GDL students Millie Parrott and Aaron Pooni secured the trophy for the third time in the last 4 years at the event held on Saturday 25 November 2016.
The Surrey Law Society hosted the eleventh annual Client Interview Competition where law students from universities around the UK pit themselves against challenging “clients”. Three teams from The University of Law joined contenders from Surrey University and Royal Holloway, University of London at the Royal Holloway School of Law in Egham to interview fellow students or university staff posing as clients.
Representing The University of Law were GDL students Niamh McDonagh and Bethan Morris, Millie Parrott and Aaron Pooni, and LPC students Georgina O’Sullivan and Sadia Sham. While all of the university’s teams were commended by the judges, it was Millie and Aaron who triumphantly lifted the cup at the end of the competition.
The competition gives students the chance to demonstrate their interpersonal and communication skills, emphasising that the ability to maintain a good rapport with a client is just as important as the legal skills you’re providing.
This scenario may have been a little dramatic compared to others, aspiring solicitor Sadia Sham said that taking part in the competition can be really beneficial as it “will help you practise your interviewing skills and build your confidence” in a (fairly) realistic setting. Not to mention that the experience can help you “stand out on your training contract applications or CV as it demonstrates a range of skills which are highly sought after by employers”.
Associate Professor, Jo Theobald, gives her top tips on how to handle client interviews:
Client Interview Top Tips
- Have a friendly, professional manner that inspires confidence; practise your greeting and early stages of the interview so they go smoothly
- Remember the importance of eye contact and body language
- Include both open and closed style questions
- Avoid legal jargon; translate the law into something meaningful and practical for the client
- Explain the legal position clearly, but also discuss different options and their pros and cons with the client
- Consider practical points, such as where to obtain necessary evidence for a possible claim, likely costs involved etc.
- At the end of the interview give the client a very clear picture of what will happen next; cover follow-up tasks, next contact, likely time-scales and possible costs etc.
- Overall, be well structured, organised, confident, and maintain a good rapport with the client throughout
To find out how our programmes are designed to give you the real-world legal skills employers are looking for, visit our courses page.