10 11 2021Press release

Two UCC School of Law students awarded first Ronan Daly Jermyn Diversity Scholarships

Imamma Eunice Ikebuasi and Laya Little have each received a scholarship worth €5,000 and a work placement opportunity with RDJ

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(L-R) Eimear Desmond, People and Culture Director, Ronan Daly Jermyn; Imamma Eunice Ikebuasi, UCC law student; Richard Martin, Managing Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn; Laya Little, UCC law student; Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of Law, University College Cork

The RDJ Diversity Scholarship supports students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds studying Law at UCC, with the aim of encouraging diversity in the legal profession. RDJ has donated €40,000 over four years for the scholarships, which will be awarded to two UCC School of Law students each year beginning this academic year, 2021/22.

Imamma Eunice and Laya were chosen as the first scholarship recipients following a competitive selection process based on exam results, a personal statement, a 1,000-word essay discussing the topic, “The Need for Diversifying the Legal Profession in Ireland” and an interview.

The students were officially awarded their scholarships at UCC on Wednesday 20 October by Richard Martin, Managing Partner, RDJ, Eimear Desmond, People and Culture Director, RDJ and Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of the UCC School of Law.

Commending the Ronan Daly Jermyn Diversity Scholars on their achievement, Richard Martin, Managing Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn, said:

I am delighted to meet the inaugural recipients of the RDJ Diversity Scholarship today. Imamma and Laya are both outstanding students and I look forward to following what I have no doubt will be successful career paths for them both.” He added, “In recent times, diversity and inclusion has quite rightly shot to the top of the workplace agenda. At RDJ we celebrate and embrace difference. However, we believe that this has to go well beyond diversity policies and aspirations. This is why we are awarding these scholarships; they are about us trying to do something meaningful to encourage more ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Eimear Desmond, People and Culture Director, Ronan Daly Jermyn added,:

These scholarships are about providing opportunity for people of ethnically diverse backgrounds as well as enriching our own workplaces. For us, this is a key part of the programme. It isn’t just the financial support that we are giving to these students. It is also our commitment to bringing these students into RDJ to work as interns during the course of their studies so they can learn from us and also to help broaden the perspectives of our own team which comes from working closely with people from widely different backgrounds and traditions.

Acknowledging the importance of encouraging diversity in the legal profession, Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of the UCC School of Law, said:

“I am delighted at RDJ’s commitment to promote ethnic diversity in the legal profession through this significant scholarship scheme. The School of Law’s mission is ‘Shaping a Just Society’ and through working in partnership with RDJ on this transformative initiative we are contributing in a concrete way to delivering on our mission. Increasing diversity in the legal profession will not only be more reflective of contemporary society but will also ensure that the workplace is enriched by different perspectives. My thanks to RDJ and my congratulations to the two students awarded the RDJ Diversity Scholarship this year.”

Imamma Eunice Ikebuasi has just started her third year of the BCL Law (International) programme. Speaking following the receipt of her scholarship, she said:

Firstly, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to both the School of Law in UCC and Ronan Daly Jermyn for establishing such a prestigious and culturally significant award. The RDJ diversity in law scholarship affords me the opportunity to be part of the timely change that is needed in a modern and diverse Ireland. This scholarship will amongst other things; enable me to avail of scholarly resources and to unlock limitless possibilities within my studies and my future career. Finally, in concert with others; I shall strive for this scholarship to be the start of positive change and the dawn of a new era of cultural diversity within the Irish legal system.”

Laya Little is an international student from the USA currently undertaking the LLB in Cork. Speaking following the receipt of her scholarship, she said:

Ronan Daly Jermyn is leading the Irish legal profession with respect to this scholarship by offering a candidate with a diverse background who has the capacity to achieve success the opportunity to do so. For me this scholarship does just that through a twofold application. It is meeting my financial needs during my degree while also providing a doorway for opportunity at a top-tier law firm. I am beyond grateful to be part of this initiative and look forward to working together to highlight inclusive understandings of diversity within law.

The UCC School of Law is a leading international school, committed to excellence and innovation in legal education and research, with the aim of shaping a just society. Ranked among the top 100 Law Schools worldwide, students receive a first-class education from a vibrant community of legal scholars who are leading experts in their fields. The School offers a wide range of high-quality programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, such as the flagship BCL Pathways undergraduate degree, where students have the opportunity to specialise with a clinical placement or international exchange component. UCC School of Law graduates are career-ready, equipped with the legal knowledge and practical workplace skills needed to take on the challenges that we face in today’s world.