Student views

Lauren Howe, Huddersfield Law School,  Placed Fourth in 2014 National Competition

I was fortunate enough to take part in the Client Interviewing Competition as a first year. This was a daunting task as I didn’t think I knew any law, and I certainly hadn’t covered the area of law that was the focus of the competition that year (commercial).

I am so glad that I did take part. It turned out that the majority of the competition revolved around your skills as a communicator and on getting information from a client. I also received very positive feedback for considering practical solutions as well as legal ones -things like speaking to Trading Standards or offering compromises to the other side. I was in a team with a third year student who knew rather a lot more law than I did. This meant that not only did I learn a fair bit along the way (which helped in subsequent years) but I also made a good friend. Our friendship was invaluable working through my degree as she understood what I was going through.

I was amazed to not only make it through the regional competitions but to place in the national finals. I have kept in touch with several competitors and mentors from the competition. Networking is a massive part of law and is something that you cannot start too early!

Client interviewing has been something that employers have been very interested in and have discussed this with me at length. Communication and the ability to encourage a client to confide in you is one of the most important parts of being a lawyer and the value of taking part in this competition is immeasurable. It improved my self-confidence, my self-awareness and provided an incomparable opportunity.

I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I have had.

Dominic Griffin, Sussex Law School, 2014 National Champions and international participant (currently trainee solicitor at Macfarlanes)

I had a great time with the Client Interviewing Competition. I paired up with a friend during the final year of my law degree and we both enjoyed it hugely.

The competition itself was a great opportunity to meet other students from around the country, and the day had a really positive atmosphere. We were lucky enough to win and so a trip to Puerto Rico for the international finals was a great diversion before studying for our final exams! The competition was a lot of fun, but it also helped me to develop a lot of the soft skills that employers look for. I enjoyed the whole interview process: the niceties around ensuring that a client is comfortable and happy to discuss their issue, questioning them and unpicking their statements to drive at the truth of the situation, and devising a solution that has their best legal and commercial interests at its core. These are important skills for lawyers, as they need to be able to engage with clients and understand their priorities. I also found that it helped me to keep the practical side of the law in mind during my studies.

My involvement with the competition not only helped me make the most of my final year, it also played a big part in securing a training contract. Being able to demonstrate an ability to work with clients and provide creative solutions, all while under pressure, is a strong asset to have and one that employers value.

Because of this, and because of how much I enjoyed the whole experience, I would highly recommend the competition to any student.