SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2019 – “Winter is Coming”

March 8, 2019

Over one hundred students from across the nation competed in teams of two on the 22nd of February 2019 at the SCL Tech Law Student Challenge. 

After getting acquainted with one another over some tea and biscuits, we made our way to our tables and waited patiently to find out about what was to come. 

The day kicked off at the University of Law Moorgate campus with a remarkable introduction by Shayhan Patelmaster, Chair of the SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group, in which we were warned about how “winter is coming”. Some were confused as to why he felt the necessity to state the obvious and others, well, let’s just say that all the Game of Thrones fans knew exactly what was coming and all we could hope for was that we would get to represent the House of Stark. 

The morning included a negotiation task where teams were divided to represent either Lannister or Stark Industries and given the facts of the case as well as the confidential materials that helped us understand more about what it was our clients were seeking to get out of the negotiation. After being allocated as the legal counsel for Lannister Inc., my teammate and I quickly pushed past our bias in order to work towards a negotiation strategy that would provide the best outcome for our client. It was great to have a decent amount of time to prepare for the task and we were extremely grateful for the SCL Mentors who took time off from their busy lives as solicitors and barristers to help us out by answering our questions. 

The negotiation itself was super fun – it provided us a more hands-on experience and was a great change of pace to reading statutes in the library. I guess we were expecting a more hostile negotiation so both sides were surprised when we ended with an outcome that was favourable to both our clients. It was also incredible to have been judged by a practising lawyer as it enables us to get a better idea as to the areas we could improve on. After the negotiation, we took some to self-evaluate before receiving detailed feedback which was also extremely valuable as it helped us further analyse the situation and get a better sense as to what future clients and supervisors would be looking for.

After replenishing ourselves with some delicious pizza and more coffee, it was time for the afternoon portion of the competition – the data breach scenario. We didn’t know what to expect as it was something neither my teammate nor I had come across during our academic studies. Having read the scenario, we were excited to get started. We condensed the information and prepared for the different stages of the task. The first stage consisted of preparing a client email in a short amount of time. This was followed by a helpful feedback session with another tech law practitioner and the session gave us the motivation to push through and prepare for the final stage which was a client presentation. We were expected to guide them through their current situation as a result of the data breach by presenting them with their potential liabilities, commercial issues as well as the relevant sections of the GDPR. 

Once again, we were glad to have tech law practitioners around to help us consolidate our ideas and direct us as to what else we should be taking into consideration when advising the client. We then presented the material we prepared to our client and answered any further questions they had regarding the situation. We were extremely proud to have been able to prepare such a presentation as well as condense all the beneficial information for our client in the short amount of time we had. This gave us a great insight as to what we should be expecting in the future in our respective practice areas. 

Like all great things, the competition came to an end with an award ceremony. A massive congratulations to the overall winners, Chris Ireland and Lauren Graham, as well as the runners-up, Chiara Rohlfst and Corlijn Reijgwart, and Christopher Joseph Wei Yan Guo and Dominic Wei Has Png for coming in third. There were also two category awards up for grabs for the individual tasks we completed during the day – Claudia Coleman and Jack Sayle received the “Best Risk Managers” award for the Negotiation Task and my teammate, Lakshmi Srinivasan, and I, Idil I. Kaner, were over the moon to have won the “Most Effective Client Communication” Award for the Data Breach Scenario.

Overall, the competition itself was an amazing experience and I would strongly encourage all LLB, LLM, GDL, LPC, and BPTC students to participate in it in the upcoming years. Not only was it a great opportunity to meet other like-minded students across the nation, but also a great networking event that allowed us to meet various legal practitioners and get better acquainted with tech law in general. 

Idil I. Kaner is a final-year Politics, Philosophy and Law LLB student at King’s College London as well as the President of the King’s IT & IP Law Society.