Chloe Stephenson has been named as the very first recipient of a new law prize presented during the University of Sunderland’s summer graduation ceremonies.

The prize, in partnership with north-east law firm, Sweeney Miller, is awarded to the student who achieves the best mark in the Commercial Law module of the Law (LLB hons) Degree.

As part of their award, the student receives a two-week paid work placement with the firm, and a £1,000 cash prize.

Chloe, 22, from South Shields, says: “To be graduating from Sunderland with not only First-Class honours in Law, but also the Sweeney Miller Commercial Law prize, is almost unbelievable to me. I never thought I would be the one to receive such an award.

“It also means the world to me to be appreciated and awarded for the four years of hard work I have put in.”

Sweeney Miller partner Damien Todd, a Sunderland graduate himself (Class of 2011), said: “To attain the best mark in Commercial Law at the University is great achievement which no doubt is a result of much studying from Chloe throughout the year.

“We look forward to presenting Chloe with the award and welcoming her to Sweeney Miller Law when her placement starts.”

Damien added: “We have a great relationship with the University which has come about due to much of our staff studying at Sunderland before going into practice.

“We appreciate the work the University does in moulding tomorrow’s legal professionals and congratulate the University for their continued presence in the region.

“We’re excited to be able to partner with the University in presenting this annual award and look forward to supporting as many students as possible with their legal career.”

Chloe chose to study at the University of Sunderland due to the Law with Integrated Foundation Year on offer.

She explained: “After going through difficult times during A-levels, I believed that my learning journey was over. However, that one decision I made to study a Foundation Degree set me up very nicely for the law degree, which was the best decision of my life.”

She added: “Throughout my Bachelor’s degree I have met some phenomenal teachers who have inspired me to be the best I can be. The structure of the course has allowed me to continuously excel as an academic. Overall, I have had a fantastic experience studying at Sunderland. I found the teachers to be very engaging and passionate in their fields and support was always readily available when I needed it.”

Caroline Gibby, Head of Law at the University of Sunderland, said: “Chloe has worked incredibly hard to achieve this wonderful result – I was fortunate to teach Chloe last year and know from speaking with her lecturers in Commercial Law this year, she continued to impress with her focus and determination.”

She added: “Chloe is a great example of what our students can do here, given the dedicated teaching and support she has grown in confidence and has developed into a superb student. We are pleased that she is continuing her academic journey with us and look forward to see what she does next!

“The Sweeney Miller award, is an excellent opportunity for Chloe to experience practice in a well-respected and innovative legal practice.”

Chloe now hopes to take the Legal Practice Course and Master’s Combined at Sunderland and hopes to practice as a commercial lawyer in future.

Her advice to anyone considering University would be to “go for it”.  She adds: “Never place limitations on yourself as you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Work hard and you won’t regret it.”