Corrs Chambers Westgarth Client Interview Guidebook 2015

Corrs Chambers Westgarth Client Interview Guidebook 2015


Table of Contents


What is Client Interview?

Structure of the Competition

Instructions to Teams

Guide to How to Conduct an Interview

Hot Tips

Preparation Checklist



Welcome to the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Client Interview competition.Interviewing clients is an essential skill that lawyers (and other professionals) need to master to succeed in professional life. The first interview with a client is particularly crucial for developing a good relationship, and often requires teamwork, good communication and the ability to quickly think on your feet. Despite the importance of these skills at your future work place, the occasion for honing them is rarely provided by formal education systems. This competition gives you the valuable opportunity to develop these necessary skills in a simulated professional setting. Client Interview is the only competition available to LSS students that teaches skills that are relevant to advocates and non-advocates alike.

The Client Interview competition is particularly ideal for those who have great demands on their time as minimal preparation is needed. The competition does not require you to have any specific legal knowledge.Unlike many other competitions first time participants are not at a disadvantage and may perform as well as others who are further along in their degrees and those who have participated previously.

Join this great competition to have some fun and give yourself an opportunity to develop practical skills that are required by all members of the legal profession! We would like to thank our sponsors, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, for making this event possible.

2015 Client Interview Officers hope that all participants in the competition have fun and thoroughly enjoy themselves because we believe competitions are the best aspect of law school!

Emily FloodNicola Stevenson

Client Interview OfficerClient Interview Officer

0423 008 037

What is Client Interview?

The Client Interview competition involves a mock environment where competitors, playing the role of two lawyers, are visited by a potential client for a preliminary meeting.The focus is on understanding and communicating with your client.

Students from all year levels are able to participate in teams of two. Teams will be provided with only a very brief memorandum outlining the context of the meeting and will have a discussion with a client regarding an unknown legal problem. Your team will have fifteen minutes to work together to ascertain all the material facts from the client regarding their legal dilemma.

Successful teams will need to show that they separate the legal issues out from the rest of the facts and find out whether any relevant documentation isin existence. Such documentation can include reports, contracts, photographs and other bits of evidence. They will also need to provide a structured solution for theclient which may involve further research or location of documents before anything can be achieved. It is important not to forget to inform your client of your firm’s fee structure before they leave!

On completion of the interview, you will confer with your colleague and make a presentation to the judge, playing the role of a senior partner in your firm, about the merits of the case. Remember, you will not be judged on how much advice you give, but on the quality of your correspondence and teamwork. This is an exercise in teamwork and successful interpersonal relations!

Structure of the Competition

  1. Each team shall consist of two law students.
  2. Students do not need to be in the same year level
  3. No student can be in more than one team in the competition
  1. Two teams randomly allocated will compete against each other in a knock out style format.
  2. Where possible the teams competing against each other will have the same judge and client for the round.
  1. In the case of an uneven number of teams, one team will be randomly selected to have a bye and progress to the next round without competing.
  2. In the event of your team has to forfeit please let the client interview officers know at .
  3. Forfeiting from any particular round amounts to withdrawing from the competition.
  1. Teams go head to head the winning team is one with the highest score compared to the other team.
  2. The completion is marked out of 50.
  3. The marking sheet can be found both in this guidebook and online at the MULSS website.
  1. The results of rounds will be announced by email the day following the completion of a round.
  1. The decision of the Competitions Officer in relation the rules or execution of the competition will be final.

Instructions to Teams

  1. The instructions will be released to competitors at 1pm the day before thecompetition.
  2. These will be sent to teams via email at the addressed supplied on the electronic signup forms.
  3. No additional information relating to the clients predicament will be supplied.
  4. Teams may not invent additional information.
  1. Competitors should be dressed in business attire and are to report to theLSS office fifteen minutes before their round is due to start
  1. Each round has a forty-five minute time limit.
  2. Time limits are strictly enforced and teams will be cut off if the time expires.
  1. The interview is to last no more than thirty minutes and the postconsultation briefing no more than fifteen minutes.
  2. If the team exceeds the fifteen minutes allocated for the interview the judge will cut them off accordingly.
  1. Judges may choose to provide feedback at the conclusion of the round butare not obliged to do so.
  1. Competitors should arrange with the judges how the time limits are to beenforced. Judges are entitled to impose penalties if a time limit is breached.

Guide to How to Conduct an Interview

There are many different ways that a client interview can be conducted. Below is a brief outline of how a team may approach the interview. However, remember that this is just a suggestion, and there will be no loss of marks for deviating from the formula. Ultimately it will come down to how you conduct yourself, how you interact with the client and your partner, and how you adapt and respond to the situation at hand.

