Aspiring barrister wins top law firm’s competition

Sixth-Former Maaz Shahzad has won a bursary and work placement from a prestigious City law firm – one of just four overall winners in a fiercely fought competition for state school pupils.

For the initial stage of the competition run by CMS Cameron McKenna, Year 13 pupil Maaz, who hopes eventually to become a barrister, first submitted his academic results to date, with a reference from the School.

He also wrote a 1,000-word essay, for which he was given the choice of two titles – Does the UK have responsibility for citizens abroad? or Is tax avoidance legitimate? Opting for the latter, Maaz argued that not only was tax avoidance legal, unlike tax evasion, and therefore legitimate, but that the Government actually promotes it, through ISAs, for example. It is beneficial for individuals and the state for individuals to save and invest, and they are thus encouraged by the government to do so through ISAs and other tax relief schemes.

""Maaz was then among 12 students selected for an assessment day. This involved taking part in group tasks with other candidates at Cameron McKenna’s City offices, focusing on negotiation skills. The day included an interview, which covered various legal issues.

In a letter to the Headmaster announcing his success, Cameron McKenna solicitor Sarah Hyde, who heads the scheme, wrote: “We felt that Maaz was an outstanding candidate who coped impressively with a challenging assessment day and we were delighted to award him one of our bursaries. The standard of applications was high and we believe that Maaz should be very proud to have been one of the four students awarded a bursary.”

As well as the bursary, which is worth £2,500 for each year of a student’s law degree, Maaz has also been offered mentoring from a Cameron McKenna lawyer and a work placement at the firm’s offices during his first year of university.

Maaz is currently studying for A-levels in Mathematics, English, History and Politics.