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Local Law Firm Continues Charitable Legacy

University of Leeds student, Rana Begum has spent the summer working for the hot new boutique employment law firm SCE Solicitors in central Leeds, following her winning the prestigious Pamela Walsh Peaker Memorial Scholarship. 

Coming from a Keighley family of 9 children, Rana had always wanted to exceed her schools’ expectations of her, which were unjustifiably low for a girl of her precocious intelligence. Rana however has aspired to be a lawyer since the age of 14.  When it came to applying for University, her teachers would only encourage applications to smaller local institutions and even tried to discourage her from applying to the University of Leeds.

Ms Begum was undeterred by the pessimism of her school, knowing that her drive to help herself and others within her tight-knit community was too strong to ignore, and so she applied for and was accepted to study for her law degree at Leeds University.  

Grafting towards being a lawyer these days however requires more than good grades and hard work, the task is an academic gladiatorial battle royal where only the strong survive and an ‘edge’ is required to succeed. Rana decided that her edge would be in the form of real life practical experience during her studies; fortunately for her the Pamela Walsh Peaker Memorial Scholarship offered just that. Rana fought for and successfully won the scholarship, beating out many other talented contenders in the process.  

Leeds University awards up to five Pamela Walsh Peaker Scholarships in each academic year.  When applying for the placement Rana read about Pamela Walsh and thought she had an inspirational life story and was encouraged as she too had come from a disadvantaged background and had wanted to use her studiousness to give something back. 

During her work placement Rana was exposed to a wide range of employment law work, countless diverse clients and learnt about the skills required to be a successful solicitor, or as one staffer at SCE terms it “how the sausage is made”.  Rana was impressed by the amount of responsibility she was given and the informative tasks she undertook, which made a serious contribution to the day-to-day work of the firm. 

The Pamela Walsh Peaker Scholarship supports students undertaking work experience in the area of private practice, where there is an opportunity to directly observe the practice of justice.  Rana said “I soon realised that access to justice has been gravely denied for many, due to the new employment tribunal fees; yet I observed SCE Solicitors genuinely trying to help their clients reduce their legal costs as much as possible so they could have access to the justice system”.

SCE Solicitors were approached by Leeds University as Samira Cakali, owner of SCE Solicitors, is a fellow alumni.  At first Samira was unsure about the idea due to the length of the placement, though she now says “eights weeks is not long enough! We have all got used to having Rana around and will miss her greatly when she returns to her studies”. “It has also enabled me to give back to the community and help those from disadvantaged backgrounds, aiding Social Mobility”.

Samira is quick to point out that SCE is not the run of the mill law firm. “I think because we are a young firm overall that there is a dynamacy that gets across to students, we believe that employment law is hands down the best practice area in the legal sphere and that enthusiasm is really infectious”.

Mrs Cakali and her colleagues are passionate about employment law, that much is plainly obvious on a first meeting; their aim is to give clients an outstanding service at affordable rates while delivering top notch advice.  SCE’s slogan is “Managing HR, Employer and Employee Relationships the right way” – with much emphasis added upon “the right way”. 

While legal placements are nothing new, SCE are adamant that the level of hands-on involvement they have afforded Rana will make her a shoe-in for any future job applications and greatly set her apart from her peers.

The most insightful experience Rana had was at a client meeting with a man who desperately needed justice.  “He’d been taken advantage of at many different stages of his case by previous advisers, that is until he instructed SCE Solicitors” said Rana. Due to her personal background and knowledge of the local community, she was able to assist in drafting his witness statement. Rana immensely enjoyed this task because it allowed her to get deeply involved in the case.

Rana said about her time at the firm “It has certainly given me a positive impression of both the quality of the work SCE Solicitors do and the kind of people they are, it also confirmed my ambition to pursue a career in law. It was rewarding to be part of a team who are really immersed in what they do and are dedicated in getting the best results for their clients. I will be very sad to leave because there was truly never a dull moment!” 

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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