Help Mo become a barrister!

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My name is Mohamed and I recently graduated from Somerville College at Oxford University with an Upper Second Class in History. I have received an offer from City University Law School to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (the GDL), and now need to raise £14,900 in tuition fees and other costs to enable me to attend and pursue my dream of becoming a barrister.

Born in Croydon, I was raised by my mother, a Somali Muslim immigrant who arrived in the UK unable to speak English. Against the odds, she gradually learnt the language, found a job in childcare and raised her children. In the process, she instilled in me several virtues, most importantly that hard work and determination were the route to success. Our working-class family had limited financial means, but my mother always kept us happy and healthy. As I split my time between my schoolwork, translating for her, and helping care for my younger siblings, my mother’s own strength and sacrifice kept me focused on the idea that excelling in my education would enable me to achieve my own dreams.

Against this background, I worked hard at my local state school and, with the help of my family, teachers and friends, became one of my school’s top GCSE and A Level performers. In January 2016, I became my school’s first, and to this day only, student to receive an offer from Oxford or Cambridge. Whilst the idea of attending Oxford was terrifying, I continued to work hard at my studies and met my offer. 

Whilst at Oxford I took up as many opportunities as possible. I served on seven committees, volunteered over 300 hours to help disadvantaged sixth form students apply to Oxbridge, and undertook a year abroad in Paris researching my thesis. I could never have afforded to do this without the kindness and support I received from the Moritz Heyman scholarship, Oxford University and Somerville College. 

During this time I decided that I wanted to become a barrister. Having advocated for several causes, LGBTQ+ rights, greater mental health support for students and more schemes for BAME Oxbridge applicants amongst others, I began to consider the idea of a legal career and came to the conclusion that the bar would be the place for me. Somewhere where I could not only continue advocating on behalf of others, but also somewhere that would challenge, excite and interest me for many years to come. Something that in particular draws me to a career as a barrister is that the legal rights many take for granted are not universal. The practical reality for many is that the law is one thing for some people and very different for others. For example, stop and searches target black people 40 times more  than their white counterparts. 

Unfortunately the bar has severe access issues. Financially, for non-law undergraduates such as myself, the GDL is expensive, with student finance unavailable for the course I have chosen to pursue. Additionally, black applicants have half the chance of obtaining pupillage , the necessary training step in a barrister’s career, as their white counterparts. Challenging institutions like the police when they abuse their powers, such as stop and search, to target ethnic minorities is difficult when there is an inherent lack of representation in the legal profession with the experience and drive to challenge such inequalities.

However, I remain undeterred from a career at the bar. Whilst, I have exhausted scholarship options, and have therefore turned to fundraising for my GDL course.  I hope I can count on your support as I continue to follow my mother’s mantra that hard work and education is the key to success.

Why City University

The bar is incredibly competitive. A recent article  stated that the competition for pupillages is incredibly high, with the success rates for black applicants often being half that of their white counterparts. This means I must capitalise on every opportunity I can get.

Against these odds, City University Law School has an excellent track record of producing successful barristers. Their success rate is about 50%, with other providers having much lower statistics.

In addition, City University provides a wealth of extra-curricular opportunities that help prospective barristers maximise their chances of success. For example their free language centre courses will enable me to continue to develop my French. 

Breakdown of costs:

City University charges £11,900 for tuition fees and recommends that students have at least £11,560 to pay off living costs. I intend to work for most of the year and thanks to some budget cutting, I have lowered the shortfall to £3000 in living costs and £11,900 in tuition fees. 

How you can help

I have six weeks to raise £14,900. Whilst this seems a huge challenge, I am hopeful that with your support we can reach this target. Any donation of any size will help me achieve my dream of becoming a barrister and will be incredibly appreciated. I recognise in this difficult time not everyone has the means to donate, so any help sharing my fundraising page with friends and colleagues, would be much appreciated!


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Mohamed Hussein Iman 
South Croydon, Greater London, United Kingdom
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