From education to employment

Winchester Law student Sophie impresses the judges to win plea contest

A law student from the University of Winchester out-argued more than 20 rivals from four universities to win a prestigious competition.

Second year student Sophie Rogers received the judges’ verdict to win the Southern Inter-University Plea in Mitigation Competition.

Competitors at the event, held at Solent University, were given a pre-sentence report and sentencing guidelines and asked to present a five-minute plea in mitigation for a fictional client with the aim of reducing the offender’s sentence.

The 23 students taking part were split into six groups and presented their plea to a panel of two judges. The six group winners then made their arguments again before all 12 judges and the rest of the competitors.

One of the judges was Winchester solicitor Jonathan Whettingsteel, who was impressed by Sophie’s advocacy skills.

“Sophie was absolutely brilliant. She made a really well-constructed submission with great use of the materials, and spoke very clearly,” said Jonathan, a partner at Dutton Gregory.

“It was a really high standard throughout, and tough to pick a winner, but Sophie was very deserving of the win.”

Sophie, aged 22, from Farnborough hopes to become a criminal barrister and says she would love to work for the Crown Prosecution Service.

“I really enjoy the attention to detail involved in criminal evidence and am passionate about the impact and effect this area of law has on society,” she said. 

Julian Dobson, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Law at the University of Winchester, said:

“The Department is delighted to be able to congratulate Sophie Rogers on her fantastic achievement in representing the University and winning the Plea in Mitigation Competition.

“As she is an enthusiastic advocate and frequent user of the department Moot Room [as well as its stock of advocate wigs and gowns], we were delighted but perhaps unsurprised to hear one of the judges on the panel describing Sophie’s performance as ‘absolutely brilliant’!”

Sophie’s prize is a ‘mini pupillage’ with College Chambers in Southampton where she will spend a week shadowing barristers through a range of areas, including criminal and family law, and will attend conferences, meetings, interviews and court hearings.

The contest was organised by the national Speed Mooting Competition which allows students to compete in a realistic, fast-paced mock trials. Students taking part came from Winchester, Solent, Portsmouth and Bath Spa universities.

Related Articles