Kent students through to national final of Client Interviewing Competition

Kent law students Meghan Daniels and Feryel Beyrakdar are through to the national final of the Client Interviewing Competition for England and Wales.

Meghan and Feryel, both Stage 3 Law LLB students, secured their place in the final after winning a regional heat of the annual competition against teams from University College London, City University and the University of Greenwich (pictured). The regional heat, held yesterday, was hosted by Kent, with each team completing two different interviews before two different panels of judges.

The national final will take place on Saturday 12 March and will be hosted by Irwin Mitchell LLP at their Sheffield offices. Meghan and Feryel will be competing against 8 teams for a chance to represent the UK, in the International Client Consultation Competition to be held in Ontario, Canada, from 27 to 30 April.

All teams competing in the eight regional heats held across England and Wales were invited to attend a national training day held at Oxford Brookes University in January. The day included an introduction to the competition and a demonstration, discussion and critique of client interviewing skills based on a filmed interview. In the afternoon, each team completed a short interview and received feedback from an experienced tutor. There were also opportunities to ask questions of experienced competition judges, faculty coaches and past competitors.

This year’s national competition has been themed in Family Law (to coincide with the subject area of this year’s international competition) and each pair will be required to complete three different interviews on the day of the final. Teams from Kent Law School have successfully reached the national final for the last four successive years, finishing equal 9th in 2015,  5th in 2014, and 7th in 2013.

The competition tests law students on their interviewing and counselling skills and centres on a simulated law office interview. Law students work in teams of two to interview and advise a “client”. Their management of the interview is judged according to criteria which include: establishing a good working relationship with the client; recognising and handling the legal problem; ethical and personal issues; including costs; and finally offering appropriate advice. Details of the assessment criteria are available online.

The competition requires students not merely to know the law relating to a particular subject matter, but also to employ effective interviewing techniques and be aware of a variety of considerations which they might not otherwise appreciate as law students. A post-interview reflection is an integral part of the competition which allows the students to explain their techniques, discuss the law and their projected strategies and provides an opportunity for self-criticism.

Client Interviewing is one of three alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options open to students at Kent; the other two are mediation and negotiation. Students can also develop practical legal skills through participation in the work of Kent Law Clinic, mooting and mock trials. Law Lecturer Johanne Thompson, who runs the extra-curricular Client Interviewing module at Kent and who organised yesterday’s competition, has been invited to assist as a judge in the international competition taking place in Canada in April.