Deal Perspective – ‘Taking the Law into your own hands’

As we approach the end of the ‘milk round’ season we thought it worth reflecting on what seems to have changed out on campus and what has largely remained the same.  More than ever it struck me that there seems to be a disconnect between what employers are offering students and what students actually want.  The majority of students tell us that they want more than just an opportunity to meet employers (although this remains valuable); more importantly they want to understand what skills and knowledge they need to secure their desired career and to be given opportunities to develop these.

This year we have largely eschewed the traditional ‘talk and chalk’ followed by networking and instead sought to help empower students by giving them a real insight into how a commercial law firm works and ‘Take the Law into Their Own Hands’.  We reprised our ‘Law as a Business’ workshop, which was well-received across a number of campuses – those who were unable to attend can download the slides and find out more by reading a previous blog post.  We also continued to deliver our CV & interview workshops so that prospective applicants really understand exactly what it is we are looking for and are aware of how to best demonstrate their potential.  The application process should not be a ‘black box’ that remains a mystery, so if you remain in any doubt about how it works have a look at ‘what we are looking for’.

A new initiative that we piloted was a campus competition called ‘Deal Perspective’.  The competition was the brain-child of a current Bristol University student, Razzaq Ahmed who prior to attending university completed a Gap Placement at Pinsent Masons.  The aim was to provide those taking part with a first-hand opportunity to understand the role of commercial lawyers in a corporate acquisition.

Running over a period of four weeks students were first required to form teams of five, who would then each week be given a new commercial problem to tackle. Week one saw the teams grappling with a competition law issue; in week two a litigation claim came to light; by week three the teams were having to cope with employment law problems relating to unfair dismissal.  Thankfully the vast majority of the 21 teams taking part coped well with these challenges and so were able to ensure the deal was successfully completed and the acquisition was able to take place on time.  The top seven teams were then given the chance to attend the final in our London Headquarters, where they had to present a pitch to the ‘client’ in order to secure on-going work from them in the future.

The feedback from those taking part was excellent and there was clear evidence of all eight of our core capabilities on show throughout the competition + a lower-degree of proficiency with a ‘selfie-stick’ (see picture).  We are now considering how we can offer a similar opportunity to students at other universities at some point in the future.  If you think your student law society would be keen to take part then email us at deal.perspective@pinsentmasons.com

The Graduate Team