We are excited to congratulate this year’s winners of the Bernie Simons Essay Competition

24th May 2022

We are so pleased and proud to announce the winners of the Bernie Simons Essay Competition 2022.

We were so impressed with the responses this year that we have chosen 6 winners, instead of 5. Congratulations to Joe Davies, Mustafa Sayfi, Lalita John, Amore Adams, Pearse Barry, and Iffat Khan. The responses were well thought out, intelligent, and passionately argued.

This year, we asked students from the London area in years 11-13 to write an essay on one of three topics related to civil liberties. The three topics of choice were:

  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?

The competition was named after the firm’s Founding Partner, Bernie Simons, who was an outspoken advocate of human rights and whose values continue to impact the ethos of the firm.  We are proud to honour his memory through this competition.

In addition to the amazing contribution of the participants, who shared their ideas and arguments on these topics, we had the benefit of the time and thoughtfulness of our panel of judges including British Actor, Colin McFarlane, Razi Mireskandari, our firm’s Managing Partner, Anthony Burton CBE, another of our firm’s Founding Partners, and Isabel Davenport, one of our winners from 2020, who together judged the essays in the competition.

Our winners have been invited to join us at SMB for a two-day programme, whereby they will benefit from a combination of work experience and career mentoring. Congratulations to all students who participated, and the winners, we were very impressed with all your submissions.