SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2020

March 3, 2020

The SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2020 took place on 21 February at The University of Law Moorgate in London and I’m delighted to say was another rousing success. Now in its third year, this competition is designed to give students a taste of a day in the life of a tech lawyer with teams tackling a mock negotiation and a data breach while being supported and evaluated by volunteer mentors, all of whom are professionals working in the tech law sector.

The tasks are devised by members of the SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group, this year Laura Wright (Barrister at 4 Pump Court) and Group Chair Shayhan Patelmaster (Senior at E&Y). These scenarios are impressively realistic; not only do they include complex background information about clients and suppliers, but the teams are also subject to time-pressures akin to those they would face in a real-life working situation. They also allow the JLG to show off their geek-credentials as each years’ tasks have had a different pop culture theme: Star Wars, Game of Thrones and this year the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It certainly raised a smile to hear the teams earnestly discussing Hulk Digital and Stark Industries. The teams were competing to win work experience at ‘magic circle’ law firm Clifford Chance in addition to some extremely stylish glass trophies. 

Every year the competition is fierce and the standard of entrants incredibly high, and this year was no exception. The winning team, Bernie Rivard and Ryan Low (KCL), were only 1.5 points shy of a perfect score with the 1st and 2nd runners up, Leon Xiao and Lauren Henderson (Durham) and Batuhan Betin and Dania Albtoush (Reading) respectively, just a few points behind. There were also special awards for those deemed the ‘Best Risk Managers’, Matilda Morgan (London Met) and Darinka Lipovac (BPP) and for the ‘Most Effective Client Communication’, Andrew Lane and Harish Karunalingam (BPP). There was also a ‘Best Adaptability’ certificate for Shalini Kumar (LSE) who competed solo after her partner was unable to attend.

Winners: Bernie Rivard & Ryan Low 1st Runners Up: Laura Henderson & Leon Xiao 2nd Runners Up: Batuhan Betin & Dania Albtoush

Best Risk Managers: Matilda Morgan & Darinka Lipovac Most Effective Client Communication: Andrew Lane & Harish Karunalingam

Best Adaptability: Shalini Kumar

It’s a proud moment being at any SCL event to see it come together and run smoothly but this event is special, not only because of the exhilarating atmosphere in the room but because it exemplifies so many of the things the Society stands for: collaboration, shared learning, building relationships, meaningful communication. You can see it happening throughout the day as the teams, the mentors and everyone involved talks, laughs, debates (and consumes large quantities of pizza). It’s incredibly energising and inspiring. 

We couldn’t do this without support. Huge thanks are due to The University of Law who hosted the event at their Moorgate campus, to our very generous sponsors Fenwick Elliott and Clifford Chance and to Laura, Shay and our mentors who gave their time and their expertise. And, of course, to the teams who took part and made it such an incredible event. 

As an educational charity, SCL’s means are not always equal to its ambition, but your support really makes a difference because it not only makes these initiatives fly, but means we can do it all again in 2021. 

We’ll leave the final words to our winners:

“The SCL Legal Tech Challenge 2020 was an amazing event where like-minded participants gathered together in a test of commercial awareness, teamwork, and many other skills essential to being a successful lawyer in the city! 

The negotiations were challenging yet thoughtful, where two interested parties working against time pressure had to come to a consensus – it was a great opportunity for participants to know where to give and take, and understand how negotiations in a real context work. Feedback was very specific and tailored, which gave me a greater understanding of how to approach negotiations in the future!

My favourite event, the data breach exercise, was a fantastic taster of life as a trainee, and a great opportunity to test my legal and commercial knowledge! I particularly enjoyed the two-part format, and the free reign for participants to apply their areas of knowledge and expertise to targeting a data breach problem. There were so many fantastic ideas, and our mentor was particularly helpful in giving critical feedback, and in helping us understand the difference between the practical and realistic, from the idealistic.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this experience, and I would highly recommend anyone, at any stage in their legal career to join!” Ryan Low, KCL

“The SCL Tech Law Challenge 2020 was a fantastic opportunity to build my practical skills by gaining an insight into the life of a tech lawyer. The day was incredibly well put together and the scenarios were challenging to say the least! 

What I enjoyed most from the negotiation was the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ in terms of trying to be as creative and proactive as possible when it came to value creation. The data privacy exercise was excellent in that it reminded us of the importance of being succinct but ensuring all relevant points were addressed. It also gave us a chance to explore wider business implications – testing our commercial acumen. 

Overall, learning from the mentors and networking with all of the outstanding participants was my highlight, and I’m so grateful for the award at the end.” Bernie Rivard, KCL

If you would like to know more about supporting SCL’s student and mentoring schemes please contact