After receiving over 250 applications for DICTUM, a first of its kind legal research competition, vLex is delighted to reveal the 9 finalists and announce the 2021 winner. DICTUM’s winner will receive a £500 cash prize and will be embarking on an internship at vLex next year.

London, United Kingdom. 8th October 2021. — DICTUM is a brand new legal research competition created this year by vLex’s Mary Ibrahim to prepare emerging professionals for their careers in the legal industry. DICTUM provides a unique opportunity for students to fine-tune their legal research skills, and the accredited competition includes work experience opportunities to enhance the employability of candidates.

DICTUM efficiently teaches students how to navigate the vLex platform and use machine learning tools to analyse legal documents. This is an important skill to master early on in their careers, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the legal industry to move online and showed an urgent need for legal professionals to understand and incorporate sophisticated legal technology into their practice areas.’’ — Mary Ibrahim, DICTUM Founder and vLex Training Consultant.

What did the DICTUM competition involve?

In the first stage of the competition, over 250 registered students from 44 universities were invited to provide a 500-word written answer to a legal question, solely using the vLex platform for their research. Following a shortlisting process, the 9 entrants with the highest scores proceeded to the second stage of the competition and were asked to prepare a presentation on a specific area of law, which they delivered to a panel of judges.

Who are the finalists?

vLex is pleased to announce and offer congratulations to the 9 finalists of the second stage of the competition: Ana-Maria Mocanu from the University of Bedfordshire, Ben Paul McCarthy from the University of Nottingham, Daniel Tella from Middlesex University, Ebony Rose from the Open University, Emily Freeman from Liverpool Hope University, Ho Chiu Yee Phoebe from the London School of Economics, Marina Nicolaou from Leeds Beckett University, Nikita Uttamsingh from the University of Law, and Shaan Fernando from Leeds Beckett University.

After careful consideration, the judges awarded Ana-Maria Mocanu third place for her intuitive analysis of a defendant’s liability in a criminal case. Second place was awarded to Nikita Uttamsingh who meticulously used case law and journals from vLex to explore tort law, focusing on an employer’s liability as well as vicarious liability. Finally, first place was awarded to Daniel Tella. Daniel’s lively and thought-provoking presentation successfully demonstrated his understanding of the set question as he used vLex to thoroughly research each element of a criminal case and identify key issues within it.

“Congratulations to Daniel and our runners-up, Nikita and Ana-Maria, and a special thank you to all those who applied and made the competition’s first year running a success. Based on my own experience as a law graduate, I know first-hand that many university competitions focus heavily on the oral presentation of legal arguments, but do not place the same emphasis on the skill of legal research. DICTUM aimed to bridge this gap and strengthen students’ research, analytical and project management skills. I have been thoroughly impressed by this year’s entries and I look forward to next year’s competition.” — Mary Ibrahim, DICTUM Founder and vLex Training Consultant.

“It was fascinating to get a rare insight into the digital journeys students make when researching problems. As a judge in the DICTUM competition, and as someone who has spent many years teaching legal research skills, this was the first time I’d been plunged into their thought processes so thoroughly. I was delighted to see such extensive use of vLex and the many sources it houses, and also the variety of ways in which the finalists chose to narrate their journeys to us. Many congratulations to the winner Daniel and runners-up, Nikita and Ana-Maria. It is brilliant for Mary and vLex to get a competition like this off the ground, emphasising to law students how crucial it is to carry out high-quality research, whether preparing for an essay question, problem question or moot.” — Emily Allbon, DICTUM Judge & Associate Professor, City University of London.

About vLex

vLex is home to the world’s largest collections of legal and regulatory information. Founded over 20 years ago, vLex enables thousands of lawyers, law firms, government departments and law schools to access over 120 million legal documents, using AI-powered tools to quickly find a unique set of highly relevant search results. vLex acquired Justis Publishing in March 2019, and have integrated their content and features into the flagship vLex platform. The team of over 200 lawyers, engineers, and editorial experts continually strive to deliver up-to-date legal information and industry-leading AI-powered technology.

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Winners announced for vLex’s legal research competition, DICTUM was originally published in vLex News and Updates on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.