Congratulations to the winners of the Bernie Simons Essay Competition

2nd October 2020

We are pleased to announce the winners of the first Bernie Simons Essay Competition – congratulations to Fome Owuasu, Isabel Davenport, Mya Basiime, Niamh Whelan, Sultan Khokhar and Tahmina Sayfi.

The competition asked students studying at state schools in years 9 – 13 to write an essay on the topic of civil liberties. We were thrilled to receive such a fantastic response to the competition which launched for the first time this year and focused on one of three topics: Questioning Who was Responsible for Social Media (the users or the social media companies), Considering and questioning the right to infringe civil liberties for the common good through the use of the Track and Trace App, and Considering the merits and challenges for the use of Stop and Search.

The prize was named after the firm’s Founding Partner, Bernie Simons, who was an outspoken advocate of human rights (see Bernie Simons’ Obituary) 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: Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Head of Editorial at gal-dem Magazine, British Actor, Colin McFarlane, Razi Mireskandari, the firm’s Managing Partner,  and  Anthony Burton CBE, another of the firm’s Founding Partners, who together judged the essays in the competition.

Our winners have won the opportunity to join the SMB Mentoring Programme, whereby they will benefit from a combination of work experience, career mentoring and academic resources. We also offered formal commendations to those students who narrowly missed out on the winning prize but produced thought-provoking and well-argued essays. Congratulations to all students who participated, the winners and those who received commendation, we were very impressed with all of your submissions.

The full essays are available to read here: Bernie Simons Essay Competition – Winning Entries

Following this year’s success, we plan to run the competition again next year. Please keep an eye on our website for more details.