Mason Hayes Solicitors

Mason Hayes Charitable Trust Testimonials

“Following my election in 2010 Marcus approached me about his intern programme. He explained that it was vital to ensure young people from all backgrounds had access to the experience and education needed to join the legal profession. It was his belief that with his success, coupled with his contacts in business, politics and law he could do something really solid to contribute. Since then I have taken a number of interns per year. They were all from various different backgrounds but what they had in common was a firm commitment to public service, something that I believe is vital if you work in the law or politics. Marcus has been the sole driving force behind this and deserves significant credit for it. It is genuinely praiseworthy that he finds time to give something back that is so tangible to both law students and (in the fullness of time) the whole legal profession.”

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale

“I have found Marcus to be an invaluable source of knowledge and inspiration for me. His commitment to helping first generation scholars with not only monetary support but more importantly, with real life work experience, has been felt widespread at the University. Marcus, as an alumnus has gone above and beyond expectations by helping many students to enter into an already difficult legal market at a particularly bad time for the industry. The Charitable Trust has allowed students like me to meet someone who has done what we hope to be able to do in the future and provided a platform to network. Marcus understands and empathises with the challenges facing those from a less privileged background who want to enter the legal industry but have no contacts within the sector; to some, Marcus has been that pivotal character that has left a lasting impression by motivating them to a career similar to his. He is an individual I will continue to be inspired by.”

Rohan Jerath, University of Sussex graduate

“In the whole of my time working in higher education as a careers adviser at 5 different Universities and now as Director of the Careers and Employability Centre, I have never witnessed an alumnus or employer who has made such a dedicated and significant contribution to student career and personal development. Marcus’ commitment to give back to enable individuals in higher education to develop self-confidence, knowledge and skills is to be applauded”.

Linda Buckham, former Director, Careers and Employability Centre, University of Sussex

“I first heard of Marcus Hayes when I saw an advertisement for a work placement scheme organised via his Charitable Trust. As a first generation scholar this was an excellent opportunity for me to work alongside an in-house lawyer; something I would not ordinarily have been able to do. I gained new skills from this placement and importantly made a great contact who has continued to be a fantastic support to me. Soon after the placement I met Marcus for the first time and have been in awe of him ever since. Marcus is a very inspirational man and I hope to be able to follow in his footsteps. On all of the occasions I have met Marcus he has given up so much of his time to talk with me and offer such invaluable advice. Marcus actually motivates me to push myself outside of my comfort zone and he has also encouraged me to believe in myself. Above all Marcus is a very down to earth and an approachable man. To have someone like Marcus available at the end of a phone/email really is incredibly beneficial to students like me.”

Ellie Taylor-Dix, Mason Hayes Essay Prizewinner 2013 and University of Sussex graduate

“We can best serve society if members of the legal profession come from all segments of the population reflecting this country’s diversity. Financial aid such as the scholarships provided by Mason Hayes for University life is a vital component of any effort to increase diversity in the legal profession, and the Sussex Law School in the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex looks forward to working further with Mason Hayes in the years to come.”

Professor Stephen Shute, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Planning and Resources, University of Sussex

“The Mason Hayes Charitable Trust has been an immensely positive experience. As I aspire to practice commercial law, this was the best experience I have had to date as it allowed me to experience the life of a lawyer in a commercial setting. Moreover Marcus is very approachable, a somewhat unusual trait for someone in his position. He has acted as my mentor and given me advice on various topics, ranging from how to approach my studies to how to approach my career. Marcus has told me numerous times that before anyone else will believe in me, I need to believe in myself. Having someone as a mentor who has entered the law so successfully has been invaluable”.

Usman Ahmed, Mason Hayes Scholar and University of Sussex graduate

“I met Marcus three years ago when he first came to talk to law students at Sussex, and was immediately impressed by his ability to connect with students and to inspire them to believe in themselves, as well as to pursue their dreams and aspirations with conviction. Marcus has kept in close contact with the Mason Hayes’ scholars, who are graduating this year, and has been a tremendous source of support for them. I have no doubt that with the inspiration they have had, they will succeed in pursuing a successful career. In addition, Marcus has also established the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust Work Experience Scheme, which has offered work experience to Sussex law students from under represented backgrounds in some of the country’s largest companies, at chambers and working with MPs. This has provided invaluable experience to our students and it is a much welcome scheme by the University. The opportunity to work with legal professionals even for a short period of time provides an incredible learning experience for students. It is a unique opportunity that these students would not benefit from otherwise.”

