Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition
The Saltman Center and the Boyd School of Law will host the Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition.
The Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition promotes greater knowledge and interest among law students in the preventative law and counseling functions of law practice. It also encourages students to develop interviewing, planning, and analytical skills in the lawyer-client relationship in the law office. Interviewing and advising are a significant part of most lawyers’ work. Too often, it is assumed that lawyers have the listening and questioning skills needed to conduct an effective interview. Regrettably, not all lawyers possess these skills. The Competition provides an opportunity for a valuable educational and cultural interchange between
students, law teachers, and legal practitioners.
Nature of the Competition
The Competition simulates a law office consultation in which two law students, acting as lawyers (attorneys/solicitors/legal practitioners), are presented with a client matter. The students are given a brief written memorandum that identifies the general nature of the subject-matter of the client’s problem (e.g., that a client wants advice about a problem arising from the construction of a house, that the client is facing a shoplifting charge, etc.) before the interviews are held. The students conduct an interview with a person playing the role of the client. Students are expected to elicit the relevant information from the client, explore with the client his or her
preferred outcome, outline the nature of the problem, and present the client with a means (or range of alternatives, if appropriate) for resolving the problem. The interview with the client is then followed by a post-consultation period during which the students, in the absence of the client, analyze the interview and discuss the legal and other work to be undertaken. The interview and post-consultation period last a total of 45 minutes. The students are evaluated by a panel of judges, usually composed of two lawyers and a counselor (e.g., social or welfare worker, psychologist, clergy, or another person with extensive experience in counseling). The inclusion of a non-lawyer counselor on the judging panel is designed to broaden the interdisciplinary perspectives of the panel both in terms of skills and possible solutions to a problem. The students are evaluated against specific criteria that emphasize the use of listening, questioning, planning, and analytical skills in a lawyer/client interview. Once the judges have completed their evaluation of the interview, the students are called back in and the judges provide a brief critique of the team’s handling of the consultation and post-consultation periods.
The Louis M. Brown International Competition was founded in 1985. It was modeled on the American Bar Association’s Client Counseling Competition. The ABA Client Counseling Competition was conceived and developed as a legal teaching technique by the late Professor Louis M. Brown of the University of Southern California Law Center. Originally called
the Mock Law Office Competition, it began on an interscholastic level in 1969 with two schools competing. It has been held each year since then. The American Bar Association’s Law Student Division has administered the competition in the United States since 1973. Each year, over 100 United States and Canadian schools participate in that competition. That competition has now spread to many other countries around the world. The Louis M. Brown International Client Counseling Competition is affiliated with the International Bar Association and collaborates closely with law societies and bar associations throughout the world.