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Our Future Legal Mind 2020 winner and runners up

Our Future Legal Mind 2020 winner was Joseph Kelen, while Mari Watkins and Janahan Sivanathan were named as runners up.

The essay question

For our 2020 competition, we asked entrants to write an essay responding to the question:

Achieving a qualification in Law provides a great foundation for careers today. Tell us about your legal aspirations and what the future of Law looks like to you.

What area of the Law do you feel passionate about? Is there an area of the Law or legal system you would like to see changed for the better?

Our 10 finalists all made excellent essay submissions focusing on a variety of legal sectors. They were asked to support these by each sending in a short video, which you can watch below.

Prizes

As the competition winner, Joseph received a £2,000 prize fund, while Mari and Janahan each received £500.

All three also took part in mentoring sessions with competition judges Jonathan White and Adam Nabozny, both experienced lawyers within our team.

We look forward to continuing to support and champion them in their legal careers over the years ahead.

Our judges' verdict

Our Future Legal Mind judges Jonathan White and Adam Nabozny were hugely impressed by the quality of essays and videos submitted by 2020's finalists.

In this video, they give an overview of the 2020 competition and tell us what stood out to them about the runners up and winner.

Our Future Legal Mind judges Jonathan White and Adam Nabozny were hugely impressed by the quality of essays and videos submitted by 2020's finalists.In this video, they give an overview of the 2020 competition and tell us what stood out to them about the runners up and winner.

WINNER: Joseph Kelen

When he was named our Future Legal Mind 2020, Joseph had just completed his studies in Senior Status Law at the University of Cambridge and was getting ready to take his next step towards his dream of becoming a barrister.

In his competition essay Joseph, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, focused on an area of the law which he wanted to see changed - the laws around vagrancy.

Joseph argued these laws are “counterproductive” as they leave people with a criminal record which gives them “no choice but to be on the streets”, as they are then unable to try to get a job or access housing benefit.

When he was named our Future Legal Mind 2020, Joseph had just completed his studies in Senior Status Law at the University of Cambridge and was getting ready to take his next step towards his dream of becoming a barrister.In his competition essay Joseph, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, focused on an area of the law which he wanted to see changed - the laws around vagrancy.Joseph argued these laws are “counterproductive” as they leave people with a criminal record which gives them “no choice but to be on the streets”, as they are then unable to try to get a job or access housing benefit.

WINNER: Joseph Kelen

When he was named our Future Legal Mind 2020, Joseph had just completed his studies in Senior Status Law at the University of Cambridge and was getting ready to take his next step towards his dream of becoming a barrister.

In his competition essay Joseph, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, focused on an area of the law which he wanted to see changed - the laws around vagrancy.

Joseph argued these laws are “counterproductive” as they leave people with a criminal record which gives them “no choice but to be on the streets”, as they are then unable to try to get a job or access housing benefit.


RUNNER UP: Mari Watkins

Mari, from Neath in Wales, was at the end of the second year of her law degree at Swansea University when she was named our Future Legal Mind runner up.

The aspiring barrister has a passion is for the great outdoors and land law, which was the focus of her competition essay.

Mari, from Neath in Wales, was at the end of the second year of her law degree at Swansea University when she was named our Future Legal Mind runner up.The aspiring barrister has a passion is for the great outdoors and land law, which was the focus of her competition essay.

RUNNER UP: Janahan Sivanathan

Janahan was coming to the end of the second year of his law degree at Birkbeck, University of London when he was named runner up in our competition.

In his essay, Janahan reflected on his own experiences of immigration law and outlined the changes he'd like to see made.

Janahan was coming to the end of the second year of his law degree at Birkbeck, University of London when he was named runner up in our competition.In his essay, Janahan reflected on his own experiences of immigration law and outlined the changes he'd like to see made.

Finalist: Nazmin Akthar

Nazmin was in the second year of studying part-time for the LPC (Legal Practice Course) at the University of Law when she entered Future Legal Mind.

