Students from the Corporate Finance LLM participated in a pioneering LLM apprentice competition last month where a practitioner panel of corporate lawyers from leading UK and US firms judged participants’ presentations.

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Corporate Finance Law Apprentice winners
Back row: Mr. Gerard Kelly (Module Leader) with
LLM Apprentice finalists (Mr. Mahesh Pillai,
Mr. Sebastian Okinczyc, and Ms. Maria Blanco)
Front row: Practitioner panel (Ms. Anushree Bagrodia,
Corporate Associate, Sidley Austin LLP and
Ms. Kristin Van Niekerk, General Counsel,
Argenta Holdings plc)

The participants, all students of the Environmental and Social Responsibility module on the Corporate Finance LLM, presented their research on the theme Approaches to Environmental Regulation. The students’ critiques included presentations advocating the adoption of subsidisation, mixed regulatory approaches, market trading, enhanced civic participation and an evaluation of the role of ‘emotion’ in regulatory design.

The event took place over two evenings in late November, fittingly in the University’s boardroom on Regent Street, and the practitioners’ panel included lawyers admitted to practice in no less than five jurisdictions, including New York, South Africa, India, Ireland, England and Wales. The panel comprised Caitríona McCarthy (Slaughter & May), Jonathan Shaw (Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP), Andrea Buti (Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP), Anushree Bagrodia (Sidley Austin LLP) Ms. Kristin Van Niekerk (Argenta Holdings plc).

The three leading presentations from the first round qualified for the final where Sebastian Okinczyc was selected as the winner of the competition.

Gerard Kelly, Environmental and Social Responsibility module leader, explained the programme was designed to provide constructive feedback from practitioners and allow students’ to develop and fine-tune their presentational skills.

Andrea Buti, a corporate attorney with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, noted that he was impressed by the standard of the students’ presentations and noted that a range of qualities were exhibited from research depth to persuasive presentational skills. He commended the students’ on their research and efforts and wished them well in their studies.

It is hoped that the competition will become an annual event for students of the Environmental module on the Corporate Finance LLM and will provide an invaluable opportunity for aspiring lawyers to refine their presentational skills in a contained environment and gain critical feedback from City-based corporate practitioners.

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