Students Staff

19 March 2015

Essex law team win through to national final

Madeleine Cowper and Tasneem Sadiq

Madeleine Cowper and Tasneem Sadiq

Students from the School of Law at the University of Essex were runners-up in the national final of the Client Interviewing Competition.

LLB students Madeleine Cowper and Tasneem Sadiq missed out on the top prize by just one point - the closest result in the competition's history. The team were supported in their preparations by Ian Seely from leading solicitors Prettys.

Richard Owen, Law Clinic Director in the School of Law, said: “This is the first time that Essex has submitted a team and there were a record number of entries. It was a very demanding day as competitors had to conduct three client interviews, and had to advise on any aspect of law relating to small businesses many of which are optional subjects which students may or may not have studied.

“In addition, each judging panel consisted of an academic lawyer, a practising lawyer, and a counsellor so they were being judged from very different perspectives.”

Tasneem said: “The competition gave us an invaluable insight into the importance of communication skills between lawyers and clients. It was a fantastic experience which has helped us take the academic skills we have learned throughout our degree and transfer them to a simulated workplace, hopefully improving our client-skills for the future.”

Madeleine added: “It was a highly rewarding experience as it gave us an idea of the day-to-day issues that lawyers face when interviewing clients. The competition improved our communication and problem solving skills and gave us an opportunity to apply legal theory to real-world situations.”

A total of 36 law schools entered the competition this year, the largest number ever. Irwin Mitchell solicitors hosted all three regional events at their offices in London, Sheffield and Birmingham. A national training day at Oxford Brookes University saw 85 students briefed and taking part in practice interviews with feedback from experienced coaches and former competition winners.

The competition aims to encourage the promotion and development of the skills involved in client interviewing within an educational context. The annual event focuses on the skills of interviewing and counselling and is based around a simulated law office interview. Law students, working in teams of two, interview and advise a client – played by an actor. They are assessed on their interpersonal skills as well as their ability to handle a legal problem. The main aim of the competition is to promote the development of lawyers' soft skills and to enable law students to practise them at a high level.

...more news releases