24th May, 2024

Winner of the Access Awards 2024: Nicki Shepherd

Chambers is delighted to announce the winner of the 9SJS Access Award 2024 is Nicki Shepherd. Nicki is currently a GDL student at The University of Law. Nicki previously completed a degree in Computer Science at Edge Hill University, where his passion for advocacy was ignited by representing his peers at university board meetings and assisting with academic appeals. Nicki has also founded a pro bono employment tribunal support group offering free guidance and support to litigants in person.

Nicki has a particular interest in employment law, education law and disability rights, drawing on his own experiences as a wheelchair user. Nicki will be mentored by Employment specialist Elliott Stenson and will also benefit from a 1:1 advocacy coaching session, judicial shadowing and a mini-pupillage in Chambers.

On receiving the award, Nicki shared that: “Receiving the 9 St John Street Access Award is truly an honour. Coming from a working-class background, I often worried about how I would secure a position within the legal profession. Lacking familial legal connections, I struggled to make the necessary professional connections to ‘get my foot in the door’ of the legal profession.”

Photo of Nicki Shepherd

“The Access Award is a fantastic initiative that I am confident will assist me in overcoming these barriers and continue my development. Many of the opportunities provided by this award are experiences that someone from my background would not typically be able to access. I am immensely grateful for these opportunities. This award empowers me to continue advocating for those without a voice and reaffirms my belief that the law should be accessible to everyone, regardless of one's background or disability.”

Nicki read the profiles of last year’s award winners and questioned whether he would fit in as an applicant. He now says that: “If there’s one thing you take away from reading this, please let it be that you owe it to yourself to apply!” Chambers is looking forward to watching Nicki develop over the coming months and supporting his journey to the Bar!

Applications for the next Access Award will open in Winter 2024. For more information, please visit www.9sjs.com/access-award/

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