Dr Marina Pedreira-Vilarino, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, University of Sussex

“Marcus is my training supervisor at Mason Hayes and I have had the opportunity to work alongside him as part of my training contract. When Marcus and I work together I am treated as his equal and not as a trainee. Marcus enjoys working with and progressing young lawyers and I do believe that he genuinely cares about my development at the firm. This I have seen both from my own experience of working with Marcus but also from working with Marcus and students who have come to the firm for work experience under the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust Scheme. Marcus is an excellent litigation lawyer whose strength is the ability to plan litigation strategically and manoeuvre the parties to a commercial resolution. His ability to do so is possible by his in depth legal knowledge, vast experience and his extensive knowledge of his clients businesses. Marcus goes beyond what is expected of him in order to deliver the very best service to his clients”.

Jessica Eaton, former Trainee Solicitor, Mason Hayes

“Coming from a family where I am one of the first members to attend University, the help and guidance offered by Marcus’ scholarship and Marcus generally have been outstanding. The scholarship has given me opportunities that perhaps would not have been available but more importantly, it gave me the confidence throughout my degree of knowing that I had a professional to turn to and someone who believed in me and my prospects. I would confidently say that Marcus is a great ambassador for the legal sector and has given so much to so many students at Sussex University”.

Alexandra Bridson, Mason Hayes Scholar and University of Sussex graduate

“As a student I feel I am constantly reminded of two things looming in the future: fierce competition in the job market and vast amounts of debt.  I cannot extend my gratitude enough to Marcus Hayes for positively helping me with both of these aspects.  As soon as I read the email congratulating me on the scholarship, and then reread it in disbelief, I immediately felt a huge weight shifted off my shoulders.  This scholarship will make an invaluable difference to me.  It will enable me to gain the experience I need to pursue my ambitions whilst greatly mitigating my financial worries.  In addition, the scholarship has increased my motivation further as it is not only reassuring to have someone who believes in you but also has the vast experience, knowledge and commercial awareness to help me to achieve my goals.”

Heidi Burrows, Mason Hayes Scholar, University of Sussex

“This scholarship is the key to unlock the door to my career in law.  The financial help will relieve a substantial amount of pressure and stress that comes along with the significant costs of attending university, enabling me to focus solely on my studies.  Prior to this life-changing opportunity, I had no connections to anyone in the legal profession for advice or guidance which was a great concern of mine.  Thus the work experience that is provided will overcome this issue and teach me how to apply the classroom studying to a practical reality in preparation for my career in law.  I couldn’t be any more grateful.”

Roisin Fisher, Mason Hayes Scholar, University of Sussex

“We are active supporters of the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust which was started by Mason Hayes to support law students from poorer backgrounds, and we are pleased to be able to help with offering work placements. Mason Hayes is giving a lot back to the development of the legal profession and should be well commended for this.”

Neil Farquharson, Head of Legal (TV, Mobile and Consumer Operations), TalkTalk Telecom Group Limited

“The Mason Hayes vision was to facilitate entry into the legal profession for first generation scholars and to give them a helping hand with financial backing and the necessary mentoring and guidance to prepare them for a career in the law in order to increase diversity in the profession. Mason Hayes has shown a precedent in the legal profession with the innovation they have shown.”

Justin Brown, Senior Clerk, Three Stone Buildings

“I can honestly say that I could not have got this far without the help offered to me by Mason Hayes. Ensuring that I had the support I needed, I have now managed to secure a legal position in a local authority.”

Emily Westley, University of Sussex graduate

“Entering the legal profession can be difficult for young people with no experience of, or contacts within, this industry. Mason Hayes’ actions in bringing these opportunities within reach of people for whom they would not otherwise be accessible, is something that should be applauded.”

Tim O’Gorman, General Counsel, VPS Holdings Limited

“As former Head of the Sussex Law School, I have become very familiar with the significant contribution Mason Hayes has made to the enhancement of the opportunities for students who are the first in their generation to go to university. The placement scheme opens doors for students.”

Professor Heather Keating, University of Sussex

“I have no doubt that some of the students we see would not otherwise be in a position to be considering a career in law were it not for the support provided by the Trust.”

