Hannah Plush: My Experience of the National Client Interview Competition

The Client Interviewing Competition for England and Wales is a great opportunity for law students to develop their client interviewing techniques whilst getting advice from some of the best academics and practitioners in the country.

When I was first approached a year ago by a lecturer asking if I would be interested in competing in this competition on behalf of Derby Law School I was immediately interested. It seemed like a great opportunity to develop my skills in a less serious environment, so that when it came to the ‘real thing’ later on in life I could be more confident in myself. I wasn’t too sure of the exact details of the competition but after looking it up online it seemed like it would be highly beneficial as there was a training day in London before the regionals were to take place, which would give each team the chance to talk to the competition organisers to see what they were looking for.

By the time the regional competition came around I had met my teammate, Dan Brown (second year) only a few times which we immediately realised was not the norm, as most of the other teams had been training together for months and had had internal competitions to get to the point of representing their law school. Despite this, we performed well in the 2 interviews we had on that day and managed to qualify for the nationals which took place a month later.

After spending that month working as much as we could (still trying to keep on top of our degree work as well) on the feedback that we had been given in the regionals, we found ourselves in London for the national finals. The top 10 interviewing teams in the country were all there and once again we went in to do our interviews one by one. This time around we had 3 interviews to complete, and by the time it came to our third interview we let our tiredness effect our performance a little and this was slightly represented in our marks. Never the less we still aimed to do the best 3 interviews that we could and tried to not let the complexity of the client’s interviews show too much on our faces (Dan was much more successful at this than myself).

Unfortunately, we did not place in the top 3 on the day but we still took away a huge amount from the competition as a whole and to be able to say that we were one of the top 10 interviewing teams in the country is still an achievement in itself. The skills and advice that we have taken away from this competition is going to, I am sure, help us greatly in the future both in regard to our own employability, and also when we find ourselves working for our own clients.

We learnt a great deal about ourselves, our teamwork, and our professional skills in this competition and I would advise anyone else thinking of taking on the competition that it is a great opportunity, so long as you are willing to put the hard graft in yourself.

We would like to thank everyone involved in helping us to train and practice in the lead up, without your advice we would have definitely failed at the first hurdle!