Nazmin, from Bicester in Oxfordshire, has studied and worked in various legal roles, and was looking forward to qualifying as a solicitor and continuing her work in property law.

Nazmin was in the second year of studying part-time for the LPC (Legal Practice Course) at the University of Law when she entered Future Legal Mind.Nazmin, from Bicester in Oxfordshire, has studied and worked in various legal roles, and was looking forward to qualifying as a solicitor and continuing her work in property law.

Finalist: Priya Bahri

Priya, a trainee solicitor for the Disability Law Service, outlined some of the typical legal cases she faces in her role in her essay and called for social welfare law to be given a higher profile on legal training courses.

The Disability Law Service is a charity specialising in benefits, community care, employment and housing law. Priya's role involves representing disabled adults, children and their carers in getting access to justice.

Priya, a trainee solicitor for the Disability Law Service, outlined some of the typical legal cases she faces in her role in her essay and called for social welfare law to be given a higher profile on legal training courses.The Disability Law Service is a charity specialising in benefits, community care, employment and housing law. Priya's role involves representing disabled adults, children and their carers in getting access to justice.

Finalist: Conor Courtney

Conor, from Dublin, was completing his Masters Degree in International Commercial Law at UCL when he entered Future Legal Mind.

Conor aims to become a solicitor and has volunteered at the Chelsea Citizens Advice Bureau and the UCL Rare Dementia Legal Advice Clinic. He is also Senior Editor, Technology Law, Policy & Regulation, for the SCL Student Bytes website.

Conor, from Dublin, was completing his Masters Degree in International Commercial Law at UCL when he entered Future Legal Mind.Conor aims to become a solicitor and has volunteered at the Chelsea Citizens Advice Bureau and the UCL Rare Dementia Legal Advice Clinic. He is also Senior Editor, Technology Law, Policy & Regulation, for the SCL Student Bytes website.

Finalist: Henry Day

Henry, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was a third-year law student at the University of Cambridge when he entered Future Legal Mind.

In his essay, Henry wrote about his desire for the law to help bring about positive change globally. His aspiration is to become a legal academic, specialising in either international environmental law or international regulation of artificial intelligence.

Henry, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was a third-year law student at the University of Cambridge when he entered Future Legal Mind.In his essay, Henry wrote about his desire for the law to help bring about positive change globally. His aspiration is to become a legal academic, specialising in either international environmental law or international regulation of artificial intelligence.

Finalist: Jessica Hitchcock

For her competition essay Jessica wrote about her experience of being diagnosed with the health condition endometriosis and how she now champions women's health in the workplace.

When she entered Future Legal Mind, Jessica was in the early stages of her law career, working as a Trainee Legal Executive at Ashton's Legal in Cambridge.

For her competition essay Jessica wrote about her experience of being diagnosed with the health condition endometriosis and how she now champions women's health in the workplace.When she entered Future Legal Mind, Jessica was in the early stages of her law career, working as a Trainee Legal Executive at Ashton's Legal in Cambridge.

Finalist: Ben Williams

When he was named as a competition finalist Ben, from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, was studying the LPC at the University of Law's Moorgate campus. In his competition essay, Ben focused on access to justice and legal aid.

After completing his training as a solicitor, Ben aspires to take on a role working on access to information and legal advice.

When he was named as a competition finalist Ben, from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, was studying the LPC at the University of Law's Moorgate campus. In his competition essay, Ben focused on access to justice and legal aid.After completing his training as a solicitor, Ben aspires to take on a role working on access to information and legal advice.

Finalist: Tamar Knight

When she was named as a Future Legal Mind finalist, Tamar was in the first year of her law degree at Cardiff University.

Tamar, from Cornwall, aspires to work as a solicitor and campaigner in environmental law, which was the focus of her competition essay.

When she was named as a Future Legal Mind finalist, Tamar was in the first year of her law degree at Cardiff University.Tamar, from Cornwall, aspires to work as a solicitor and campaigner in environmental law, which was the focus of her competition essay.