  1. Meeting and greeting
  2. Welcome the client at the door and settle them into the room.
  3. Do not forget to introduce yourselves!
  1. Formalities
  2. Take care of the administrative matters that need to be gottenout of the way (i.e. informing your client of the procedures;reassure them that the info will be kept confidential; etc.)
  1. Overview
  2. Get an overview of their problem.
  3. Check with the client that this is correct.
  1. Isolate the objective of the client
  2. What is the client’s objective?
  3. What are they trying to achievethrough engaging your legal services?
  4. Is it a problem that you can assist them with?
  5. Does their claim have a proper basis? Or is it a vexatious claim?
  1. Advice
  2. This is NOT mandatory you may advise the client based on the information you have obtained.
  3. No marks will be deducted if you don’t have knowledge of the legalarea that your client is concerned about and are unable to offer advice.
  1. Conclusion
  2. Summarise the facts, the legal issues etc.
  3. Tell the client you will be in touch to arrange another meeting or take further steps, if necessary.
  4. Advice the client of your fee structure if you have not done so already.
  1. Reflection
  2. After conferring with your partner, you will discuss the meritsof your case with the judge. This part is required.

Hot Tips

  • The competition only allows fifteen minutes to interview the client, use this wisely! While there is no need to spend too much time preparing for the competition it can be beneficial for both organization and team confidence to map out a plan beforehand.
  • This competition is not intended to test your legal knowledgeof the area concerned. You are not required to give advice during the completion, you may if you wish. If a client asks you a question you do not know the answer to it is completely acceptable to say that you will do someresearch and report back to them.
  • When greeting the client, it is good to err on the side of formality.
  • When your client is talking, listen to them and do not interrupt unless it is necessary. Make sure you remain engaged and respectful, remember they are the ones paying for your services!
  • Feel free to take notes during the interview. This can help when referring back to it later. I recommend using concise sub-headings, this will make key pieces of information easier to find later.
  • Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when enteringthe interview. It’s a good idea to devise a plan beforehand and practicetogether. Do not contradict each other as it undermines confidence. This also does not give the impression of a particularly strong team.
  • If your client is being vague, you may need to start asking closed questionsto narrow down the specifics of their situation (i.e. on what date did yousign the contract?)
  • Do not assume any piece of information if you are unclear about what is being said clarify with a follow up question.

Preparation Checklist

Corrs Chambers Westgarth Client Interview Competition 2015 Preparation Checklist!

1. Read thoroughly all the information supplied:

  • Highlight key pieces of information
  • Make notes on anything relevant from the supplied materials.

2. Meet with your partner prior to the competition:

  • Map out a plan of attack
  • Write a list of questions you wish to address with the client
  • Assign specific roles within the team (if necessary).

3. Arrive at the LSS office at least 10 mins before the scheduled start time:

  • Dress code- business attire
  • Ensure all members of your team are ready, prompt and relaxed!

4. Proceed to allocated room:

  • One member of the team will have to open the door to greet the client
  • 15 minutes interview starts as soon as the door is opened.

5. Have fun!!

  • Competitions are the most enjoyable part of law school make sure you join in and enjoy the process!
  • Competition results will be emailed to the teams within 24 hours
  • All decisions my Client Interview Officers Emily and Nicola are final.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth Client Interview Competition 2015

Scoring Sheet

Team Name:

1. Working atmosphere: did the team establish an effective relationship with the


1 2 3 4 5

(poor relationship) (strong relationship)

2. Description of the problem: did the team ascertain the key issues?

1 2 3 4 5

(few issues uncovered) (all issues uncovered)

3. Client’s goals and expectations: did the team ascertain the client’s goals and


1 2 3 4 5

(did not understand goals) (understood all goals)

4. Problem analysis: how well did the team analyse the client’s problems?

1 2 3 4 5

(poor analysis) (strong analysis)

5. Moral and ethical issues: how well did the team deal with moral and ethical issues?

1 2 3 4 5

(not at all recognised) (dealt with effectively)

6. Alternative courses of action: did the team develop alternative solutions?

1 2 3 4 5

(no solutions) (many reasonable solutions)

7. Client’s informed choice: did the team assist the client in making an informed

choice of the alternative courses of action?

1 2 3 4 (no choice made) (informed choice)

8. Effective conclusion: how effectively did the team conclude the interview?

1 2 3 4 5

(ineffectively) (very effectively)

9. Teamwork: how well did the team work together?

1 2 3 4 5

(weak cooperation) (strong cooperation)

10. Post-interview reflection: did the team learn from their experience and effectively

delegate their tasks?

1 2 3 4 5

(weak reflection) (strong reflection)

Additional Comments:

Score: /50