The School Law takes part in the Annual National Client Interviewing Competition.
Each year, during the Autumn Term, the School of Law organises two sets of client interview training for a total of approximately 60 students. The training is given by alumni who are practicing lawyers in London firms. Students learn the techniques of obtaining information, asking open questions, active listening and the importance of building a good relationship with the client. An internal Reading Client Interviewing competition is held with five teams of two students interviewing a “client” to discover his or her legal probelm and offer some advice. The subject matter of the problem the client has varies from year to year; in 2019 it was theft and other crimes covered by the Theft Acts. The team which the Reading panel of judges decides conducts the best interview represents Reading at the Regional Final. Both the winning team and the two other best interviewers get the opportunity to attend a Master Class in Client Interviewing on a Saturday in January which this year was held at Oxford Brooks University. The Regional Final was held at Exeter University.
This year the Reading team was Manon Williams and Kyle Oba. Kyle said of the experience that “…I found that it developed my confidence and ability to work under pressure. I also found it enjoyable to work closely with a partner, further improving my ability to work in a team. I would highly recommend this competition to anyone interested.”.
Manon felt that the training and the competitions had “…helped me in understanding the initial role of a solicitor when dealing with clients. I will take this understanding with me into my future career as well as the confidence I have gained from taking part.”
The team did not win the regional round, but it scored highly against some very impressive student teams. This is an interesting and very beneficial example of co-curricular training offered by the School of Law.
On Saturday 27th January, the winners of our internal Client Interviewing Competition (Zeina Albuainain and Maya Altunsi) and the two runners-up (Edith Scott and Georgios Kollias) attended the National Training Day organised by the national Client Interviewing Competition at the University of Law, Bloomsbury.
They all conducted a practice interview with a ‘client’, and received valuable feedback from members of staff, and other competitors.
It was a very useful and enjoyable day.
From right to left: University of Leicester team (Robert Quartly and Sefki Bayram), Judge Johannah Cutts QC and University of Reading team (Mark Jenkins and David Tan)
On Wednesday 29th April 2015 the School of Law hosted the second round of the UH/Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition against the University of Leicester. Finalist Mark Jenkins and first year student David Tan acted as prosecutors examining and cross-examining the complainant (marvelously played by first year student Ruth Cottington-Bray) and defendant (exquisitely played by Dr Nicholas Roberts) in the case of R v Webber against the defence team (final year students Sefki Bayram and Robert Quartly). Judge Johannah Cutts QC of Reading Crown Court decided the case and provided detailed feedback to the competitors on their individual performances. As the competition is based on a calculation of scores, rather than a knock-out basis, we will find out in due course whether Mark and David have made it through to the semi-final round.
First year student Daniel Bull this year’s winner of the Research & Writing Skills (RWS) oral competition. Students on the RWS module are presented with a problem scenario revolving around the construction of a new hall of residence on campus and are asked to advise the client (the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell) on Contract or Tort law implications. Daniel, alongside runner-up Elizabeth Smith and finalist Rayana El Baba, made an oral presentation to Sir David of the advice contained in their Part A legal letters and responded to questions posed by the client.
Competition winner Daniel Bull (far left) with runner-up Elizabeth Smith (far right), finalist Rayana El Baba (left) and Sir David Bell (Centre)
Both Sir David Bell and RWS Module Convenor Dr Amy Codling were extremely impressed with the professional attitude of both the competition finalists at this early stage in their legal career. Due to the success of this (and the previous) year’s competition it is hoped that future students will continue participate in this exciting opportunity.