Student Khadijah makes links with Linklaters

Dated: 15 May 2020

Woodhouse student Khadijah Chowdhury has won a £1000 award for the college – as well as a £250 amazon voucher for herself – after making it to the final 20 of the 2020 Linklaters Making Links Schools Challenge.
Linklaters LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in London and this year held its Making Links School Challenge final virtually for the first time, with 20 selected finalists from 20 schools taking part in a two day-long virtual event. As part of the firm’s social mobility recruitment initiative and UK schools’ engagement activity, the challenge is designed to give UK state-school students currently completing A levels (or equivalent) the opportunity to develop skills they need to become the commercial lawyers of the future, whilst also winning prizes for their school and themselves.
We caught up with Khadijah during lockdown to find out how she got involved and what she had to do…
“I am part of the Social Mobility Foundation and they suggest different opportunities to students as part of their programme. One of those opportunities was the Linklaters essay challenge.
I decided to take part in order to challenge myself beyond the curriculum and try something I hadn’t done before. There was nothing to lose from entering the challenge and I thought it would be good way to gain experience in essay writing and independent research.
Also, as Linklaters is a law firm, I wanted to explore my options about careers in law to see if it interests me, so that was also a huge deciding factor in entering the challenge. The question of the essay challenge was ‘What has been the biggest innovation / disruption in the business world during your lifetime?’ I chose social media as my topic and described how it has advanced the business world, despite it also presenting some issues."
"I was very surprised when I received the email inviting me to the final of 20. Considering I had only found out about the challenge a few days before the deadline, I felt as if my essay was not to my best standard so when I found out that I was part of the final I was definitely shocked. Also, I was very excited, because it was the first time I had ever entered an essay writing competition and for my efforts to be recognised from thousands of other entries made me very happy.
Linklaters London HQ (R)
The finals took place over two days using WebEx. On the first day, we had sessions introducing us to Linklaters and what they did. We found out that they are a Magic Circle law firm who are very interested in how innovations can change the legal world.
Also, we talked about a project called Linkubator created by a trainee at the firm, which is a podcast that discusses new legal technology and innovations. It was interesting to see how a small concept thought of by a trainee has grown into a huge project.
We ended the WebEx session with presentation skills and learned how to keep an audience engaged while presenting. It was very useful to learn the different techniques professionals use in order to keep the attention of their audience. After the sessions had ended, we were given three hours to prepare a two-minute video presentation of our initial essay.
The next day, the judges had chosen a final four contestants, which unfortunately I wasn’t a part of. But just being part of the final 20 was an achievement for me. The final four repeated their presentations to everyone and answered questions from the panellists, which led to them choosing one overall winner of the challenge.
From participating, I learnt how to deliver an engaging presentation and develop my speaking and presenting skills, which is very useful for all aspects of life. Also, considering this was my first essay competition, it’s given me the confidence to enter more challenges because I know I won’t lose anything from it, rather I’ll gain more skills.
I’ve also furthered my ability to network with other students and professionals. Currently, all the finalists are still in touch and despite not having met up, this competition has brought us all together as we all share the same passion towards the idea of innovation.
Linklaters is definitely on my radar for places I want to work at in the future. I love how they are very focused on innovation in our ever-changing world and while other firms are set in their traditional ways, I feel as if Linklaters understand that changes will have to be made to fit in with our society now.
Right now, I’m very set on studying law at a Russell Group university. Taking part in the Linklaters challenge and being a part of the Social Mobility Foundation has allowed me to explore different opportunities related to law and I really enjoy what I’ve taken part in so far. I’m still reading about the subject to make sure it’s absolutely for me but right now, that’s the direction I want to head towards.
The lockdown has definitely been a challenge for me from going from structured days to a freer schedule. Luckily, I’ve managed to keep on top of my studies and submitting work on time. As for my social life, I’ve stayed in touch with a few friends regularly, but I miss seeing everyone in person. I miss college a lot, which might be surprising for a teenager to say, but I really want to have face to face lessons again because I think that online classes don’t have the same personal feel. Also, the discussions we would normally have within the classroom are very difficult to replicate online. I can’t wait to go back and catch up with everyone again after college reopens.
I’m very pleased to have won a £250 Amazon gift card for being part of the final 20 although currently, I’m not sure what I’ll spend the money on. And I’m not really sure what the college should spend the money on either. Possibly we could invest into things to make the college safer for when we return after lockdown, but I’m sure Mr Rubinstein will put it to good use and has some ideas.”
Woodhouse Principal John Rubinstein said “We are delighted and very proud of Khadijah, and of course very grateful indeed to Linklaters. When we return to college we will think about how we can spend the money in a way that is appropriate, perhaps some student stress busting activities or a guest speaker programme.”

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