Manchester survives the Blitz

A team of law undergraduates from Manchester University has won the coveted Boardroom Blitz trophy

Boardroom Blitz the business game for law students run by Berwin Leighton in association with The Lawyer reached its conclusion in a final held at the start of the month.

The Manchester University team claimed first prize, coming from behind to win in the last round by an impressive margin, ahead of Southampton.

“We made a couple of mistakes today and thought we'd blown our chance,” said team captain and president of the Manchester University Law Society Brad Skinner.

“It was our adventurous final round strategy that finally won it for us and we are really pleased.”

Colin Rymill of BIMG, which was commissioned by Berwin Leighton to run the game, said: “The quality of the final was excellent and one of the closest I have seen.”

Boardroom Blitz is aimed at second-year law undergraduates. The game started in October last year with a complement of 10 groups of teams.

There were six initial rounds with teams making strategic decisions on the running of a fictional business.

The five teams showing the greatest overall profit went forward to the final which was competed over a further six rounds, but under the pressure of having just 40 minutes to complete each round.

Announcing the winners, at a prize-giving reception at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Berwin Leighton's managing partner, Robert Jones, said: “We hoped the game would appeal to students who were competitive, commercial and team players the qualities which mark out successful lawyers in the City rather than those preferring more academic contests such as essay writing.

“A key piece of advice from The Lawyer was that we should open out the competition to every one of the 125 law faculties in the UK, and we were delighted to receive entries from 49 teams. I understand that this level of response for the first running of such a competition is remarkably high.

“The players were the heroes today. Having fought through six preliminary rounds to reach the final, they have been stretched physically, mentally and emotionally.

“It has given them a taste of life in the City where, every day, lawyers are required to find creative solutions to business problems, usually working as part of a team,” said Jones.

Dinah Crystal, of Manchester University's law faculty, said of Boardroom Blitz: “Our students got a genuine thrill out of playing and winning. The faculty is looking forward to next year's game.”

Mark Wyatt, representing The Lawyer, said that his newspaper was keen to support the game because “the marketplace is changing and the profession is demanding an improved level of commercial awareness from its recruits”.

“Boardroom Blitz is modern and interesting and provides lawyers of the future with a taste of what is to come,” he added.

Manchester team member Andy Chubb said: “We had to think carefully about our business strategy and what our competitors were doing. The game has given me a commercial awareness.”

Ben Waters, captain of the Hull team which finished in fourth place, said: “Taking part in the game has been a great experience.”

The 1998/99 Boardroom Blitz competition is open to second-year law undergraduates and will begin in November. Look out for posters and leaflets in universities, colleges and law faculties in September.