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Real World Questions essay competition 2021: Meet the winners

After the success of our first Real World Questions essay competition last year, we were delighted to expand the competition further in 2021. The competition was open to students from years 10-13, providing them with a chance to win £1,000 cash, a week’s work experience, a session with The University of Law’s Director of Employability and a laptop. We asked students to write about three hot topics facing the world of law, policing and business.

How do businesses stay positive in uncertain times?

Will Covid-19 change the way lawyers work in the future?

Does the UK justice system protect the public?

Today we’re talking to the inspirational winners of our Real World Questions essay competition 2021 to discuss their essays and their plans for the future.

By Cara Fielder. Published 10 November 2021.

Will Covid-19 change the way lawyers work in the future? – Sabrina Barnes

I currently study at Penglais School in Aberystwyth, and I discovered the Real World Questions essay competition when my Head of Sixth Form sent out an email about it at the start of the academic year.

My law essay was focused on the question - Will Covid-19 change the way lawyers work in the future? It looks at the different ways that the pandemic may affect the future of the legal profession, including current online court developments and the limitations of virtual hearings. It also looks at what happened in the past, specifically the 1918 influenza pandemic.

I have become interested in the legal profession in recent months and am considering pursuing a law degree or becoming a solicitor. I wanted to take the opportunity to enter a law competition so that I could find out more about the subject. The question was particularly interesting because I knew it would involve looking at the fundamentals of law, as well as the potential future of my work due to the pandemic. I also entered because, even though there was not much time left to enter, I did not want to miss an excellent chance to develop my knowledge and understanding of the law at an early stage.

I have no solid vision or goal for after completing my studies so far other than to be happy in my work and help others. I think I will study either history or law at a good university and become a teacher, lawyer or journalist.

When I got the email and call to be told the news I had won, I was in total disbelief. I honestly thought I had no chance of winning, and to be credited for my essay-writing skills and gain some amazing experience means a lot to me.

I definitely do not want to spend all of my prize money on clothes or sweets. I plan to keep it in a savings account, likely for university costs.

In five years, I hope to either pursue or graduate with a university degree that I enjoy and am proud of, then work to secure myself in a fulfilling career and have enjoyable life experiences.

My advice to anyone thinking of applying for a ULaw essay competition is to go for it. You never know when you may have such a fantastic opportunity again, and it gives you a unique, thorough insight into your subject of interest, which will benefit you even if you don’t win.

How do businesses stay positive in uncertain times?- Simone Banerjee

I study at Nonsuch High School for Girls in South London. I learnt about the Real World Questions essay competition in an email from our school’s Coordinator of Careers Education.

In my essay, I wrote about maintaining productivity and momentum in unpredictable times, using the current Covid-19 pandemic as an example. Additionally, I focused on the importance of teamwork and trust when a business is faced with difficult problems.

I was motivated to apply as I wanted to develop my essay writing skills. The question grabbed my attention because I thought it was extremely relevant to the current situation, and I wanted to explore how positivity and successful adaptation affect a business.

Winning the Real World Questions essay competition means a lot to me, as it has given me confidence in my essay writing skills. I was very pleased to win as it proved that I was able to get my point across clearly.

As Christmas is coming up, I will be spending some of my prize money buying presents for my friends and family. My cat’s first birthday is also in a few weeks, so I will make sure to buy her many treats. Apart from that, I will save the rest of the money.

In five years, I hope to be at a prestigious university studying economics. By the time I am twenty, I also wish to have a clearer idea of the career I want to pursue. Hopefully, I will have gained many more skills by then, which will allow me to pursue my chosen career successfully.

My advice to anyone thinking of applying for a ULaw essay competition is to think carefully about the question and refer to past and current events to back up your statements. I would also suggest spending time on structuring your essay well so that all your main points flow one after the other, producing a coherent piece of writing that stays focused on directly answering the question. If you are thinking of applying, definitely give it a go as it is a fantastic opportunity to extend your knowledge and potentially win prizes.

Does the UK Justice System Protect the Public?’ – Charlotte Smith

My name is Charlotte Smith and I study at Tormead School. I initially came across the Real World Questions Essay competition in an email sent to me by The University of Law. I’d like to study law at university, so I signed up to university mailing lists for regular updates.

The subject I chose for my essay was - Does the UK Justice System Protect the Public? This is obviously an extremely broad subject, so I narrowed down the title by picking three different areas of interest to write about. Eventually, I decided on how stop and search tactics can be damaging to society, the effectiveness of prison rehabilitation and the right to a fair trial.

The title - Does the UK Justice System protect the Public? was really intriguing to me. Before entering this essay competition, I knew very little about the criminal justice system and how the law operates. I wanted to explore the flaws and biases of the criminal justice system in a way that allowed me to guide my own research, and this essay competition seemed like the perfect opportunity. I thought the title was particularly apt following Sarah Everard’s murder, and the essay allowed me to highlight some of the issues raised by this tragic case.

I am currently in the Lower Sixth, so I am focused on my A-level studies and am planning to study law at university. I am also taking an extended project qualification (EPQ), which will hopefully broaden my understanding of particular legal topics.

I was honestly very shocked to have won the competition and was astonished when I found out. I have not had much experience with writing academic essays before and the prospect doesn’t seem so daunting now, which has made this experience invaluable. 

I plan to invest my money and put it towards my university living costs. Although that doesn’t sound very exciting, it will really help to reduce the amount of debt that I leave with.

In five years’ time I hope to have graduated from university and started training to qualify as a solicitor.

My advice to anyone who wants to enter this competition would be to allow the time to do plenty of research and try to find alternative points of view to your own. I found planning and structuring my essay before writing really helped me to clarify all my ideas and made the research process much easier. I am really looking forward to the work experience placement and talking to the Director of Employability at The University of Law as I think this will be very helpful for my future career. I would thoroughly recommend taking part in this competition as it’s been an amazing experience that’s helped me gain a lot of confidence in my academic ability.


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