MMU team crowned national Client Interviewing champions

  • 02/04/2015







A MANCHESTER Law School team has been crowned national champions in the highly respected Client Interviewing competition.

Client Interviewing competition 2015Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students Philippa Byrne and Claire Coleman beat 36 other UK institutions to the title and will now represent England and Wales at the world finals.

The tournament aims to develop students’ interviewing techniques by exposing teams to a range of legal scenarios with mock clients. Students have no prior knowledge of the conundrums that await and must react quickly on the day to impress judges.

The pair of aspiring barristers had to wrangle with small business rules and regulations to navigate the regional heats before tackling the national finals

Core skills

As a result of their effort, the University won £1,500 and the students each picked up £250. They will jet out to Nebraska, USA, later this month for the world finals – which Manchester Law School will host in 2016.

Claire said: “We practise interviewing as part of the core skills we learn here, while the competition gives us the opportunity to produce these skills in a real environment. The training at MLS and the competition help to prepare us for the rigours of legal practice.”

Philippa, who is due to start a pupillage with Nine St John Street Chambers, added: “We worked as a team to find out what the client wants. You have to bring all of this information together then come up with coherent and logical advice, delivering it in a clear and simple fashion.”

Students are assessed according to set criteria that focuses on interpersonal skills and how they handle legal problems. The goal is to help develop students’ soft skills and to help practise at a high level.


Senior Lecturer Phil Rouse, leader of conference skills BPTC, said: “The skill is in taking the complex and expressing it simply. This must be done bearing in mind the ethical rules of the profession.

“I am therefore delighted that following completion of the Conference Skills course on the BPTC, Claire and Philippa have demonstrated their mastery of it by becoming national champions.”

Regional heats were sponsored by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and the final sponsored by the Law Society.

Graham Roberts, co-chair of the National Client Interviewing Competition, said: “Congratulations to Philippa and Claire at showing such high level skills in interviews and coming out best team. Good luck to them in the international competition in the US next month.”

Laura Ralfe, a specialist medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, added: “We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic competition as hosts of the regional heats and to be able to support and nurture the next generation of lawyers in the UK.”

Find out more about The National Client Interviewing competition.