Andy Sunderland, former Chief Counsel, Group and Services, Currys Plc

“Mason Hayes has strengthened my legal skills and built my confidence. They have introduced me to a network of individuals that has resulted in several successful work experiences. Without their selfless help, I would not be able to secure the opportunities I have. In particular, Marcus Hayes has provided every student with the same generosity and support. Marcus has always been passionate about helping students who are not from privileged backgrounds. His contribution continues to enhance the diversity of the legal profession and that is something I admire most about Marcus. Marcus has exhibited tremendous dedication to helping women break down barriers in the legal profession. Marcus has facilitated the opportunities that allows women like me, to pursue those dreams.”

Tess Agostini, University of Sussex graduate

“Mason Hayes has demonstrated its absolute commitment to levelling the playing field for students in gaining experience in a notoriously difficult to enter law profession. We are proud to administer this programme to our first generation scholars at Sussex. These are our students who are either the first in their family to go into higher education, or are from a financially disadvantaged background. Marcus Hayes has actively and persuasively utilised his own personal and professional networks to create opportunities within barristers chambers, legal firms and law functions within corporate organisations, that have then been opened up to our students. The positive graduate destinations of our first generation scholars demonstrates the success of the Mason Hayes programme and we are very grateful to Marcus.”

Andrea Wall, Acting Joint Head, Careers and Employability Centre, University of Sussex

“I am the first generation of my family to attend university and I have come from a low socio-economic background. Mason Hayes has had an enormous impact on my life and not just in terms of my career as an aspiring solicitor. Through their praise and support I have begun to have more confidence in my own ability to reach my goals. Although this may not seem like a big deal, in this line of work it is extremely unusual that one gets a reply from solicitors. Solicitors and barristers will often say that they are interested in mentoring students and increasing diversity in the legal profession, but it is rare to see that statement being backed up with actions and tangible results. The drive and determination to knock down the barriers that still exist in the legal world is admirable. Marcus Hayes in particular personally ensures he does everything in his power to help underprivileged students thrive and succeed. His goal to create a more level playing field will forever be a source of inspiration for me. If everyone in the world were to tackle inequality with even a fraction of the tenacity that Marcus does, then our world would be a more equal place.”

Maria Veronica Rivas, University of Sussex graduate

“I am forever grateful for what Mason Hayes has done to help me realise my ambitions and provide the opportunities to better myself. Without Mason Hayes’ continuous guidance and help, I would not be in the position that I am today.”

Thomas Morris, University of Lancaster graduate

“Mason Hayes’ contribution to the skills and employability profile of Sussex Law School, and their tireless commitment to enhance student experience in this area, has been tremendous. Mason Hayes has in the last couple of years helped to reshape skills and employability as part of the curriculum, and mentored and taught commercial awareness skills to our students on a purely voluntary basis.”

Dr Bal Sokhi-Bulley, Senior Lecturer in Law and Critical Theory, University of Sussex

“Mason Hayes is an advocate for the school and it supports and promotes our reputation within the community.”

Jacqui Elwis, Head Teacher, Stourport Primary School

“Since 2012, Atkin Chambers has been fortunate to be involved with the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust scheme. In collaboration with the University of Sussex, the scheme offers financial sponsorship to first generation university students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to work towards a career in the law. Participants receive the opportunity to gain work experience in some otherwise inaccessible organisations, such as specialist barristers chambers. We have been inspired by Mason Hayes’ work on this scheme and chambers were honoured to be asked to participate.”

Justin Wilson, Senior Clerk, Atkin Chambers

“I have been working with Mason Hayes, particularly concerning provision for children with autism, and I am aware that they have gone out of their way to work with the National Autistic Society, ourselves and others, to work on ensuring that very necessary help and support is made available for autistic children and young people, and their families. This will have very practice effects in securing urgently needed support for the education and society care needs of such children and young people, and it can have major benefits for them and their families.”

Eleanor Wright, former Partner at Maxwell Gillott Solicitors

“Networking is vital for a successful career in law, and without connections to solicitors or barristers to begin with, it can be nearly impossible to make connections which result in work experience. Mason Hayes understood my uncertainty regarding which area of law I wished to enter into, and this facilitated opportunities. Marcus Hayes has been a mentor who has dedicated his own valuable time to me and gone beyond anything I could have ever hoped for to help me as a young and ambitious student. Without the help, advice and assistance of Marcus, my career prospects would not be nearly as bright.”

Kerry Hannigan, University of Sussex graduate

“Mason Hayes believed in me, and Marcus Hayes in particular invested many hours in helping my development. He instilled, in a short time, a confidence in me that I would not have had otherwise to progress further into my legal career. He provided criticism in a constructive manner and displayed a good level of encouragement also. Marcus has provided me with several contacts to expand my network and obtain more advice to help further my career.”

