CAC 2020-21 FAQs

Pre-Competition

How do I know if I’m eligible to enter the Competition?

You must:

  • Be an Aspiring Solicitors member; and
  • Identify with one of the following underrepresented groups in the legal profession: (i) Black, Asian or minority ethnic; (ii) socially mobile (primary carer, from a low-income family, state school educated, first generation to attend university, refugee or received local authority care); (iii) LGBTQ+; (iv) have a disability or long-term health condition; and
  • Be an undergraduate, postgraduate or graduate (whether working or in education); and
  • Not have secured a training contract offer; and
  • Be based in the UK for the purposes of competing in person at the Grand Final.

I’ve graduated, can I still enter?

Yes! Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates are strongly encouraged to apply.

I’m in my first year, can I still enter?

Yes! A number of first year students have reached previous Finals of the Competition.

I have limited commercial awareness, should I still enter?

Yes!! The Competition is a great way to gauge how advanced your commercial awareness is, build confidence as well as identify gaps in your knowledge to guide your development of your commercial awareness. It isn’t just about the people that reach the final!

For the first time this year, there will be a practice round that allows you to get a feel for the Competition before completing Round 1.

I’m on a year abroad, can I still participate in the Competition?

You must be based in the UK for the purposes of competing in person at the Grand Final. Your reimbursable travel expenses for attending the Grand Final (should you need to claim these) are capped at £75.

When does the Competition start?

Round 1, which must be completed online, is in October 2020. You will be given LexisNexis pre-reading that will form part of the Round 1 assessment (5 questions out of 30) in advance of this date.

How do I prepare for the Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition?

Develop an interest in business!

Read business news publications on a daily basis in whichever medium you prefer e.g. hardcopy newspaper, online articles, audio podcasts.

Discuss commercial and business news with friends/colleagues and practice developing and delivering opinions on an issue to ensure you understand the material that you have read or listened to.

Aspiring Solicitors recommends that you dedicate at least 20 minutes per day to reviewing business news and analysing its impact on law firms and their clients.

Will I have to enter as part of a team or can I compete individually?

All entrants register as individuals and you will not be required to form a team at any stage. Aspiring Solicitors will place entrants in teams at the Semi-Finals and Grand Final but you will be assessed as an individual throughout.

I took part last year, can I enter again?

Yes! A number of former winners competed in the Competition several times before their victory. We actively encourage previous competitors to re-enter the Competition and continue to develop their commercial awareness.

COVID-19

How will Covid-19 impact this year’s Competition?

In a limited way. Online rounds 1 and 2 are always virtual and so will be unaffected.

For the first time this year, the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals will be taking place via video conferencing. Your core commercial awareness abilities and skills will still be tested in the same way, with judges from sponsor law firms taking part. Full details of each round will be provided once you progress beyond Rounds 1 and 2.

We intend to deliver the Grand Final in-person in January 2021 where permitted by UK Government policy and will be taking all advisable precautions as set out at that time.

If I win, will I still be able to complete a vacation scheme with the sponsor firms?

This is subject to each sponsor firm’s policy, but the intention is to deliver the vacation scheme prizes in the normal way where this is possible.

During the Competition

Can I use different email addresses during the course of the Competition e.g. when completing online rounds?

No. When you register and supply a contact email address, you must use the same email address throughout the Competition e.g. when completing the online rounds and booking a Quarter-Final assessment slot. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

How will I be contacted by Aspiring Solicitors?

All emails will be sent from an @aspiringsolicitors.co.uk email account. If you have registered but have not received an email from Aspiring Solicitors, please ensure that you check your spam and junk folders in your inbox.

The most common reason not to receive an email from Aspiring Solicitors is due to submitting an incorrectly spelled email address. Please enter this with care every time you are asked to do so.

I’m not available for one of the rounds, are alternative dates available?

The date and time of each round cannot be revised or rescheduled. If there is a significant issue preventing your participation, please email cac@aspiringsolicitors.co.uk stating your name and reason for non-participation at least 48 hours in advance of the relevant round of the Competition.

What do I need to complete the online rounds?

A PC/tablet/mobile phone with a reliable internet connection is all you need.

We recommend a download speed minimum of 25 Mbps.

Can I use revision notes for the online rounds?

No resources that may give you an unfair advantage, such as internet resources e.g. search engines, newspapers, journals or notes, are permitted during the Competition.

Use, or suspicion of use of these, or similar resources, will result in automatic disqualification.

What happens if my internet goes down when I’m completing Rounds 1 or 2, Quarter Final or Semi Final?

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in a suitable location with an appropriate internet connection to complete the online test.

Should you lose connection/miss the test time, we will not be able to reschedule your test and therefore you will not progress to the next round.

Please note that online Rounds 1 and 2 can be completed via mobile which can be more reliable.

When will I be informed if I am successful at each round of the Competition?

You will be contacted by email in the week following the relevant round.

I am given additional time for exams, will this apply to the online rounds?

Yes. As part of the registration process, you will have the opportunity to request additional time and submit supporting medical evidence.

Please ensure you complete this section of the form carefully.

I am a socially mobile candidate, can I get financial support to fund travel to the Grand Final?

Necessary public transport travel expenses incurred for the purposes of competing will be reimbursed for the Semi-Finals and Grand Final.

Please note all travel expense claims will be assessed on an ad-hoc basis and Aspiring Solicitors reserves the right to refuse the reimbursement of travel expenses in excess of the standard £75 limit if incurred without Aspiring Solicitors’ advance approval.

When will my travel expenses for the Semi-Final and Grand Final rounds be reimbursed?

Participants that provide physical public transport expenses receipts (physical or digital) at the Grand Final will be given a cheque on the day. These cheques can then be cashed by the participants. Expenses claims are processed on the day and any receipts submitted after the relevant round will not be reimbursed.

What happens if halfway through the Competition I get a training contract?

If you secure a Training Contract during the Competition, you must immediately inform Aspiring Solicitors so that the organisation can (i) congratulate you and (ii) remove you from the Competition as the Commercial Awareness Competition is only open to Aspiring Solicitors members who do not have a Training Contract.

Do any of the winners actually get training contacts with the sponsor firms?

Yes, a number of winners have converted their vacation schemes into training contracts: 85% of finalists who competed in 2017, 2018 and 2019 have secured a training contract.

If the above information does not address your query, please contact cac@aspiringsolicitors.co.uk.