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Tyerone overcomes challenging childhood to win a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship

Having your dad walk out of your life aged 13 weeks and then losing your mum a fortnight before your 11th birthday may not be an instant recipe for success.

But Tyerone Trotman has overcome that unsettling childhood, one that saw him move to live with his uncle and aunt, and frequently switching schools.



Tyerone Trotman

Canny enough to knuckle down at school and earn a place to study for a degree in Economics and Finance at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Tyerone has now been awarded a top scholarship which could set him on the path for a promising career in law or banking.

The 20-year-old has been awarded a prestigious Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship provided by global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’).

The scholarship offers opportunities into a career as a lawyer, or into other City careers through the involvement of US firm Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England.

“I was speechless when I heard,” Tyerone said. “I was well and truly lost for words when they called me up to tell me.

“It honestly means the world to me that I’ve been given this opportunity to show the world what I am capable of and to be able to make my mum proud.”

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, now Chancellor of DMU, founded The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in memory of her son Stephen, who died after being stabbed in a racist attack in April 1993.

This is the fifth year of the scholarship, set up by Freshfields to seek to address the under-representation of black and black mixed-race men from less privileged backgrounds in large commercial law firms.

BAME (1)

DMU is one of only six universities selected to pilot the expansion of the Freshfields scheme this year to students that are not studying law.

The scholarship means that over his second year, Tyerone will benefit from

  •  A 15-month development programme
    * Commercial familiarisation at Freshfields, Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England during university holidays
    *  Mentoring
    *  An alternative route to interview stage for a two-year training contract with Freshfields
    *  A £3,500 study-related bursary.

Tyerone was growing up in a single parent, low income, family in the small Hertfordshire village of Knebworth when his life was thrown upside down by the death of his mum in March 2008.

The subsequent move to his uncle’s in Letchworth meant changing school – that was in Year 7, but was followed by other school swaps in Year 8 and again in Year 12.

“I faced a few troubles changing schools as I was in a completely alien environment,” Tyerone admitted.

“But I managed to remain driven as making my mum proud was paramount to me after everyone had almost written me off.

“I was offered an unconditional place at DMU and was able to focus on my exams without having to worry too much about my place at the uni.”

That focus held him in good stead during his first year at DMU, which is when he first heard about the scholarship.

He signed up to attend an Insight Day at Freshfields’ offices on London’s Fleet Street, and following that was nominated by DMU as exceptionally talented for the scheme’s two-day assessment. A two-minute video accompanied the application.

“Around the time of the Insight Day I was deep in work, with important lectures and a presentation to do on the day, which almost deterred me from applying,” he said.

“However, my tutor, Tom Allen, told me I could miss the lectures and he would explain my absence to my lecturers. I was able to move my presentation to a later date which was an enormous help.

“The Insight Day really opened my eyes to the opportunities that are on offer with the scholarship.”

Annette Byron, Partner Sponsor for Social Mobility at Freshfields, commented: “We believe that this scholarship is unique. We draw on innovative assessment techniques to gauge potential across many areas, and our development programme equips scholars with the skills necessary to become top class lawyers or to enter other City professions. We hope to make a real difference – which we define as people from different backgrounds joining, staying and succeeding in the legal profession, and, in turn, continuing to strengthen organisational culture around inclusivity.”

Posted on Tuesday 25th July 2017

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