up in Keighley and is from a working class-background. She has worked continually alongside her studies since sixth form in order to assist with the financial burden of education. She was the first member of her family to attend University, through the Access to Leeds programme, and currently resides at home whilst completing her masters in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at the University of Leeds.
"The NEC scholarship will be incredibly beneficial and will help me fund the BPC, which I will be taking in 2023. Without a scholarship, this process would be a lot more difficult and I'm grateful for the North Eastern Circuit for their help".
Bailey Paton -£2000
Bailey grew up on the East Marsh estate in Grimsby. He is a third generation British-Carribbean and was born to young parents (17). His dad is a self-employed scaffolder and his mother a teaching assistant. Bailey has excelled academically. He is currently a final year law student at the University of Hull. He resides at home for financial reasons and has had to turn to loans and a student overdraft, alongside part-time work, to support his studies.
"I can't thank the panel, and the barristers on the NEC enough for this. Prior to this process, I was unsure as to whether the financial barrier would be too great for me continuing down this path towards becoming a Barrister. These funds, and the mentorship, will steer me firmly on course and have given me huge motivation and vindication. I greatly look forward to learning from esteemed professionals such as Gill Batts and Nathan Davis and I cannot wait for the opportunity to take on a mini-pupillage."
NEC Scholarship Recipient 2021
You will no doubt be aware that all circuits are now wrestling with issues surrounding how to increase diversity across our profession. I am however delighted to say that the groundbreaking NEC Scholarship Awards are already having an effect on this circuit.
Please see the note below that I have received from Leanna Devabalan, who was one of the inaugural NEC Scholars in 2021:
"I am grateful to have been awarded the NEC scholarship. My aim in applying for the scholarship was to enhance and grow the ‘FirstGenBarristers’ scheme - an initiative I started as the first Head of Diversity of the York Law School Bar & Mooting Society to mentor and support students from diverse backgrounds. This scheme was successful, with many students going on from being novice mooters to winning internal moot competitions and holding committee positions.
Having faced opposition from the Law Society committee to make this position permanent with much needed funding, the NEC scholarship provided me with invaluable mentorship from Jason Pitter KC, who advised me on approaching the university law school to bring about FirstGens permanence at the University of York.
With funding and advice, I am pleased to confirm that York Law School is adding the FirstGenBarristers scheme to their new EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity) Champion role - a position funded by the law school. I hope to put part of the money awarded to me from the NEC into grant funding for future barristers at the University of York to utilise towards their careers. This would not have been possible without the support of the NEC. Thank you."
Your contributions to the NEC Scholarship fund are really making a difference.