Essex law graduate wins prestigious scholarship

  • Date

    Tue 14 Jul 20

A recent law graduate has won a prestigious and valuable scholarship, enabling him to train as a barrister.

Kwame Taylor, who graduated with an LLB Law with Philosophy in 2019, has been awarded the prestigious H.R. Light Scholarship by the Middle Temple.

This scholarship, awarded on merit, will cover the £14,000 costs of the Bar course.

Kwame, who admits to being “quite surprised” at his success, said: “I knew I wanted to join Middle Temple. They interview every applicant which to me was a sign that they were more progressive. That motivated me - I knew I could make an impression.”

Professor Maurice Sunkin, QC (Hons.) said: “This is a great achievement. Training for the Bar is demanding but at Essex we equip our students well. This is especially true if they have gained experience with mooting, as Kwame has.”

“I’m sure my colleagues would wish to join me in congratulating Kwame and to wish him every success in his career. We very much look forward to following his progress."

Kwame was born in Ghana. He moved to the UK with his family as a child, growing up in Waltham Forest, east London. He admits to having a bit of a "blip" at 'A' Levels, but made up for lost time as an undergraduate at Essex.

Kwame Taylor said: “Essex was definitely a place where I felt I could build a relationship with the academics. My lecturers were always approachable and I’m still in touch with some of them.

“Law and philosophy was a great combination. The end goal was always to be a lawyer, but the two subjects balanced each other well. Taking philosophy gave me room to explore ideas, away from the rigidity of law.

“I felt I got the best of both worlds.”

In his time at Essex, Kwame even studied Canadian case law in his spare time, to take part in the Mackay Cup, a nationwide mooting competition: “I think I was the only non-Canadian competing.”

Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court. The Inns are professional associations - every barrister in England and Wales must belong to one of them.

Candidates applying for its scholarships are assessed on: intellectual ability; motivation to succeed at the Bar; potential as an advocate; and personal qualities, including self-reliance, integrity and the capacity to work effectively with others.

The interview panel for the scholarships comprised three QCs. Kwame says the experience was “very intimidating, but they were very friendly. They tried their best to make me feel relaxed.”

Kwame was also awarded the Blackstone Entrance Exhibition, which will help with additional costs during the Bar Course.

The Bar Course is a one year vocational course. At the end of it, Kwame will apply to chambers for pupillage, a further year’s training, at the end of which he would become a registered barrister.