The Intelligent Aid competition launched by Clifford Chance offers law and non-law students from all universities the chance to win a place on the firm’s vacation scheme, by submitting a 500 word essay on an issue that is relevant in the legal sector today.
The overall winner also receives £5,000 towards their university fees, and the group of winners will have the chance to donate £1,000 to a charity that is on the firm’s selected list. This year’s topic concerns the rule of law and as to whether it is essential in ensuring an economy’s success. Having loved studying constitutional and administrative law last year, I thought that this competition was the perfect opportunity for me! I am also very attracted to the idea of being assessed purely on your intellectual curiosity, your ability to think critically, creatively and “outside” the box.
The workshop at City University London (30th October 2014) was led by Natasha Moore, also with help from the campaign manager of ‘MyKindaCrowd’ Toby Horner, and a specialist from the Graduate Recruitment Team at Clifford Chance, Katy Beresford. The first task involved getting into groups to discuss and feedback on the key points regarding a definition that we were given on the rule of law. It was interesting to hear how the various explanations differed from group to group. We went on to pick out three main definitions, these included the principle reflecting one of governance, avoidance from arbitrariness and one based strongly on international human rights norms and standards. Next, we explored the relationship between the rule of law and the economy further and considered various answers to the following questions:
– Does the rule of law encourage investors to invest in a country?
– Is the rule of law only established once a country is economically successful?
– What happens when the rule of law breaks down?
Natasha suggested a potential structure which we could use for our essays. This included analysing historical examples such as Ancient Rome, growth economies such as China and emerging economies such as Indonesia. During discussions such as this, I realised the importance in being commercially aware and developing your own perspectives on issues currently affecting the wider world. Some of us were able to share our views on Mexico’s struggle in establishing in the rule of law as recently featured in the FT.
The most useful part of the session for me was looking at techniques on how to produce and write a quality essay. This idea may perhaps sound so trivial, but I believe it’s one of the most basic things that many of us (including myself!) forget how to do effectively from time to time. We covered as a group the so called ‘necessities’ in essay writing such as paragraphs, audience, introduction and conclusions. Likewise, we also examined techniques specifically tailored to essays for the Intelligent Aid competition such as including counter-arguments, creativity in tone, quotes and interesting facts and figures. Perhaps the most valuable topic covered in this part of the session was the importance of ‘proof-reading’, and learnt that one partner at Clifford Chance gets their work proof read at least three times- that’s something to abide by!
Overall, I found the workshop very beneficial and of great assistance in helping me generate a starting point for my essay. I definitely recommend getting involved in the competition as offers a brilliant and unique opportunity, in the sense that if you possess a great skill for creativity in writing it could potentially offer you a place on the firm’s vacation scheme and even a training contract.
Good luck everyone!
Many thanks to Felicia Abiona, LLB2 student at The City Law School for writing this review of the workshop.