• Distinguished alumni head up new scholarship scheme launched by University of Law 

    11 February 2014

    The University of Law has launched the ‘University of Law Alumni Scholarship Awards’ fronted by Fiona Woolf CBE, Lord Mayor of London and University of Law Chancellor designate; Nic Coward, General Secretary to the Premier League; and John Pickering, Group Chief Executive and Partner at Irwin Mitchell.

    The University of Law is introducing new full fee scholarships in the names of three of its most eminent alumni to help the next generation of legal talent achieve their ambitions.

    The three scholarships are open to anyone who is planning to take either the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), the LL.M Legal Practice Course (LL.M LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) commencing this September at The University of Law (ULaw). The GDL and LL.M LPC can be studied at any ULaw centre and the BPTC at the London Bloomsbury and Birmingham centres on a full- or part-time basis.

    The new alumni scholarships are in addition to the 95 scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses that ULaw has already announced for 2014, which are worth nearly £400,000. 

    Professor Nigel Savage, President of The University of Law, said: “In the world of legal education, as in life, one is judged by the company one keeps and we are immensely proud to have helped put three such distinguished lawyers as Fiona, John and Nic on the path to success.

    “It’s a great honour to be able to put their names to our new scholarships and hearing the details of how they built their careers will hopefully inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps. Our scholarships aim to attract the most talented and creative students into Law, irrespective of background or personal circumstances, and we now have one of the most comprehensive scholarship schemes in legal education.”

    Fiona Woolf has built a highly successful international practice at CMS Cameron McKenna focusing on major energy reform and infrastructure projects. In November 2013 she became only the second woman to be elected Lord Mayor of London since 1189. 

    Speaking about her reaction to having a ULaw scholarship named after her she said: “I’m really thrilled about the scholarship scheme and being part of it because we want to attract the best and the brightest people into Law whatever their background. As a woman I am very keen on capturing the benefits of diversity and including everybody in the Law. It’s something I have worked on for years and it’s extremely close to my heart. I’m delighted that The University of Law is doing this.”

    Nic Coward became the Football Association’s first in-house lawyer after qualifying at international law firm Freshfields. After a period as the first CEO of the governing body of British horseracing, he returned to football in 2011 to join the Premier League.

    He said: “I’ve had a fantastic time working in sport and my legal training has made that happen for me so it’s a real honour and privilege to be involved in the scholarship programme. If I can help others to get involved in a career in Law then that’s something I’m really delighted to be part of.”

    John Pickering was the first member of his family to go to university, benefitting from a scholarship himself. He joined Irwin Mitchell after completing his legal training, became a partner aged 24 and headed up the firm’s personal injury division for more than 20 years, overseeing a period of dramatic growth in this specialism.

    He said: “It’s rather humbling to have your name attached to a scholarship and I am very proud. I have enjoyed a terrific career in the Law, which is an exciting and very rewarding profession. If this scholarship can help other people gain access to the profession then that is really good news.”  

    Figures published by The Law Society show that career opportunities in Law are set to grow, with the number of legal professionals, including solicitors, barristers and judges, forecast to increase by nearly 20 per cent by 2020i. With median graduate starting salaries at £39,000ii, the legal profession has one of the highest graduate salary profiles across all industry sectors, second only to investment banking.

    Developing students’ employability skills is key to ULaw’s ethos and 89%iii of full time students graduating from its LPC in 2012 had secured positions in the legal profession just a few months after graduating. In total 97% were in work, legal positions or continuing education.

    To apply for a University of Law Alumni Scholarship Award students must submit a written piece setting out why they are choosing Law. For more details on entering and to view videos of the alumni talking about their legal careers go to: www.chooselaw.co.uk  

    Alumni Biographies

    Videos of the three alumni talking about why they were attracted to Law and how they have gained immense satisfaction over the years from being part of the profession are now available to view on ULaw’s Choose Law website: www.chooselaw.co.uk 


    Nic Coward
    General Secretary
    The Premier League

    Nic Coward, General Secretary, The Premier League


    Nic graduated from the University of Bristol in 1989 and The College of Law at Guildford in 1990. He joined the international law firm Freshfields, where he qualified as a commercial litigator before joining the Football Association as its first in-house lawyer. Starting before EURO ’96, he had a wide range of roles and responsibilities over eight years, including acting chief executive, and a director at Wembley Stadium.  

