Kent Law School alumnus Xavier Alexis-Greenfield has secured his second award in two consecutive years from The Honourable Society of Middle Temple.
Xavier, who graduated last summer, is the recipient of an Atkin Chambers Scholarship worth £15,750, together with a Blackstone Entrance Exhibition. The scholarship will help Xavier fund his studies at the University of Law where he will begin the Bar Practice Course later this year.
Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court; the historic societies that educate and train barristers in England and Wales. At Middle Temple, scholarships are awarded on merit after taking into account the candidate’s intellectual ability, motivation to succeed at the Bar, advocacy potential and personal qualities. The amount of the award depends on the scholar’s financial circumstances. A number of Entrance Exhibitions are also awarded annually; each Exhibition covers the Admission and Call Fees (currently £230).
Last year, shortly before he graduated, Xavier secured the Michael Sherrard Award from Middle Temple. One of Middle Temple’s Access to the Bar Awards, this award is funded by donations of senior members of the Inn. These awards are designed to support undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds who aspire to a career at the Bar. Xavier said: ‘These scholarships make becoming a barrister so much easier for someone with my economic background. The Access to the Bar Scholarship allowed me to take part in a mini-pupillage at Essex Court Chambers. It was an excellent experience. I am so very grateful to Luke Tattersall for his advice and guidance throughout the pupillage. He set both engaging and exciting work, which solidified my ambition to work at the Commercial Bar.’
For his scholarship interview this year at Middle Temple, Xavier was interviewed by a panel of three – a university lecturer and two Queen’s Counsel Barristers. Xavier said: ‘I remember having a back-and-forth dialogue with the panel about an area of law I found interesting, which made the interview feel a lot more like an enjoyable conversation.’
Xavier credits his Kent Law School lecturers for helping him to prepare for the experience of being interviewed at an Inn of Court. He said: ‘I fondly remember having to back up my arguments in Philosophy of Law seminars with Dr Steve Pethick, being quizzed on new legal developments by Dr Alan McKenna, and being critiqued in real-time on my advocacy approach by Darren Weir and Trevor Linn. I am very thankful to all my lecturers who let me ask so many questions.’
During his studies, Xavier took advantage of the Law School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme and was matched with Mentor Katherine Wood, a trainee Solicitor at Hogan Lovells (and alumna of Kent Law School). Xavier said: ‘Katherine gave me invaluable advice about studying for the LPC and helped guide my application to London Metropolitan University. Her support encouraged me to complete the course within a year of leaving Kent.’
Even before he began his Law LLB studies at Kent, Xavier said he knew he wanted to become qualified as a solicitor and a barrister: ‘I specifically chose modules that would develop my abilities in both fields. I am particularly grateful to Darren Weir for his Mock Trial Advocacy module since it reinforced my passion for the Bar.’
Since graduating last summer, Xavier has been studying a Legal Practice LLM (incorporating a Legal Practice Course) at London Metropolitan University. He said: ‘I chose their course due to its location and independent focus, which allowed me to work as an Academic Advisor at Kent Law School. This opportunity helped develop my skills, as I had to keep up to date with new developments within the legal sector to ensure that I could help the students as and when they needed it.’
Once qualified, Xavier hopes to specialise in internet regulation and intellectual property law.
And his top tip for fellow aspiring barristers? Xavier said: ‘The best advice I can give aspiring barristers is the same advice I was given by my Academic Advisor when I started at Kent: Time management is key. If you plan your time well, you can do well and enjoy your time studying.’