Centre for Legal Education

The client interviewing competition continued with a training session taking place on Tuesday 17 October. Student competitors were briefed to access online materials to observe a series of interviews prior to the meeting in order to understand the broad concept of the interview and to model good practice.

My focus for the training is to information share on a process for conducting an interview. The session evolves with student interchange and interaction via role play together with a joint analysis of the judging criteria and light coverage of interviewing theory.

A substantial part of the training focuses on establishing a working relationship between the parties. As the competition is open to LLB and postgraduate students (GDL and LPC) the training incorporated the explanation of concepts that may not have been covered in a previous period of study, for example, client confidentiality, fees and the possibility of further professional conduct issues arising in the interview with the client.

I have drawn on the work of Professor Linda Smith[1] to prompt discussion on interviewing  as a type of professional conversation between client and solicitors. Students were briefed about the use of small talk, mirroring, conversational norms and how these affect the conduct of the interview and the relationship between the parties.

I am currently interested in developing further analysis of the creation of trust in the lawyer/client relationship and how this can be measured.

In terms of the competition, students will now complete a practice round which is self-supervised and judged. The second round of competition will then take place with a law school tutor who will judge competitors. The four highest scoring teams will then progress to the next round.

Helen Taylor

Contact Helen at helen.taylor@ntu.ac.uk

[1] Linda F Smith, ‘Client-Lawyer Talk: Lessons from Other Disciplines’ (2006) 13 Clinical Law Review 505.