Maurice Watkins Bursary makes first awards to aspiring Manc lawyers within six weeks!

In August, we partnered with leading law firm Brabners to launch a bursary helping disadvantaged young Mancunians to begin a career in law.



The bursary was named in memory of Maurice Watkins CBE, an iconic legal figure and former Brabners Partner, and was announced on the one-year anniversary of his passing.


Brabners made a generous initial pledge of £10,000 per annum for the first three years, which we administer through our unique Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund.


We’re delighted to announce that two bright, young, aspiring lawyers have already successfully applied to We Love MCR and are being supported with funds from the Maurice Watkins Bursary – meet Lydia and Elizabeth!


· Lydia

Lydia is a budding lawyer in the making, whose ambition is to work in human rights law in the future. Described by her college as an outstanding student, the 17yr old has already had work experience with a law firm, thanks to the University of Manchester’s 'Pathways to Law’ programme. Lydia plans to join UoM’s Law course on achieving her predicted A-Level results!


On top of excelling academically and spending time on the Law programme, Lydia also works two part-time jobs to support herself. She is currently living semi-independently at Manchester Foyer, a place offering accommodation to young Mancunians estranged from their families. As a Looked After Child, Lydia is unable to rely on parents to support her financially, unlike many of her peers.


Lydia applied to the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for £2,136 to cover the costs of a quality laptop and an iPad pro, both of which would accelerate her studies, improve her revision, and allow for extra-curricular legal analysis. Our Trustees were delighted to award this to Lydia, and we look forward to following this hardworking young woman’s journey!


· Elizabeth

Elizabeth is an 18yr old from Blackley in North Manchester who applied to us whilst she was still a student at Xaverian College, waiting for A-Level results that would hopefully allow her to go on to study Law. Elizabeth has developed a keen interest in commercial law, specifically how it impacts on small businesses, telling us in 10 years’ time she also hopes to use the knowledge gained to support and represent the youth of Manchester.


Since 15, Elizabeth has been an active ambassador for Young MCR, taking part in events and even sitting on grants panels, determining where money for young people is spent in Manchester.

“Through being an ambassador, I've learnt the importance of representation and would like to incorporate this in my career. Ensuring young people are involved in the decision-making process and are around the table, being heard, through a legal aspect.”

Elizabeth’s only I.T. equipment for studying and submitting work was her phone, so she applied to the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for a laptop to support her studies and meet the accessibility needs her dyslexia requires. Elizabeth has worked part-time and zero-hours jobs, but the inconsistent hours and relying on one parent’s income has meant the family have to prioritise in the current climate. We awarded Elizabeth £1,349 for a quality laptop that will allow her to follow her chosen path, and we’re delighted to say she got the results she needed to start her Law degree at Liverpool John Moore’s University!


Leanne Instrall, Senior Associate, leads the Social Mobility Affinity Group at Brabners:

“We are absolutely delighted to hear that the bursary has already been able to make a real and meaningful impact to the lives of these young aspiring lawyers in Manchester. We wish them all the best in their studies and look forward to hearing more about their future successes.”

We’re incredibly honoured to facilitate Brabners’ commitment to encourage social mobility in Manchester’s legal sector. The support we give these young women thanks to the Maurice Watkins Bursary is crucial in fulfilling their potential, which would otherwise have been held back by their circumstances.


We’re excited to find more brilliant legal hopefuls supported by the Bursary in coming years!