Bernie Simons essay competition for students in years 9-13

Simons Muirhead and Burton LLP are proud to announce the launch of our Bernie Simons Essay Competition. The competition asks secondary school students to put forward persuasive arguments on the topics of civil liberties and personal freedoms. We want them to express their views and we want to hear their voices.

Competition Details

The competition asks pupils to submit an essay based around the theme of Personal Freedoms, an issue at the core of our firm’s philosophy and practice and is very much a part of all our every day lives. We are looking for students to communicate in their own voice and are looking for a diversity of views. Students may answer one of three questions:

  1. Social Media: If you ran a social media company, do you think you should be responsible for what is posted on your platform? If not, who do you think should be accountable?
  2. Stop and Search: If you were the head of the police, what do you see as the risks for using Stop and Search and whose rights should the police be protecting?
  3. Coronavirus Tracing App: If you were leading the government would you be justified in requiring people to use a surveillance and monitoring app, such as the Coronavirus Track and Trace App, if those apps ultimately benefit the community as a whole?

The full details to be shared with the pupils are contained in the terms and conditions. We also provide a RESOURCES PACK to support their engagement with the topics, which includes tips for essay writing and formulating an argument and links to helpful resources on the topic, and the judging criteria.

The competition asks pupils (in years 9 – 13) to submit an essay based around the theme of Personal Freedoms, an issue at the core of our firm’s philosophy and practice and is very much a part of all our every day lives.

We are looking for students to communicate in their own voice and are looking for a diversity of views.  There are several topics for the students to choose from, and the details to be shared with the pupils are contained in the attached terms and conditions.

Prizes

We are working with several stakeholders in various industries who are involved in judging the essays, for example, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Head of Editorial at gal-dem Magazine, British Actor, Colin McFarlane and another of the firm’s founding partners, Anthony Burton CBE.

The aim is to allow students, many of whose voices are not often heard, to have a voice and express their opinions and practice the skills of structuring and putting forward a convincing argument.

Those students who submit the best essay will be invited to take part in a mentoring programme. They will get insight into working in the legal profession and gain mentoring in skills to help them develop in whichever career they decide to pursue.  We will offer support to those pupils on a range of topics, including career, education and academic advice. They will also be invited to complete some in person or remote work experience with us and may have the opportunity to gain experience in human rights law as well.

Entries

Entries close at 9 am on Wednesday 15th July and we will announce winners by Friday 24th July. All details of how to enter can be found in the terms and conditions.

We hope this is an opportunity that would be of interest to your students. If so, we kindly ask you to share the attached with your students. If you have any further questions on the competition, please contact our firm’s Bernie Simons Award Team at essay.competition@smab.co.uk.

We look forward to hearing from you and your students.