CMS Cameron McKenna (CMS) has awarded bursaries to four school-leaver

CMS Cameron McKenna (CMS) has awarded bursaries to four school-leavers in the second year of a competition designed to support aspiring lawyers from underprivileged backgrounds.

The firm’s annual bursary competition, which launched last year, provides bursaries worth £2,500 a year to Year 12 students to support their law degrees.

Candidates are able to win bursaries if they in the first generation of their family to attend university, meet certain financial criteria and gain ABB grades or equivalent at A-level.

Of over 60 students submitting an essay on a legal topic, 12 were invited to an assessment day at CMS’ London office and were evaluated by a team of partners and lawyers led by senior associate Sarah Hyde.

Hyde led a team of 60 volunteers over a nine-month period to handle duties including nominating schools, designing essay questions and marking essays as well as interviewing and mentoring students.

A 13-strong judging panel including financial services partners Alison McHaffie and Maxine Cupitt and real estate and energy partner Tim Pitt selected Christine Clark from Harrogate, Hannah Gane from Somerset, Jenny Tran from Edinburgh and Sophia Hoondle from London as the competition winners.

All 12 shortlisted candidates have been offered mentoring support from the firm’s lawyers through their university applications, which include the LNAT national law test, and will be invited to a sample work experience placement next year.

CMS senior partner Dick Tyler said: “The scheme reinforces our commitment to making the legal profession more accessible, regardless of background. The competition reaches out to those students with true talent and the potential for a highly successful legal career.”

The scheme launched after Hyde proposed the initiative to the firm’s social mobility committee in late 2011.