Talented young students get bursary boost | 04 March 08

ONE of the region’s top law firms is continuing its drive to invest in the North-East’s next generation of legal talent.

Bursary students with Ward Hadaway managing partner Jamie Martin

Student success – Ward Hadaway managing partner Jamie Martin (third from right) with bursary winners (from left) James Turnbull, Laura Bailey, Philip Boyle, Scott Gardiner and Luke Goulding.

Newcastle-based Ward Hadaway awards bursaries of £1,750 each to six Durham University law students for every year of their three-year courses.

The recipients – all from the North-East and all educated in the state sector –also get a month’s paid work experience at Ward Hadaway and the chance to progress further in the firm once their studies are finished.

Ward Hadaway is the only law firm in the North-East to operate a bursary programme. It was first introduced in 2002 to help gifted students from the region who want to remain here to study law.

The bursary is open to all students from the North-East who apply to read law at Durham University and supports them throughout the three years of their law degree.

This year, first year undergraduates Luke Goulding, from Sunderland, and Scott Gardiner, from Washington, were selected as bursary students and were awarded their first annual cheque at a celebratory lunch in Ward Hadaway’s boardroom.

They were joined by other Ward Hadaway bursary students – second year undergraduate Philip Boyle, from Ushaw Moor, Durham, and third year undergraduates Laura Bailey from Houghton-le-Spring and James Turnbull from Burradon.

Luke, 18, who was previously at St Joseph’s Comprehensive School in Sunderland, said: “While the funding is useful, the really valuable thing about the bursary is the work experience aspect.

“You get the feeling that the people at Ward Hadaway really want you here and want to give you a real insight into what a career in the law is like.”

Nineteen-year-old Scott Gardiner, who did his A-levels at Newcastle College after studying at Park View Community School in Washington, said: “I really value the practical insight into the law which this will give me - it will be very useful for me when deciding which area of the law I want to specialise in.”

As well as completing invaluable work experience at Ward Hadaway, bursary students can progress to the second stage of the selection process to secure a full-time training contract position at the firm, should they decide to continue their legal training in the region after completing their degree course.

Neil Cobb, Director of Prizes and Bursaries and lecturer in Law at Durham University, said: “Staff and students continue to take great pride in our relationship with Ward Hadaway and the generous support it provides our regional undergraduates.”

In September last year, Louise Graham from Darlington - one of the first recipients of a Ward Hadaway Bursary at Durham University – joined the firm’s two year trainee solicitor programme.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “We have some excellent young legal talent here in the North-East and it is very pleasing as a firm to play a part in helping to develop that talent.

“This programme is really important as it gives us the opportunity to put something back into the community and helps to strengthen our relationship with Durham University.

“Nurturing and promoting the region’s rising talent – and retaining it within the North-East – is the best way of ensuring its continuing prosperity and this programme hopefully demonstrates to students that the North-East can offer a stimulating and rewarding career in the law.”