Following on from the success of last year's inaugural Future Legal Mind award, National Accident Helpline is bringing back the scheme that gives the country's brightest legal minds a leg up into one of the toughest, and most costly, professions, with entries opening today.
The award is open to university students in the UK who are currently pursuing an undergraduate law degree or law conversion course. Ten entrants will be shortlisted for the crown, with the winner being named Future Legal Mind 2016, as well as being awarded £5,000 and a two-week work placement at national law firm Simpson Millar, while all 10 are guaranteed a prize of at least £250. The winning entry will be published by Lawyer 2B, the leading magazine and online resource for law students.
2015 Future Legal Mind winner Amy Loughery, an undergraduate student at the University of York, said that "the awards have really kick-started everything” for her.
“I've managed to acquire two part-time jobs through winning Future Legal Mind. It's opened loads of doors for me and I've put the £5,000 aside to help fund my post-graduate study. It's given me security." Amy urged fellow legal students considering entering Future Legal Mind 2016 to "just have a go - and make sure you get your entry in early!"
Russell Atkinson, CEO of National Accident Helpline and Chair of the judging panel, said: "Future Legal Mind is a great opportunity for law students to gain an invaluable boost to their chances of breaking into the legal profession. National Accident Helpline believes that it is crucial to have a steady pipeline of the best talent entering the legal system to ensure that people continue to have access to justice.
"It has been heartening to see the positive impact last year's award had on Amy's career, and we are excited to offer this chance to a new group of students in 2016.”
Entrants to the competition are required to submit an essay by 18 January 2016. This year, the question put to ambitious law students focuses on the commoditisation of legal services:
Is the commoditisation of legal services inevitable and is a commercial approach more likely to compromise or enhance the quality of advice and service to consumers?
Speaking on the second year of supporting the award, Janet Tilley, Director of Volume Legal Services at Simpson Millar (incorporating Colemans-ctts, which provided the work experience placement for last year's winners), said:
"Once again, we are delighted to join forces with National Accident Helpline to provide this fantastic opportunity for aspiring lawyers. The quality of last year's candidates was extraordinary and I look forward to seeing what this year will bring us. Our legal system is the jewel in the crown because of those working in the legal profession and this competition will ensure bright students are not prevented from enhancing the system due to financial hardship."
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About National Accident Helpline
National Accident Helpline is the UK's leading provider of personal injury advice, services and support, and represents almost 50 legal practices across the UK. If a consumer has had an accident or illness which was someone else's fault then we will put them in touch with one of our panel solicitor firms, so they can seek redress for the injury they have suffered.
Through our approved network of specialist personal injury solicitor firms, we champion consumer rights for people who have suffered a personal injury, helping those with genuine claims to seek redress and secure access to justice to help aid their recovery.
National Accident Helpline is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of claims management activities and is a registered company, incorporated in the UK.
Further information on Future Legal Mind 2016
Information for entrants is available at national-accident-helpline.co.uk/future-legal-mind
10 entrants will be shortlisted and invited to an awards event in central London. All will receive at least a runners' up prize
• 1st - £5,000 + two-week work placement at Simpson Millar
• 2nd - £2,000 + two-week work placement at Simpson Millar
• 7 x runners' up prizes - £250 each
Entries are invited from:
• currently enrolled students studying any undergraduate legal degree course (legal component minimum 50%) at a UCAS-approved UK institution; or
• currently enrolled students studying for CILEx qualifications at an approved institution;
• students enrolled on, or who have been offered a place on, a Graduate Diploma in Law or Common Professional Examination course in the UK in 2015, as approved by the Central Applications Board.
Entrants must be permanently resident in the UK.
Entries will be judged by a panel of legal and business experts:
• Russell Atkinson, CEO, National Accident Helpline (chair)
• Richard Simmons, Editor, Lawyer 2B
• Professor Gary Slapper, law columnist on The Times and Global Professor, New York University, London
• Janet Tilley, Director of Volume Legal Services, Simpson Millar
• Jonathan White, Legal Director, National Accident Helpline