The Bernie Simons Essay Competition is now open!

31st January 2022

SMB is thrilled to be entering our second year of running the Bernie Simons Essay Competition. First launched in 2020, the competition is based on the principles of our firm’s Founding Partner, Bernie Simons; An outspoken advocate for civil rights and a revolutionary lawyer whose values continue to impact the ethos of our firm to this day.

SMB invites competition essay entries from students who are currently in Years 11-13 and attend a UK state secondary school in the London area. This year, students will be asked to write an essay on one of these three topics relating to personal rights and freedoms:

  1. Vaccinations: If you were an employer in a customer-facing industry, including in the government, do you think you have a right to require your employees to get vaccinated against an infectious virus in order to keep their job?
  2. Stop and Search: If you were the head of the Metropolitan Police, how much authority do you think you should grant to allow your police officers to stop and search people who are attending a protest (with a risk of disrupting the public) to assert their civil liberties?
  3. University Censorship: If you were the head of a university, do you think you have an obligation to censor what guest speakers are allowed to talk about to students, or do you think all ideas deserve to be shared and debated in a Higher Education facility?

We received an amazing response last year, from many talented and passionate individuals. This competition is an important opportunity to encourage students to consider the possibility of a career in the law, no matter their background, develop their skills in critical thinking, and elevate the voices of our exceptional youth.

Winners of this competition will receive the exciting opportunity to gain two days’ work experience at our firm offices on the week commencing 25th July 2022. As well as this, they will also receive personal mentoring and have their winning entries published on our website.

Further details on the competition and how to enter are available here. Entries must be sent to The competition closes on Monday 18th April 2022.

Good luck!