Pinsent Masons hosts inaugural schools debate

04 Dec 2014 | 09:00 am | 1 min. read

International law firm Pinsent Masons has joined up with Supreme Court Justice Lord Kerr and clients including BP, Zurich, RSA, KPMG and Costain to host a debating tournament for children from economically deprived areas around London.

Eight schools from Newham and Waltham Forest each submitted one team of five students to compete in the competition, which took place at Pinsent Masons international headquarters in London on Friday 14 November.

The teams debated several motions on issues that affect young people, with one debate focussing on the statement 'hosting the Olympics was a good investment for young people in the UK' – a motion which was carried.

The final debate, on the theme of whether students should be required to perform a period of community service, was won by a team of students from Plashet school in Newham.

The judging panel for the competition was chaired by Lord Kerr, Anne Sheffield, EMEA General Counsel of Alix Partners, and Pinsent Masons Senior Partner Richard Foley.

Prior to the event, each school was coached by a team made up of one Pinsent Masons representative and one of the prominent businesses taking part.

The initiative has been put together in association the East London Business Alliance as part of its 'Business Action Groups for Schools’ (BAGS) programme,  with the support of Pinsent Masons' own charitable foundation.

Pinsent Masons Senior Partner, Richard Foley, says, "We lawyers love a good argument and today has been brilliant. I for one have been impressed by the standard and would think twice before taking any of these guys on! On a serious note, I hope today has whetted their appetite for more. There are serious issues to be resolved around access to the legal profession and part of our aim here is to demonstrate how engaging the job can be." 

ELBA’s Chief Executive, Liam Kane, commented, “We were delighted to work with Pinsent Masons on this debating competition. It is a fantastic showcase of how the BAGS programme brings the worlds of business and schools together whilst developing the skills and aspirations of young people.”

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