Slaughter and May Announces Winner of First Student Innovation Competition

Inaugural competition winner will receive £1,000 and a work experience placement at the firm

Slaughter and May has announced the winner of the firm’s first Innovation Competition for students. The winner was Afraz Akhtar, whose animation “A Trip to the Future” explored future roles in the legal sector and the associated skills future lawyers will need to succeed. Afraz will receive £1,000 and will be joining the firm for a week’s work experience in its Knowledge & Innovation team this summer.

Students could choose to answer one of four questions, and entries were judged on their creativity, originality, commercial awareness and strength and clarity of argument. Entries were invited in any format, and included podcasts, infographics, videos and essays.

The firm received over 50 entries which were then shortlisted by a panel made up of members of the Knowledge & Innovation Team and the firm’s Innovation Network Hub, who identified the six strongest entries, which were then put to the final judging panel.

The judging panel was made up of Slaughter and May Practice Partner David Wittmann, Chair of the firm’s Innovation Committee Ben Kingsley, Director of Knowledge & Innovation Alex Woods, Head of Knowledge & Innovation Jane Stewart and Head of Responsible Business and Inclusion Uzma Hamid-Dizier.

In addition to the £1,000 prize and work experience placement awarded to the winner, the second and third place entries were awarded £500 and £250 in prize money respectively.

Emma Walton, Knowledge & Innovation Manager at Slaughter and May, said; “We’ve all enjoyed hearing the students’ ideas and perspectives and look forward to welcoming Afraz into the team later this summer. There are lots of opportunities for students to experience Innovation at the firm and we’d encourage them to get involved where they can.”

“The competition is a way for us to engage with students to think creatively about some of the challenges that face law firms around the future skills and roles of lawyers and how D&I can open up opportunities and technology and for students to demonstrate the importance to them of innovation and inclusion.” said Uzma Hamid-Dizier.

Associate Michael Craig, who was part of the competition shortlisting panel, said: “The Innovation Competition demonstrated the value that students can add to a business. I am very grateful to the students who entered our competition - not just for sharing their ideas but also for the innovative ways in which those ideas were presented.”

The winners were as follows:

First place: Afraz Akhtar (University of Law) who produced an animation entitled: “A Trip to the Future” in response to the question “Legal careers in the future could look different to the present. In the future, what roles do you think will exist in the legal sector and what skills will future lawyers need to develop and why?”

Second place: Mary Áine Connolly (studying Law at the University of Birmingham) who produced a video in response to the question “What is the link between innovative thinking and diversity and inclusion and how can this benefit law firms?”

Third place: George Woosey (studying Business Management at the University of Leeds) with a narrated presentation in response to the question “Is there more to legal innovation than technology?”

Highly commended: Majd Mansour (studying Law with Hispanic Law at University College London) with a narrated presentation in response to the question “What is the link between innovative thinking and diversity and inclusion in law firm and how can this benefit law firms?”

View the winning entry