Remembering Richard Diffenthal: A new Scholarship Programme launched by Hogan Lovells and the Patchwork Foundation
In memory of much-missed and highly regarded partner Richard Diffenthal, we have developed a Scholarship Programme in collaboration with one of Richard’s pro bono clients, the Patchwork Foundation. This builds on Richard’s passion for law, political engagement leading to social change, and the development of young people.
The scholarship funds five scholarships and part sponsors the Patchwork Foundation’s well established ‘Masterclass Programme’ which is focused on supporting and upskilling young people (aged 18 - 30) from underrepresented communities to become active participants in civil society. It also advocates for social change and democratic engagement.
In addition to the outstanding support, skills and development opportunities offered by the Masterclass Programme the selected ‘scholars’ will also receive mentoring from 10 Hogan Lovells lawyers, as well as skill sessions from selected teams at the firm. The Scholarship Programme was launched on 18 May at an event attended by the scholars and members of Richard’s family, as well as the Hogan Lovells and Patchwork teams. Graduation will take place in December 2022 with a special celebration to reward the scholars and share outcomes.
About the Masterclass Programme
The Patchwork Foundation believes that our society is only as good as our democracy, and our democracy is only as good as the range of voices within it. The Patchwork Masterclass Programme, which has been running since 2014, is a ten-month course where young people from underrepresented communities learn from senior individuals within British politics, including Secretaries of State, Permanent Secretaries, journalists, and policy creators. These sessions are hosted in venues such as corporate office spaces and the Houses of Parliament, so that candidates overcome any fears or imposter syndrome and start to develop confidence in the workplace. The aim of the Programme is to equip the participants with the skills, experience, and confidence to actively engage with British democracy, as well as to gain leadership roles from which they can create positive change.
Richard’s work with the Patchwork Foundation
Richard was far more than a great corporate lawyer and a great colleague for his friends at Hogan Lovells. He wanted to help every individual to fulfil their potential. We saw that in his leadership and mentoring of the Hogan Lovells corporate team in London and in his commitment to programmes to support the development of diverse talent within the firm. However, Richard’s commitment went much further than that. He believed passionately that democratic engagement is the strongest tool we have to broaden social inclusion - if every part of our society is actively engaged in our democracy, our democracy will work for the whole of society not just the loudest voices within it.
To that end, he originally worked very closely with the “Bite the Ballot” initiative to engage diverse communities in the electoral process. More recently he worked with the Patchwork Foundation. In 2016 Richard advised Patchwork on their governance and charity registration. He worked intensively to ensure their work was recognised by the Charity Commission. Since 2018, Patchwork has raised £600,000 and engaged 5,000 young people into democracy and civil society.
Imran Sanaullah MBE, Patchwork’s CEO, commented on Richard’s contribution to the Foundation:
“Richard provided pro bono support to the Patchwork Foundation, helping us register as an official charity. Since then we have helped over 5000 young adults from some of the most deprived communities in the country upskill themselves through our programmes and have gone on to work at the centre of Government, Whitehall, City Hall as well as law firms, accountancy firms and charities. We will forever owe a debt of gratitude to Richard, and as we continue our work, we hope to make him proud.”