Pupillage essay competition - winners, runners-up and highly commended essays now published

7th September 2020

3PB's essay competition for prospective pupils produced a fantastic range of entries on the subject of “What I learned in Lockdown”. The quality of the 132 entries was remarkably high. Reading the determined hope contained in these essays has given all of us at a glimpse of the resilience and capabilities of this generation of students.

Here is the final list of winners and highly commended essays! It was a remarkably difficult decision as the quality of the entries was extraordinarily high.

Read the essays from the shortlisted entries here

Reading the determined hope contained in these essays has given everyone who has been involved a glimpse of the resilience and capabilities of this generation of students. In the face of the worst public health crisis in a century, when everything we have ever known seems to have hit the buffers, we had wonderfully creative and touching entries: from impeccably written instructions on the best way to do Zoom conferences to a rap; a poem in flowing iambic pentameter; an ode to coffee; a truly touching tale of reconciliation; learning to dance; appreciation of small things in life; friendship; loss and, above all, a springing determination to take the best that is possible from a dreadful situation.

It has been inspiring and we thank each and every entrant for the time and effort they put into their entries. It has been a privilege to have read them.

The panels at all three stages had lively discussions, and whittling the 132 entries down to the final thirteen was a very difficult task. Identifying the winner from that final thirteen was even harder, and took rather longer than we expected, because of the extraordinary diversity and quality of the finalists. Here then, are the full results:

Winner: Tomas Canning for “Knitting Together”

Joint Runners-up:

Sharmina Akhtar for “The City Under the Dome”
Patrick McBride for “What I Learned in Lockdown”

Highly Commended (in no particular order):

Noorallain Ali
John Harper
Yousef Mahmood
Daniel Leyva
Ajay Gill
Charles Denney
Kulsharan Kaur Dhanoa
Joseph Lord
Josh Stephens
Grace Okafor.

Our congratulations to the winner and the exceptional finalists. Commiserations to those who did not make the final cut. The quality was exceptional and we enjoyed reading all of them.Thank you to everyone who took part. Don’t give up and do not let this dreadful year beat you down.

Cheryl Jones
Head of Pupillage
3PB Barristers

Marking and selection

For those interested in the process, it was as follows:

  • An initial sift to check word count and that the instructions for presentation had been followed.
  • All entries were then converted to PDF, anonymised and numbered.
  • The First Sift was undertaken by four panel members who marked 25% of the entries each (with moderation to ensure consistency). Each panellist selected up to ten essays to progress into the Second Sift.
  • The Second Sift was undertaken by four different panel members who each read all the 38 semi-finalists and agreed the final twelve.
  • The Final Selection was undertaken by a panel headed by our Head of Chambers, David Berkley QC.