Graduation 12.07.24

Laying down the law: from scholarships to notable graduate roles, meet the Salford Law students already making their mark

This July, University of Salford Business School students, Deborah Okanlawon, Lucy Wall, Sanaz Saf Shekan and Sumain Bi, are graduating with first class LLB Law degrees and clear pathways into the industry.

Sumain Bi has been awarded the prestigious Salford Bridge Scholarship with BPP, to cover £5,000 towards her SQE (Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination) fees, while enabling her to further build on the core skills and competences she’s learnt throughout her undergraduate degree as she progresses into the early stages of her legal career. Sumain is the first person in her family to go to university and is already slated to be an industry trailblazer.

Sumain, who graduates with a first class degree and at one point juggled two jobs alongside her studies, commented: “This is an incredibly proud moment for me, graduating with a first class degree as well as a scholarship to continue on my career trajectory. Originating from a working class ethnic minority background and being a first generation university student is an achievement in itself, but attaining a first is the icing on the cake.”

On being awarded her scholarship from BPP, Sumain added: “I feel so privileged to have been awarded BPP’s Bridge the Gap scholarship, after being told I was the most deserving, in recognition of all of my hard work. I am truly grateful for this opportunity, as it aids me to being that one step closer to a career as a successful Solicitor.”

Fellow LLB Law student, Sanaz Saf Shekan, also graduates with a first class degree and has received the Aya Hachem Memorial Prize for Best Civic Contribution. This is due to Sanaz’s outstanding achievements during her time at the University, as well as the considerable level of time she has spent volunteering at the University’s SILKs Law Clinic, supporting on both housing and family law cases.

The Aya Hachem Memorial Prize is a monetary award of £500 and was named in memory of much-loved student Aya, who was accidentally and tragically killed in a drive by shooting in May 2020. Aya was part way through her Law course at the University of Salford at the time and wanted to become a Lawyer.

Sanaz commented: “It’s an absolute honour to have been chosen to receive such an impressive award – it’s a real proud moment for me. Being able to develop my skills in the dynamic, friendly and supportive environment Salford Business School provides has been instrumental in my success at university.”

In addition, Deborah Okanlawon graduates with a first class degree and a training contract with global law firm, DLA Piper, after doing her placement year with Express Solicitors where she continued to work part-time for the remainder of her studies.

Deborah, who is also the first person in her family to go to University, said: “Graduating with a first class degree is something I’m incredibly proud of and I’m now well on my way to becoming the Commercial Lawyer I’d set my sights on years ago.

“For me, my next focus is the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) which I will start this coming September and then upon completion, I will begin my training contract with commercial law firm, DLA Piper – something I’ve been working towards since first year. I don’t have any connections or family members currently working in the legal field, so this is a huge achievement that I’m proud of.”

Lucy Wall, who was also President of the University’s law society, Level Up Law, has hopes of becoming a Paralegal, specialising in either employment, family or housing law. Throughout her degree, Lucy has been documenting her journey into the sector via social media after launching her dedicated Instagram account, @lucyslegaljourney, which has amassed a strong following of other budding Lawyers.

Alongside her studies, society work and volunteering at the University’s own law clinic, SILKs, Lucy has completed bouts of work experience at various organisations, including with Prosperity Law LLP, Maya Solicitors and the Crown Prosecution Service.

On inspiring other aspiring Lawyers, Lucy commented: “I’m the first person in my immediate family to go to university so, if you are also a first-generation university student with no previous contacts and connections in the industry like me, create your own opportunities by putting yourself forward for committee roles and work experience. Also, focus on networking and connect with professionals on LinkedIn to establish yourself not only as a student, but as a future Lawyer.”

Louise Hall, Senior Lecturer in Law (Practice) and Solicitor, as well as SILKS Lead at Salford Business School, concluded: “These students are nothing short of amazing. To see the unwavering dedication and commitment each of them has put into not only their studies, but volunteering, placements/work experience, networking and extracurricular activities to help further their careers alongside obtaining their degrees really is inspirational.”