The Legal Apprentice - The Final 2019

18 June 2019

The Times/Kingsley Napley Legal Apprentice competition will hold the final round at News UK headquarters in London on 19 June.

Over 500 teams from schools all over the UK entered the competition and the finalists consist of the following four schools: St Mary’s Grammar School from Northern Ireland; Rhyl Sixth, Landrillo College from Wales; Parkstone Grammar School from Dorset and Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School from Kent. A further 150 students from participating schools will join them at the final to cheer them on as they battle it out for a chance to win a legal apprenticeship at our firm. In addition, the winning school will receive £5,000 and each team member receives £500. Each runner up team member will receive £200.

A panel of highly esteemed legal practitioners and commentators will make the final call on the day. The judges will be:

Stephen Parkinson, senior partner, Kingsley napley

I went to a comprehensive school and then university in London before qualifying as a barrister.  I realised early on in my career that I wanted to specialise in criminal law and so I joined what became the Crown Prosecution Service and spent the next 20 years in that and other Government departments, ending up as Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s office. 

In 2003, I made the switch to become a defence lawyer, and so I came to Kingsley Napley, requalifying as a solicitor.  I led the criminal defence team here for 11 years but last year I stepped away from that job to become the Senior Partner, ie head, of the firm. I still practice criminal law.  As a judge I will be particularly interested to see how the candidates respond to questions from the judges and the audience.


Cordella Bart-Stewart, director, black solicitors network

Part of the Windrush generation, Cordella Bart-Stewart was born in Jamaica, came to England as a child and was the first in her family to go onto higher education. She graduated in Law from North Staffordshire Polytechnic in 1980, attended the College of Law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1987. She went on to set up her own solicitors’ general practice firm in North London, later specialised in immigration and family law and now mainly works as a fee paid Immigration Judge.

She has an honorary degree from Staffordshire University, is a former governor, is founding member and director of the Black Solicitors Network, a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, external examiner for BPP Law School and a Council member of the Law Society of England & Wales for North Middlesex. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year.

As a judge, Cordella will be looking for good communication skills, strength of character but not arrogance, and the ability to absorb information quickly and accurately.


Colin Passmore, senior partner, simmons & simmons

Colin qualified in 1984 and joined Simmons & Simmons in 1986, becoming a partner in 1990 and a solicitor advocate (civil) in 1999.  He became the Senior Partner in 2011.  He continues to maintain his litigation practice.  Over the last 35 years Colin has worked in England, Hong Kong and the Middle East from where he has developed a varied commercial and financial litigation practice that encompasses both international and domestic dispute. 

Colin published the 3rd edition of “Privilege” in July 2013, with the 4th edition to be published in 2019.  This is one of the leading textbooks on the subject of legal professional privilege. 

During his time as Senior Partner, Colin Passmore has led a number of successful CR & Diversity initiatives, both internally and across the legal sector. Colin is currently leading a City of London Law Society social mobility enquiry to understand and share best practice amongst leading city law firms. At Simmons & Simmons, Colin leads the firm’s gender balance strategy and is a visible champion. He is also the firm’s senior ally. In 2017, Colin led the rollout of the firm’s new sponsorship scheme to support female partners of the future and has championed the rollout of firm wide, mandatory Inclusive Leadership & Unconscious Bias training. In 2017, Colin was ranked 25 in the 2017 FT and HERoes Champions of Women in Business list.

As a solicitor advocate himself, Colin is looking forward to identifying future advocates for the profession.


Frances Gibb, former legal editor, The Times

Frances Gibb is a journalist. She covered legal affairs for the The Times over some 30 years, where as legal editor she was responsible for daily news coverage, weekly law pages and student law supplements. She also launched and co-edited The Brief, the newspaper’s daily legal bulletin, organising several debates and high-profile events.

Frances did her journalistic training on the Times Higher Education Supplement, moving after four years to the Daily Telegraph and her first job on a national newspaper, as art sales correspondent. After two years she moved to The Times, becoming a general reporter, before taking up the role of legal correspondent and later of legal editor. She retired earlier this year.

She has twice won the Bar Council legal reporting awards and has an honorary masters degree from the Open University where she will shortly take up a visiting professorship in the law school. She continues to write occasional pieces for The Times.


Judith Seddon, partner, Ropes & Gray

I specialise in white-collar crime, fraud, corruption and regulatory and criminal investigations and prosecutions. I have deep experience and expertise in advising corporates, financial institutions and individuals in internal investigations and when facing complex investigations and enforcement action by regulators and prosecutions, both domestically and cross-border. I deal with some of the most complex and high profile investigations and prosecutions.

I joined Ropes & Gray in February 2018 to co-lead the London anti-corruption and international risk practice.

I am consistently ranked as a band 1 leading practitioner by Chambers and Legal 500.

I was named in Who’s Who Legal 2018 as ‘Business Crime Lawyer of the Year’ and am a regular commentator and speaker on white collar and corporate crime issues. 

As a judge, I will be particularly interested in seeing your understanding and interpretation of the law, your attention to detail, judgement in the particular situation and your enthusiasm for this task.


Media enquiries and requests for interview, please contact: Sara Viglione at Bell Yard Communications 020 7936 2021

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