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7 commercial law firms partner on new scholarship

Seven law firms across the country have teamed up to establish a new scholarship program for West Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students.

user iconLauren Croft 18 March 2024 Careers
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The joint initiative comes from law firms Allens, Clayton Utz, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, MinterEllison, Steinepreis Paganin, and Thomson Geer, which have collaborated to establish the Bilya Boorn Scholarship.

The scholarship aims to increase the representation and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in legal practice in Australia by providing scholarships for First Nations students to study law at a West Australian university.


The recipients of the scholarship will be provided with financial assistance of up to $20,000 for at least two years and ongoing opportunities for professional development and mentoring throughout the scholarship term and beyond. The participating firms will also engage with the law students to increase their knowledge of commercial legal practice as a potential career option.

The Bilya Boorn Scholarship name was developed by Nyungar elder Dr Richard Walley in liaison with the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Western Australia – and was named “using the Wadjuk Nyungar language group meaning of Bilya (the river) and Boorn (the trees)”.

The scholarship is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are enrolled or intend to enrol in an undergraduate or postgraduate law degree at a West Australian university. The selection criteria include financial hardship and/or personal circumstances, satisfactory academic standing, community engagement and any other achievements. The scholarship will be awarded annually, subject to the availability of funds and suitable applicants.

The first recipient of the scholarship will be announced early next month.