    Nic later became the first chief executive of the governing body of British horseracing, the nation’s second biggest spectator sport. He was on the board of the statutory body responsible for the financial return from betting to the sport, and of the International Horseracing Federation. 

    In 2011, he returned to football to join the Premier League, the most followed and watched league competition in the world.  He is on the board of the European Leagues Association and the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council. 

    Other roles have included the first chair of the Sport Rights Owners Coalition, a global sports coalition campaigning on IP and broadcasting policy, Treasurer of the Sport and Recreation Alliance and a director of Sport Resolutions, the UK’s independent sport’s dispute resolution service, as well as the British Association for Sport and Law.


    John Pickering
    Group Chief Executive and Partner 
    Irwin Mitchell,

    John Pickering, Group Chief Executive and Partner, Irwin Mitchell


    John was the first member of his family to go to university, with the help of a Rotherham Borough Major Scholarship.  He received his law degree from Manchester University in 1976 and joined Irwin Mitchell after a six-month LPC at The College of Law in Chester.

    He qualified as a solicitor at the age of 23, was made a partner a year later and is now Irwin Mitchell’s Group Chief Executive. Before taking on his current role, John headed up the firm’s personal injury division for more than 20 years and oversaw a period of dramatic growth in this legal specialism. His contribution to the personal injury field led to him becoming a Senior Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

    As well as his leadership role with Irwin Mitchell, John is widely involved in the wider legal community. For example, he is a member of the Civil Justice Council and chair of the Council’s Experts Committee, which enables him to engage in the law reform agenda.

    John’s other credits include President of the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers, Secretary and Executive Committee Member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Vice-Chair of both the Clinical Disputes Forum and Child Brain Injury Trust. He is also on the Board of the American Association for Justice and chairs its International Relations Committee and International Practice Section.  


    Fiona Woolf CBE
    Consultant CMS Cameron McKenna
    Lord Mayor of London,

    Fiona Woolf CBE, Consultant CMS Cameron McKenna, Lord Mayor of London


    In 2013 Fiona became only the second woman to be elected Lord Mayor of London since 1189. 

    As a leading figure in the electricity sector for more than 20 years, Fiona has been at the cutting edge of major reforms in the industry. She has advised 28 governments and the World Bank on privatisation and energy reforms and was awarded the CBE for her contribution to the UK knowledge economy and invisible earnings.

    Fiona has built a highly successful international practice at CMS Cameron McKenna, which combines law, engineering and economics and focuses on innovative energy and major projects covering energy reform and infrastructure. Over the last two decades she has established a unique reputation around the globe.

    She is a past President of the Law Society, was a member of the Competition Commission until 2013 and has held posts with numerous organisations in the charitable, army, water and business sectors.

    Fiona studied law at Keele University and the University of Strasbourg before qualifying as a solicitor in 1973 and working at Clifford Chance. She joined CMS Cameron McKenna in 1981 and her honours include a Senior Fellowship from Harvard University and honorary doctorates from Keele University and The University of Law.   

    She is also an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple and is due to become Chancellor of The University of Law in November 2014.      



    For further information please contact:

    Lucy Wray, Public Relations Manager, The University of Law 
    Telephone: 01483 216072 
    E-mail: lucy.wray@law.ac.uk

    Broadgate Mainland
    Mark Knight/ Sarah Evans Toyne/ Lianne Robinson/ Cara Penkethman
    Telephone: 020 7726 6111
    E-mail: theuniversityoflaw@broadgatemainland.com 


    References
    The Legal Services Industry, Part 1 – an overview’ – published by The Law Society, January 18, 2013  

    ii High Fliers report

    iiiThe University of Law (based on figures for students whose destinations are known)