Portsmouth law students in top ten

Double hope: Portsmouth’s Ryan Pledge and Charlotte Jose in top ten

Double hope: Portsmouth’s Ryan Pledge and Charlotte Jose in top ten

It’s a double celebration for the University of Portsmouth which has produced two finalists in the national Future Legal Mind competition.

Students in the School of Law, Charlotte Jose and Ryan Pledge have beaten more than 1,000 entrants to win a place in the top ten.

They are now in the running for a cash prize and a work placement at law firm Simpson Millar, having wowed the award’s judges with their essays on the future of legal services for firms and consumers.

Charlotte is a third year LLB law student at the University of Portsmouth. She has a strong interest in the doctrine of joint enterprise, a problematic area of law which she finds both fascinating and testing.

Ryan is a second year LLB law student. He first became interested in law when researching his employment rights as a part-time employee on a zero hours contract, and understanding how the law touches almost every area of modern life has increased his interest.

Each submitted essays discussing the commoditisation of legal services and its effect on consumers. Entries were judged by a panel of industry and academic experts.

The winner of the competition will be announced on March 9 in Lincoln’s Inn in central London. The best candidate will win £5,000, and the highly commended candidate will win £2,000, and both will also be given two-week work placements at law firm Simpson Millar. The remaining eight finalists will each receive £250.

Candidates were asked to answer the question: 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?

Charlotte said: “It is an honour to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. I am very excited for the awards ceremony which I plan to make the most of. It has given me a lot of self confidence in my academic work and will be invaluable to my CV. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this essay; the University has helped me develop a ‘go for it’ attitude, a philosophy which I applied when taking on this task.

“I want to thank Joanne Atkinson for her supervision with this piece of work and thank Rachel Spearing for all her help this year.”

Ryan said: “I am extremely grateful to be included on the shortlist and having the quality of my work recognised by the judges. To be picked out as a finalist from a large quantity of applicants has furthered my desire to pursue a career in law, and made all of the planning and research worthwhile.

“The prestige surrounding this competition, as well as the doors that it could possibly open into the legal world, were a huge incentive for me in applying. I am greatly looking forward to the awards ceremony, and to have a chance of winning is simply incredible.”

Their tutor Rachel Spearing said both students were highly motivated and bright.

“These competitions and schemes allow the talented and motivated to realise their potential and secure the possibility of a future career at top firms,” she said. “Most importantly, such recognition supports our mentoring and encouragement of our students to strive and believe that they can gain access to a career in law.”

Chair of judges and managing director of National Accident Helpline Simon Trott said the judges had been “very struck” by the strength of some of the entries for the award, which provided food for thought for seasoned industry veterans.

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