University of Sussex Client Interviewing Competition 2021.22

After winning a close internal competition, judged by practitioners from our sponsor DMH Stallard LLP, winners George Grammer-Taylor (Final year Law LLB) and Samantha Smith (Final year Law LLB/Laurier), represented Sussex in the regional heat of the national Client Interviewing competition The Client Interviewing Competition in February 2022.

Prior to the internal competition, students took part in a series of workshops led by Law Lecturers Jeanette Ashton and Paven Basuita, which covered communication styles; active and passive listening; question techniques; advising the client on the relevant area of law and exploring both legal and non-legal options.  Alongside having the chance to practise these vital skills, students had the opportunity to hear from guest practitioners from our sponsor firm, Hannah Joad (Solicitor, Real Estate), Sussex alumna, who took part in the programme during her time at Sussex, and Jack Boyle (Solicitor, Planning), who was taught by Jeanette in her previous role at the University of Brighton.  Students quizzed them on their top tips for successful interviewing alongside hearing about their roles and career paths.

The theme of this year’s competition as set by the Law Society, who sponsor the national event, is Contract in the context of entertainment and/or sport.  Samantha and George competed in the regional heat, interviewing a client with some challenging issues, involving a Valentine’s Day event at ‘Doggy Delights’ dog café. We were all delighted when they won their heat, meaning that they will compete in the national final on March 12th.

Commenting on the programme and experience, Samantha said “I have learned and improved upon invaluable skills while competing and practising for this competition, such as teamwork and communication skills. I am so grateful to have been able to work with and learn from my wonderful partner George, and our mentors Jeanette and Paven. It is an honour to move forward in this competition, and to represent the University of Sussex.”

Agreeing with Samantha, George commented “I would firstly like to thank Jeanette and Paven for facilitating such a ‘real-life’ skills competition. Client interviewing is part of Postgraduate Solicitor Examinations, so it is great preparation for all aspiring solicitors at the University of Sussex. I would also like to thank my partner Samantha, as without you, I do not believe I would have been even half of the client interviewer I am today. As a First-Generation Student, I never dreamed I would pass the first internal round. To go on and win Regionals with Sam, it just proves – with hard work, determination, and a flare of personability, anything is possible.”

We wish George and Samantha every success going forward into the national final.


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