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14th Dec 2012

Students take the law into their own hands

Budding lawyers at Ashfield Girls’ School, Belfast have gained a unique insight into potential careers in law

They teamed up with negotiation specialists from legal firm Allen & Overy to crack the art of successful bartering. 

The one-day workshop held at the law firm’s Belfast-based Legal Services Centre aimed to help the girls develop the critical skills used by successful lawyers and encourage them to consider a career in law.

The event, coordinated by Allen & Overy, tasked 17 sixth form students with real-life scenarios that legal professionals face and also used experiences from students’ lives to show how planning and effective communication can support positive outcomes. 

Students also had a chance to test their newfound skills and hone their commercial awareness during a Dragon’s Den-style challenge that asked them to negotiate and close a business deal. The day ended with a short legal careers discussion led by lawyers from the LSC.

Jane Townsend, head of Allen & Overy’s Legal Services Centre in Belfast said: “Good negotiation skills are essential in the legal sector but can help people advance in any walk of life. Every day our lawyers put these skills to use to reach positive outcomes outside and inside the business. We are pleased to be equipping young people with practical knowhow that can raise their aspirations and develop skills for success.

“This workshop is about understanding what negotiation means, learning how to apply the principles and fostering the confidence to use them. The young negotiators showed a lot of promise and wowed us with their quick thinking and hard bargaining.”

Paula Doak, head of sixth form at Ashfield Girls’ School said: “This day demonstrates the important role negotiation plays in our everyday lives. The realistic scenarios require teamwork, time management, analytical thinking, comprehension, presentation and debating skills. 

“The Allen & Overy workshop gives students a chance to participate in interactive learning that is meaningful to them and focused on real-life scenarios. I’m sure many of the girls will be applying their newfound skills on teachers and parents to renegotiate homework and chores.”

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