Molly Reeve, University of Sussex graduate

“I am very thankful for Mason Hayes helping me to find the right career path and evolve my skills as well as strengthen my confidence and motivation. I have been particularly helped with the support of such a great mentor as Marcus Hayes and I believe that his dedication to the legal profession as well as his enthusiasm for helping others is fantastic.”

Dominika Sargova, University Sussex graduate

“My parents were the first in both their families to go to university and as a result they did not have a wide network of contacts to draw upon for me to gain legal work experience. The legal industry requires you, more than many others, to have a multitude of experiences under your belt before you start applying for even the lowest level of jobs. When I explained that I was struggling to gain this experience to Mason Hayes, they immediately took it upon themselves to provide me with as much opportunity as possible. I am not alone in thinking this from the many other students who have personally told me that Mason Hayes have made a difference to their lives too.”

Rachel Quinn, University of Sussex graduate

“Marcus’ devotion to student mentoring seems to be untiring. As academics, we are continually astounded, given his own success, workload and time commitments, how he finds time to comment, for instance, on individual CV applications. Student testimonials speak of his workshops as being highly informative, useful and accessible; students speak of Marcus as approachable, personable and fair. In addition to the work that Marcus does with Sussex Law School, we are also aware that Mason Hayes works enthusiastically with the Careers and Employability Centre running a work experience scheme for first generation scholars. This is a highly popular and generous initiative innovated by Marcus himself. He also works closely, and maintains relations with, the Department and Alumni Relations Office.”

Professor Andrew Sanders, University of Sussex

“Marcus Hayes is genuinely committed and dedicated to making a difference to the lives of many students. Mason Hayes not only recognises determination, but also works hard to inspire others and Marcus is a true role model to students wishing to pursue a legal career.”

Susan Ghazal, University of Sussex graduate

“TalkTalk have been involved with the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust work experience programme since early 2012. The focus of the programme is to give first generation scholars access to valuable work experience opportunities to support them in their chosen career path. Marcus Hayes is a great advocate of increasing diversity in the legal profession and has made sure this ideal is reflected in the programme. Coupled with Marcus’ enthusiastic drive is an approachable and friendly demeanour which infects all who work on the programme and inspires them to deliver more and to higher standards.”

Michael Clark, Senior Legal Counsel, TalkTalk Telecom Group Limited

“Chambers is aware of the work experience programme provided through the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust, the aim of which is to assist first generation university students with financial support, mentoring and guidance to prepare them for a career in the legal profession. Chambers first received a placement in 2015 which has proved a great success and has been delighted to accept placements on an annual basis thereafter. Mason Hayes should be commended for their dedication and efforts in this inspirational initiative.”

Gary Young, Senior Business and Property Clerk, Kings Chambers

“Marcus Hayes approached me a number of years ago asking if we could become involved in the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust scheme. Marcus explained his passion to provide university students often from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to the law in general, which normally they would not have the opportunity to. His aims for the charity resonated with all in chambers and we have been delighted to be involved and offer work placements to students. I have witnessed at first hand the confidence such experiences can provide to those attending. This scheme is greatly admired amongst a great number of barristers, not least by myself personally.”

Colin Griffin, former Senior Clerk, 4-5 Grays Inn Square

“As a Member of Parliament, I have been involved in supporting the excellent work of the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust. The Trust supports first generation scholars with the aim of widening diversity in the legal profession. I have had students undertake work placements in my office in parliament through the work of the Trust and can vouch for the importance of the scheme in assisting them.”

Jeremy Lefroy, MP

“During 2014, Stourport High School was delighted to renew acquaintances with Marcus, a former student who was born in the town and attended the school from 1978 to 1981. In July 2014, Marcus provided a day of inspirational workshops for students in different year groups within the school. Moreover, Marcus was Stourport High School’s guest of honour at the prestigious “Pyramid Oscars” which celebrates the successes of students across all schools, primary and secondary, in Stourport-on-Severn. During the evening, many students, parents and staff commented upon the inspirational words that Marcus provided through his speech. Marcus’ words, both entertaining and motivational, captured most succinctly how all young people in Stourport can strive for success to reach their potential and thus raise their aspirations. Students went away believing that it is possible to become whoever they want to be, and confident that their dreams could turn into reality. Marcus’ many achievements and accomplishments are testament to that reality.”

