My name is Chloe and I am a third-year law student. I was shortlisted as a finalist for the Future Legal Mind Award 2019! The competition is run by National Accident Helpline with an aim of recognising young legal talent and to give aspiring lawyers a huge boost for their future careers.
Thinking about an answer to a specific question relating to you and the law means you are able to gain some personal clarity for why you might be studying law or entering the legal profession, which can often be a difficult question to answer and is almost always asked at interview!
Entering the legal profession means you need something to help you stand out. It is a competitive occupation and it’s easy to blend in with the crowd. Being shortlisted for a national award means that I have a unique talking point for interviews, and it looks great on my CV. It has been an opportunity to network and make new connections that otherwise I would not have made, as the other finalists and I were able to connect on LinkedIn. It was an opportunity to improve both practical and academic skills, such as written communication and applying commercial and social awareness.
The competition is split into an essay and a short video. At 650 words, the essay is reasonably short and it can be hard to squeeze everything in to win over the judges. It is important to highlight personal passions, while remaining professional and writing formally. I would suggest using a clear structure to make it easier to write concisely and ensure you are answering the question. The whole point of the essay is to write persuasively for your audience (the judging panel at National Accident Helpline), so making a strong argument in response to the question is essential. Legal professionals will be reading your essay and it is vital that your writing style matches their expectations.
The second stage is the video entry. If you are shortlisted, you are required to submit a short video (two minutes) in support of your essay. I think this stage is all about showing your personality to the judges. It can be quite nerve-wracking recording yourself, so my biggest tip would be to record yourself as many times as you need to in order to get comfortable. It’s important again to ensure you’re answering the question, so learning a script may have advantages over speaking spontaneously. Think of this like an interview, this is the part where the judges see what you’re like off paper, so be yourself but stay professional and presentable. It is a legal competition after all!
The Future Legal Mind competition encouraged my involvement in other extra-curricular activities. It’s given me the confidence needed to step out of my comfort zone and get stuck into other opportunities. A new venture that I am really looking forward to is the Chester Community Law Project (CCLP). This is a student-led project where we, a dedicated team of student directors, aim to raise awareness and educate people on everyday legal issues. The competition pushed me to further pursue the passions that led me to enter in the first place. I think that it is important to be pro-active in enhancing employability. These sorts of opportunities look great on your CV and are an excellent talking point in interviews!
Further details about the competition can be found here: https://www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk/future-legal-mind