Team of four students from UCL, LSE, Leicester and Portsmouth crowned the most commercially aware wannabe lawyers in Britain

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Quartet snatch win in prestigious competition


A pair of non-law students from UCL and LSE teamed up yesterday with law graduates from the universities of Leicester and Portsmouth to win a top national commercial awareness challenge.

The wannabe lawyers emerged from a field of 774 entrants to bag first place at the UK Commercial Awareness Competition, run by diversity network Aspiring Solicitors.

In the final yesterday at Barclays’ headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, the hotshot quartet narrowly edged four other teams from universities across the nation in various law firm assessment centre-style tasks.

The solicitors-to-be were assessed by leading lawyers from Mayer Brown, King & Wood Mallesons, Clyde & Co, Nabarro, LexisNexis and Barclays in a gruelling day-long series of commercial awareness exercises.

To get to this point, the students successfully navigated four previous rounds, which began back in the autumn with 774 University Challenge-style phone interviews and included quarter finals held at the aforementioned City firms.

Clyde & Co head of graduate recruitment head Caroline Walsh described the final as “harder than an assessment centre”, while the firm’s graduate recruitment partner, Ed Mills-Webb, said that the best participants’ combination of black letter legal skills and wider engagement with the commercial world “is what we are looking for in trainees”.

In the wake of his team’s win, Portsmouth University law graduate James England told Legal Cheek how the competition had given him an edge in a tough graduate recruitment market. England, who is currently doing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Kaplan Law School and has a vac scheme at Nabarro lined up for the summer, added:

The parallels to assessment centres make this invaluable experience and has had a significant impact in helping me secure invaluable legal work experience.

The other members of the winning team were Leicester law graduate Natalie Batra, UCL French graduate Roxanna Sarkar-Patel and LSE economics graduate Rhys Morgan.

Entry information about next year’s competition can be found here.






what a superficial competition



Thanks for this invaluable article on an invaluable experience, Alex.

Did I mention that it may have an impact on my ability to secure invaluable work experience?




So much negativity in the comment section…

Congrats to all the winners!



You must be new here.



University Challenge style phone interview??? Here was me thinking it was a TV quiz show…



Ok here goes. I took part in this competition and my team reached the face to face rounds. We excelled in the phone rounds but once they met us it was immediately apparent that we were not what they were looking for. The team that won was not from one university as thus has been handpicked by AS by means of a ‘wildcard’ system. This is to ensure that good candidates can be put through even if the rest of the team was a let down. It is not an effort to increase diversity in my humble opinion but an effort to elicit excellent candidates legitimately under the banner of ‘diversity’.

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Having been to several AS events it appears to me that the whole game plan is to make money and grow the business under the en vogue umbrella of diversity and social mobility. Seems like a mass operation targeting the current diversity trend with a lack of key one to one tailored genuine support.

AS boast they have x numbers of members and that x% of members have secured TCs and vac schemes etc – in my opinion this has nothing to do with AS more the fact that x members are applying and would get opportunities anyway!

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Commercial Awareness sounds like a brazen con. Wouldn’t a student who had started an ebusiness in his spare time be considered more commercially aware than an empty suit that reads FT from cover to cover and attends lots of commercial awareness jollies but couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag in the real world?


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