Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes students win National Client Interviewing competition

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Client Interviewing National Champions

Law students from Oxford Brookes University have won the National Client Interviewing Competition of England and Wales 2018. Helena Goddard and Chris Wells won their regional heat in February, and then beat nine other teams from across the UK in the finals of the competition held on Saturday 10 March.

Speaking about their recent victory, Helena said “I was delighted to win, and my daughter is thrilled too! I really enjoyed working alongside Chris, he has a great sense of humour, and together we were able to remain calm under pressure.”

The Client Interviewing Competition is run for law students by a committee of law academics from law schools across England and Wales. Prizes are donated by the Law Society of England and Wales and it forms part of the International Client Consultation Competition. The competition is an annual event, and it involves working as a team of two to interview and advise a “client” (a role-playing actor).  

During the competition the teams are observed and judged on criteria like interpersonal skills and their ability to handle a legal problem. Client interviewing is an important skill for all trainee lawyers to develop, as it involves establishing a relationship with a client, communicating with them, and providing advice based on the nature of the legal problem they discern.

Helena continued: “We both have a lot of professional and life experience to draw on, and this helped us to establish rapport with the client. I am also incredibly grateful to our fellow students for being so supportive. They enjoyed role-playing the client in our practice sessions and one of our friends even wrote us an extra scenario when we ran out of practice material!"

Helena and Chris are both Graduate Diploma in Law students. As National winners they will now represent England and Wales at the Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands from 11-14 April 2018.

Chris said, “When I met our fellow competitors I realised that the quantity and quality of training and coaching we had received was on a different level. I am so grateful to our lecturer Marc Howe for setting aside so much of his time for us, and applying his years of experience to forming the two of us into successful interviewers. We also received a huge amount of support from the GDL cohort, giving feedback and time to help us train. I would definitely encourage future students to enter the competition - it was a great experience.

More information about Client Interviewing at Oxford Brookes can be found on the School of Law webpages.