Ian James, Deputy Principal, Stourport-on-Severn High School

“Mason Hayes have provided guidance and support for several senior students at Stourport High School whose ambition is to become a successful barrister or solicitor. They have arranged a much sought after work experience placement at a chambers in London for me and also offered to pay all expenses, which was very generous.”

Emily Walker, former student at Stourport High School

“As a first generation scholar, Marcus has helped me by providing me with the opportunity through the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust, to partake in a work placement. The structure of the placement provided me with a solid education on niche areas of the law that I would, otherwise, have been unable to obtain. The work experience showed me that Marcus has a deep-rooted commitment to supporting first generation scholars and widening diversity in the legal profession.”

Toby Ney, University of Sussex graduate

“This work placement opportunity has been an invaluable learning experience, and I am excited to use these new skills and knowledge to achieve my goals and aspirations.”

Rebecca Perry, University of Sussex undergraduate

“I really enjoyed my work experience. The tasks challenged me, and therefore forced me to think in ways I haven’t before. This has helped me greatly to expand how I would approach similar situations now. This experience has affirmed my interest in commercial law. I’ve returned home certain that I want to navigate more challenges, and excited to learn as much as I can doing so. I found the experience really insightful. I have learnt significant lessons regarding self-belief, attention to detail, and organisation.”

Chloe Hughes, Sussex undergraduate

“I would like to express my appreciation for the experience yourself and your team have given me this week; I have learnt a great deal. I am also grateful that you opened your office on a bank holiday to accommodate my work schedule.”

Sherifah Lahan, Sussex graduate

“I would just like to say thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to gain work experience at Talk Talk. I had a really good week and gained so much knowledge and valuable experience. I now have a good understanding of what being an in-house lawyer would involve, which has opened more opportunities for my career.”

Alexandra Bridson, Sussex graduate

“I would like to thank you so much for this invaluable experience which has definitely opened my eyes to the practical side of being in a solicitor, something which I never would have learnt at university. I thank you also for the time and effort you have all given in order to allow me to get involved in particular tasks and explaining to me how procedures work.”

Lucia Corsini, Sussex graduate

“I would like to thank you for me giving an opportunity to work at Mason Hayes. The vacation scheme at the firm gave me an insight into what would be required of me as a solicitor and the importance of managing clients’ expectations whilst knowing the law. I really enjoyed working in a more informal environment that was equally if not more focused on efficiency and quality than other law firms.”

Mohammed Hasan, Sussex graduate

“I recently carried out some work experience in the Legal Department at TalkTalk business. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and really benefitted from the hands-on experience I was given.”

Alexandra Kinsey, Sussex graduate

“I had a week work experience within your legal department last November, as part of the Mason Hayes work experience. If it wasn’t for you and your team I would never be here, and I am grateful and thankful from all my heart to all of you, because you opened a door for me, which was there, but I needed glasses to see it. The experience in Manchester made me more confident and now I can believe in myself.”

Nicoleta Joyce, Sussex graduate

“Tuesday was my busiest day of the week, with two consecutive workshops with Mason Hayes.  The Commercial Awareness Workshop helped to analyse cases more critically, and provided insight into commercial solicitors’ work.  The Legal Writing Skills Workshop required us to draft a letter of response for a case.  The aim of the session was to improve and enhance our proficiency in legal language and technicalities.  I grappled with self doubt and lack of confidence, but the guidance I received helped renew that confidence.  My experience with Marcus Hayes MBE stood out as the highlight of my week because I gained so much practical knowledge, making it arguably my most rewarding experience.”

Ropafadzo Kanongovere, Sussex undergraduate

“I just wanted to message you to thank you again for your seminar and workshop last week and let you know how useful they’ve been! I have been able to understand and fully engage in discussions due to my understanding of commercial awareness after your seminar.”

Temiloluwa Olayinka, Sussex undergraduate

“I attended both of your workshops last week at Sussex University and I wanted to thank you for the useful insight into commercial law and the help on my cover letter and CV. Although I am at the beginning of my law journey (as a Law MA conversion student) I thought the advice you gave for applications was very useful.”

Rhiannon Vesey Holt, Sussex undergraduate

“Thank you for giving up your time last week to hold the CV/cover letter workshop at the University of Sussex. It was very informative.”

Kamil Ruta, Sussex undergraduate

Scholar Essays and Articles

Click to read essays and articles from the Mason Hayes Scholars supported by the Charitable Trust.

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