Write an article on pro bono for Lawyer 2B and win a free place at BPP

Do you dream of becoming a lawyer but cannot afford the fees? Look no further, as Lawyer 2B has once again teamed up exclusively with BPP Law School to give away two free places on its Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC).

For this competition we want you to write an article about a subject that is close to the legal profession: giving something back for the good of the community. The term that is commonly used is ‘pro bono’, and we are looking for an article on any community, voluntary or charitable project that you, your school or university has been involved with during the past 12 months.

Or you could write about an initiative that you may not have worked on, but one that inspires you. The project does not have to be related to law or the legal sector, but must have a charitable or volunteering element.

All you have to do is prepare a 1,500-word feature that would appear in Lawyer 2B, written in the third person and in a style appropriate for our readers.

Not only will the two winners see their articles in print, but they will also land a free place on either BPP’s GDL or LPC for September 2011 at any of its centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London or Manchester. The prize covers all programme fees, examination fees and a range of books and materials. Note that the LPC is run across all branches, but the GDL is only available in Leeds, London and Manchester.

As a leading provider of legal education BPP has an award-winning pro bono centre that undertakes a wide variety of projects, allowing students to put their legal skills into practice to benefit members of the community who may not otherwise have access to legal services. For more information visit www.bpplawschool.com.

Top tips for writing a prize-winning feature

  • Before attempting to put pen to paper, read ­articles in Lawyer 2B and other magazines to see how the professionals do it. Also, do not forget to check out last year’s winning entries, which can be found online at Lawyer2B.com.
  • When coming up with ideas for the article think about who reads Lawyer 2B. Is the subject matter relevant for aspiring lawyers, or will they switch off after the first paragraph? Remember, you do not have to be involved in the project you are writing about, and bear in mind that the best features focus on issues that are topical or controversial.
  • All features must be based on real projects and not on fiction.
  • If you are planning to interview someone senior (for example the head of a charity or project), we recommend that, unless you know the individual already, you get in touch with their press office.
  • Get permission before quoting someone directly in your feature and do not forget to include their job title. You do not have to quote everyone you interview. Put direct quotes in speech marks, for example: Husnara Begum, editor of Lawyer 2B, says: “I’m very excited about reading the entries for this year’s competition.” Allow interviewees to check their quotes for accuracy, but do not show them the finished article – you are the author, not them.
  • Stick to the word count. Articles that are too short or too long will be disqualified.

Terms and conditions

  • BPP is offering two prizes: one free place on the GDL and one free place on the LPC.
  • The places can be taken at any of BPP’s law school centres, and the prizes apply for September 2011 only. There is no cash alternative.
  • Articles must be submitted by email no later than midnight on Friday 11 February 2011.
  • Articles should be sent to lawyer2b@bpp.com.
  • Anything sent to an ­incorrect email address or past the deadline will not be counted. No other form of entry will be accepted.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final and no correspondence will be entered into concerning the outcome of the competition.
  • BPP and Lawyer 2B reserve the right to edit the winning articles.
  • Winners must agree to take part in any publicity BPP or Lawyer 2B may require.
  • Articles must be original work and any form of plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification.
  • The full name, job title and organisation/charity of everyone who has been interviewed for the purpose of the article must be provided.
  • Full consent must be obtained from all persons who are quoted in the article. BPP and Lawyer 2B reserve the right to contact such persons to fact-check their quotes, where appropriate.
  • Shortlisted entrants must be able to attend a final selection panel interview in London. If you are successful at getting through to this stage but either fail to attend or are unable to attend due to, but not excluding, other circumstances, holidays, ­sickness or work placements, you will forfeit your place on the course.
  • BPP and Lawyer 2B reserve the right to change the date of the final selection panel. Finalists will be notified as soon as possible should this occur.
  • Finalists called to the final selection panel in London will be provided with more detailed information of what will be involved nearer to the time.
  • The competition is open only to students whose GDL or LPC is not being sponsored by any other source. A candidate or finalist who obtains sponsorship during the competition will be disqualified. Existing BPP GDL students are eligible to enter.
  • Competition winners must be available to attend publicity and events as requested. If competition winners are unable to attend, the free place will pass to the runner-up in their category.
  • To accept the prize the winner must meet BPP’s admissions criteria (including residency) and have applied for a place at any of BPP’s five law school centres.
  • Employees, and their ­immediate families, of BPP and Lawyer 2B and anyone connected with members of the judging panel are not eligible to enter either of the competitions.

Checklist

All articles are to be ­submitted with a covering page, which must include the following:

  • A headline for the article
  • Total word count
  • Title, first and last names
  • Home and term-time addresses
  • Landline and mobile numbers, with the number you want for your main correspondence highlighted, and an email address
  • University and course/degree (for current students and graduates)

Judging criteria

Articles will be judged on the following:

  • Eye-catching headline
  • Clarity and style of writing
  • Research (paper-based and interviews)
  • Structure
  • Content and relevance to audience
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Engagement with audience