Notre Dame Law School recently hosted the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division’s Client Counseling Competition for region seven on Saturday, February 9. Seth Carmack and Emily Chang earned Notre Dame the hosting right with their regional win last year at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
The competition simulates a law office consultation in which law students, acting as attorneys, are presented with a client matter. Students conduct an interview with a person playing the role of the client and then explain how they would proceed further in the hypothetical situation. The problem prompts for this year’s competition were based on issues within civil rights and civil liberties law.
Judges and clients consisted of practicing attorneys, community professionals, and students. “We try to have three judges on each panel—two lawyers and a counselor,” says Professor Judy Fox, Notre Dame’s coach. Judges evaluate the students’ performance by the following factors: teamwork, analysis of client’s problems and goals, legal or alternative solutions, and post-professional conduct.
Krishna Thomas and Benjamin Runkle composed this year’s NDLS team. “The team is selected in an inter-school competition that is held in November,” explains Fox. “Beginning in January, the winning team practices with old competition problems at least weekly, and more often as the competition week approaches.”
Participating teams came from schools in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. They included DePaul University College of Law, Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, John Marshall Law School, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Marquette University Law School, Northern Illinois University College of Law, Notre Dame Law School, University of Illinois College of Law, and Valparaiso University School of Law.
Marquette University Law School took first place in the competition and will go on to compete at the National Competition at Pace Law School in New York. Valparaiso University School of Law came in second, and Loyola University of Chicago School of Law came in third.