Global law firm DLA Piper has awarded 21 scholarships to students from some of the world's least developed countries in the inaugural year of its Global Scholarship Programme.
Law students from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia will receive substantial financial support towards studies in their home countries, in addition to robust career mentoring from lawyers across the firm, and a series of global placements.
The recruitment process ensured the students were both high-achieving and ambitious to improve the rule of law in their countries. One winning applicant from Ethiopia declared in her application, "I knew my life would be incomplete if I failed to bring change to my country. Among my priorities was creating a self-reliant Africa."
President of International Lawyers, Dame Linda Dobbs, who was born in Sierra Leone and became a High Court judge in the UK, helped DLA Piper Global Co-Chairman Juan Picón to launch the Programme in London. Dame Linda praised the programme for "enabling opportunities, realising potential and promoting change."
Juan Picón said: "Whilst the firm has a long history of supporting student lawyers and promoting social mobility, this programme increases the depth of our work with a smaller pool of students, making it truly transformative.
"We believe this is the first scholarship programme of its kind and have worked with leaders in the social mobility sphere to create a programme which contributes to the rule of law within least developed countries without acting as a brain drain for talented students.
"We hope that the students will use their experiences to strengthen the infrastructure within their home countries, whether they choose to follow careers in the legal or business spheres."
The firm will award further scholarships in December this year.
This initiative is part of our Break into Law programme.