Guilty: School students turn
into lawyers for nationwide challenge.

26 Jun, 24


A series of mock employment trials sweeping the UK have reached final determinations this week, after two weeks of legal argument development across both sides of the case.   

75 Year 9 students across the country have taken part in synchronized trials unfolding in Birmingham, Leeds and London. The opportunity was part of an immersive legal insights programme delivered by Capsticks, a leading healthcare, housing and regulatory law firm in the UK, in collaboration with leading ESG specialist, Ahead Partnership. 

Students took on the opportunity to build and deliver their own legal cases in response to a brief provided by Capsticks, closely supported by experts from Capsticks acting as judges to determine the final results. 

The superhero-themed mock employment tribunal gave students hands-on experience of working in a law firm, inviting them to take part in everything from cross examination to making opening and closing submissions. The programme has been specifically developed by Ahead Partnership to help the young people develop key transferable skills such as presentation and debate, as well as opening their eyes to the range of different opportunities available to them within the legal sector. 

Students had the opportunity to further widen their network by connecting virtually with the other schools across the offices for a virtual launch, where they got to the chance to ask questions of the Capsticks panel, which included paralegals, trainees, principal associates and legal directors. 


Leanne Couzens, Principal Associate at Capsticks said: 

“It has been a real privilege to open up our offices and the legal profession to the fantastic students who have participated in this year’s mock tribunal, as part of our commitment to increasing access to the legal sector. Our work with Ahead Partnership supports the firm’s People First value, introducing school-aged children to law as a viable and accessible career path, which is important as we want to see the legal sector become more diverse and accessible to talent regardless of their background. 

“This year has been the second instalment of our flagship event and marks the beginning of a dedicated commitment that we will make to these students from now until they finish high school. It’s been great to see this year’s participants grow in confidence and enthusiasm over the last two weeks and I look forward to seeing this develop as we continue our work together.  

“At Capsticks, we are dedicated to supporting the communities around us – and investing in young people generates a long-lasting impact for us all. We’re proud to continue to support Ahead Partnership to foster the voices of tomorrow and continue to offer our counsel and resources for the rest of their school journeys.” 

With the programme now in its second year, this year’s mock tribunals mark the first stage of a considerable line-up of events designed to support young talent, which will be offered to the participants through years 9, 10 and 11. A series of workshops, guest speakers and introductions to workplace opportunities will be delivered to the students, with support available for their schools and their parents to maximise outreach and access to opportunity.   

The initiative has the potential to feed important change back into the legal sector and help address barriers to entry. The Social Mobility Commission recently recorded that 71% of barristers in leading roles attended independent schools, while the Solicitors Regulation Authority published findings that showed 57% of solicitors coming from a ‘professional’ upbringing, and an additional 13% from an ‘intermediate’ background – demonstrating how underrepresented those from working class upbringings are in the field. 

It has been a real privilege to open up our offices and the legal profession to the fantastic students who have participated in this year’s mock tribunal, as part of our commitment to increasing access to the legal sector.

Leanne Couzens, Principal Associate at Capsticks

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive at Ahead Partnership, said: 

“We are so thankful to see our partnership with Capsticks generating immediate positive results for this year’s participants and look forward to seeing the longer-term impact of this for everyone involved, as well as how programmes such as this one can positively contribute to the future diversity of the legal sector. 

“75 students from state schools across the country have been given first-hand insight into the legal sector and the role that they can come to play in it over the past two weeks, all while building additional transferrable skills such as confidence, debating and presentation skills.  

“Research shows that providing young people with four or more workplace encounters makes them 86% less likely to be not in education, employment, or training, showing the long-term value of the type of hands on experience this initiative provides. 

“We are so pleased to continue to make change like this through the dedication of our partners, and the hard work of our young participants.”