Client Interviewing 2017: Brighton University
Every year our University holds a client interviewing competition with the winning pair going onto compete in the Client Interviewing Competition for England and Wales. The aim is to help develop our client interviewing skills in an educational format. The finals of this year’s internal heat took place on Tuesday 5 December and the competition was impressive, with excellent support and guidance from Jeanette Ashton.
The competition provided all participants with the vital skills required to communicate effectively with a client, in an interview to promote client transparency. Upon completion of the initial internal competitive stages the finalists were as follows: Naomi Kehinde and Victoria Abel, Nimrah Naseem and Hannah Loraine. The winners of the final Naomi and Victoria their ability to confidently advise on the law was what ultimately won them the internal competition (and will hopefully carry them further through to the international competition!)
The format of the competition was easily accessible, with workshops featuring guest speakers who gave practical insight regarding the world of client interviewing. This programme has improved the confidence of all participants when interviewing clients facing legal issues. And provided an understanding of the complexities involved and the importance managing client expectations during initial interview stages. One of the most challenging aspects of this competition would have to be preparing for client interviews, where you are unaware of the legal issue prior to the meeting. Therefore, a lot of deduction alongside practical, legal and alternative advice is required to guide the client and highlight the options that they have available to them.
In their decision the judges concluded that both teams demonstrated remarkable empathy, arguably the cornerstone for client interviewing. It is also important to note that anyone facing a legal issue will need their prospective solicitor to have a good understanding of their situation in order to develop a good rapport with them and ultimately be able to give them the most suitable advice. This opportunity provided those who participated with practical guidance and a platform to practise their client interface skills.
Both pairs who took part in the final are eager to enhance this new-found skill set at the Training Day that has been arranged by the Client Interviewing Competition for England & Wales. We would all wish to thank Jeanette Ashton who has supported us throughout this competition alongside the two Judges for the finals; Susan Warwick (Commercial property and Private Client lawyer, Freelance and at Coffin Mew LLP, Brighton) and Ashley Concannon (CPE Second Year Student & Winner of the 2016 Internal Competition).
We would also like to thank all of the guest speakers that have taken out their time to offer us practical advice for this competition and for our prospective career paths in future; Daniel Dickson (Rix and Kay Solicitors, Brighton) and Fionnuala Richardson (International Final Runner-up 2016, Trainee Trade Mark Attorney at A.A. Thornton & Co, London).
Written by Nimrah Naseem
Edited by Hannah Loraine
Photos by Alice Bowers