May 16, 2013

Clarity gave Uppsala University an advantage in complex case in Swedish Law Championship

“If one can have this much fun when matching wits against such smart colleagues, then it definitely feels like I’ve chosen the right profession,” says Rasmus Luning about his participation in the 2013 Swedish Law Championship, where he represented the winning team from Uppsala University. The finals were decided on May 3 before a jury in the Supreme Court. It was the eleventh edition of the competition, which is sponsored by Mannheimer Swartling.

“Legal rigour, innovation and imagination – combined with an interesting and engaging presentation” was how the judges described the winning efforts of Uppsala University, who received the coveted trophy as champions in Swedish law for the third time.

Competition was strong from the eleven other teams that had gone on to the local finals in Lund, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Umeå and Örebro to participate in an intense day of competition in the Supreme Court.

Engaged Jury

It was also clear that the five justices enjoyed themselves. The case they had constructed contained many colourful and imaginative details, from sudden death and greed to obscure love relationships.

“The case was complicated, with many different aspects to consider. Our strategy, therefore, was to clarify. We put a lot of time into the outline and challenged each other by trying to come up with clever angles. In addition, we practised our performances many times by reading aloud to each other,” says Rasmus Luning.

It was obviously the right approach, because he and David Gräslund, were awarded Best Defendant Team.

“Just to get into the Supreme Court and give a speech before a qualified jury was an experience in itself. It was also extremely instructive to practise arguing in a real situation, which is something that generally is not included in our education,” says Rasmus Luning.

“Everyone was so talented that we must have won by just a whisker,” he continues.
Sometimes the participants were so ardent in their defence that they were asked to slow down by the jury.

“Now calm down. In here, I am the one who decides. Now you can start – and don’t count on having any extra time,” commented Supreme Court Justice Stefan Lindskog amusedly at one point.

Best pleadings came from Stockholm University

The jury announced the winners of the competition at a banquet held at Mannheimer Swartling’s Stockholm office. Frida Gärdin and Josefin Appelgren from Stockholm University were awarded Best Plaintiff Team. In addition to being awarded this prestigious title, the team won SEK 10 000 – just like the team from Uppsala.

Frida Gärdin also won Mannheimer Swartling’s “Dispute” prize, which is awarded to a person for a particularly well-executed performance. The reward is a trip to Shanghai, where one of Mannheimer Swartling’s overseas offices is located.

“It took a long time to read up on the case and even longer before we had decided our approach. Moreover, the jury acknowledged that the case was an uphill battle for the plaintiff. So it was a challenge – but a very fun one at that. And now it feels fantastic to have won and received this recognition for the effort,” says Frida Gärdin.

Even the winning plaintiff team focused on logic and simplicity, which the jury obviously valued.

Good experience

Daniel Waerme, currently a lawyer at Mannheimer Swartling, was a member of the winning team from Lund University in 2009, and relates the advantage he had from participating in the competition.

“It is stimulating and instructive, not least in terms of oral presentation. Moreover, it is a way to stand out when it comes to job hunting after graduation,” he said.

Arvid Weimers and Fredrik Christofferson,

This year’s competition was organized by the Örebro University law society and Mannheimer Swartling, with the firm also acting as the main sponsor for the eleventh consecutive year.

“In addition to the fact that the Swedish Law Championship is a fun and different way for students to gain more experience, it is also a valuable exercise in teamwork. Something that is important in the workplace, not least here at Mannheimer Swartling,” says Jan Dernestam, Managing Partner of Mannheimer Swartling.

Prior to the national finals the teams were presented with a fictitious case written by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Lindskog that was legally accurate and involved complex elements of both tort and contract law. Finalists from each university were divided up early into teams of plaintiffs and defendants in order to have time to prepare their arguments. The twelve teams were then given the opportunity in two oral arguments to demonstrate their abilities before the Supreme Court Justices. Each team had 20 minutes at their disposal to plead and reply to the response of the other party’s pleadings.

The presiding judge during the day was Justice Stefan Lindskog, who led the jury consisting of Justices Johnny Herry, Lars Edlund, Agneta Bäcklund and Svante O. Johansson.

About the Swedish Law Championship

The competition is organized by the Association of the Swedish Law Championship, SSJM, a non-profit organization founded by legal societies in Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, Örebro, Gothenburg and Umeå. Mannheimer Swartling has long been a partner and sponsor of the contest. The legal societies take turns organising the competition, and this year the Law Association in Örebro acted as host.

More information about the contest, please click here: SM i juridik

Previous winners:

2003 Stockholm
2004 Gothenburg
2005 Lund
2006 Lund
2007 Gothenburg
2008 Uppsala
2009 Uppsala
2010 Gothenburg
2011 Stockholm
2012 Lund