The USC LSA held the final round of its inaugural Maurice Blackburn Client Interviewing Competition on Friday, August 21, 2015.

Winners received a sponsored trip to compete in the Australian Law Students’ Association’s (ALSA) National Client Interviewing Competition in Hobart, July 2016.

The final, held at Maurice Blackburn’s Brisbane office, saw two teams separately interview a client (played by a USC student, Erin McLaren) in front of the judges and fellow law students.

Judges of the final round and Principal solicitors of Maurice Blackburn Peter Koutsoukis and Alison Barrett said though both teams were to be commended for their excellent work, Helen Smith and Michael Jefferies were the clear winners.

“They paid better attention to detail and gave advice,” Mr Koutsoukis said. During the judges’ feedback, Mr Koutsoukis said the winning team picked up on every detail of the client’s story and gave an excellent recount of what she had told them, largely due to a prompt-sheet that the team had compiled prior to the interview. “You had prompts that assisted you in your teamwork,” Mr Koutsoukis said.

Runners-up Callum Lee and Dave Knobel had an excellent and confident start but did not get the factual details that were needed to accurately assess the client’s issues.

The competition will be held again in 2016 and runner-up Callum Lee recommended that all law students participate for the practice, feedback and skills gained.

“If you want to secure your first job out of law school, you need to be able to interview and be interviewed,” Mr Lee said. “It’s lots of fun and you don’t need to win it to gain something.”

Helen Smith values the experience and feedback she received from competing as well. “I felt it was a good stepping stone in building up the skill sets needed to be a good lawyer,” Miss Smith said. “I’m really proud of the LSA for the job they did for the first ever USC client interviewing competition.”

The USC LSA would like to thank the co-directors of competitions Krishna Alister and Lili Moran; Jay Sanderson, Anne Rees and Neil Rees for judging in the preliminary rounds; Alex McKean for conducting a client interviewing workshop; and Brendon Murphy for creating the client scenarios used in the competition.

Keep an eye out for the judges’ tips in the upcoming USC LSA’s newsletter. 

Amy McCann | Director of Publications 2015