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Graduate wins prestigious scholarship to begin studying at the Bar

A graduate from De Montfort University’s (DMU)’s Law school has won a prestigious scholarship to study as a barrister.

Faisal Muhammed has been given £7,500 by the Middle Temple, one of four Inns of Court through which barristers are called to the Bar.


He was delighted with the scholarship: “I’m very pleased because it shows they have confidence in me as an advocate and they see potential.”

It is the fourth year in a row that a De Montfort Law School student has won a prestigious Middle Temple scholarship towards their Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) – a ringing endorsement of the quality of teaching.

Faisal, of Derby, came to DMU following an open day and soon fell in love with the law. Knowing how furiously competitive the legal professions is, it was not long before he started to look at ways of adding value to his CV.

His tutors at De Montfort Law School helped him line up work experience at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau but in his second year, Faisal also organised regular work for a pro bono firm in London, helping people who had lost their benefits appeal the decision.

He discovered the scholarships on offer after senior lecturer Louise Jacklin, formerly a practising barrister, invited one of the barristers to come and talk to students.    

He said: “It was fascinating and it cemented what I wanted to do. He gave us some practical advice and talked about what their days were like and the jobs of solicitors and barristers, and I decided I wanted to be a barrister.”

After putting together a successful application, Faisal was invited to a panel interview in London where he was awarded the Harmsworth Scholarship. The BPTC is the mandatory professional qualification prior to securing a pupillage (practical training) and becoming a barrister.

Talking about his pro bono work and experience dealing with clients helped him stand out. He said: “You can’t just do the course and get the grades anymore. It won’t get you a place and it won’t get you a scholarship.

“My work experience at the CAB and pro bono was great because you’re handling real-life clients with real queries. You learn how to deal with people and to make your case before the courts. I also have done mini pupillage and marshalling, working with judges and showed commitment and experience.”

He thanked his DMU tutors, particularly Louise Jacklin and senior lecturer Debra Brown, for their help and support: “Their teaching style was easy to understand, knowledgeable and approachable. They were also there if you needed help, and I was really grateful for that.”

Debra Brown, principal lecturer in Law, said: “This is excellent news and very well done to Faisal. I am sure he will do well.”

Faisal has the following advice for students who want to follow in his footsteps: “If you want to become a barrister you have to show commitment to the Bar, so you will need mooting, public speaking, mini pupillages, marshalling and experience with real clients. 
 Even now, with the scholarship, only 30% of students from my course will succeed and get a pupillage.”

Posted on Wednesday 19th August 2015

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