About the Main Issue: International Brown-Mosten Client Counseling Competitions

Olga Ishchenko, Nazarij Zhdanyuk, graduates of the Legal Clinic of the National Law University named after. Yaroslav the Wise, contestants.

International Lewis M. Brown and Forest S. Mosten Counseling Competitions are annual competitions for winners of national rounds of competitions around the world. This is a traditional event that shows the skill and quality of the networks of legal clinics from around the world. This year, the team of the Legal Clinic of the Yaroslav Mudry National Law University, having won the National Olympiad of legal clinics, won the right to represent Ukraine at the international stage of the competition for the first time.

Briefly about the main thing

Competitions took place on April 27-30 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on the topic of family law.

It should be noted that the financial and organizational support for a fairly inexpensive trip was searched by the whole world. The trip took place at the expense of the International Renaissance Foundation, the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine, the SEMAGRO LLC, the Kharkiv Municipal Insurance Company PJSC, the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine, and the Yaroslav Mudry National Law University. We would like to express our special gratitude for the hospitality at the venue of the competition to express the leader of the Ukrainian community in Windsor, Petr Mitsak, the head of the Congress of Ukrainians in Windsor Lesia Nazarevich, the head of the Ukrainian Congress in London (Canada, Ontario) Daria Hrytsky, the head of the Ukrainian Credit Union Mikhail Kryvoruchuk.
Directly competitions were held at the Law Faculty of the University of Windsor. They were in the form of client counseling by two “practicing lawyers” within 45 minutes. During this time, students had to accept the client, learn about all the circumstances of his case, make an operational legal analysis of the situation and provide well-grounded, legally-grounded solutions to the problem of the client, anticipating the positive and negative effects of each of the possible options.

Advice to successors.

For us, the team, namely the participants – Olga Ishchenko and Nazariy Zhdanyuk, coach – Yana Tokar and national representative – Viktor Yanyshena – this was an important professional experience. Therefore, with gratitude to the community of legal clinics in Ukraine, which has delegated us to these competitions, we will allow some practical advice to the following teams of Ukrainian legal clinics to participate in such competitions in the future.

1. First of all, it’s worth watching video from the past. Our team analyzed videos from the Brown-Mosten competition site (in particular, the video team from New Zealand who won 2010 and reiterated their success this year: http://www.brownmosten.com/pages/Material.htm and video Australia’s winning teams in 2007 – http://sydney.edu.au/lec/ICCC2007/video.shtml).

2. Analyze judge assessment criteria. The criteria at the national level were very similar to the criteria at the international stage. The sequence of the interview is clearly outlined here, the emphasis is put on the points that must be announced (criteria for evaluating international competitions – http://www.brownmosten.com/pages/ICCC%20Rules%202016.pdf).

3. It is necessary to prepare a speech. For example, we had almost a standard introductory part, developed transitions between different parts of interviewing and counseling, depending on the situation (for example, we made a list of issues that are needed to clarify the situation and reject extra options). At the same time, you need to adjust to the specifics of customer behavior and you can not constantly use traditional cliche. It should be remembered that the traditional structure of the interview is good, but it must be adapted (directly during counseling) to the individual characteristics of the client. In addition, special attention should be paid to the moral state of the client – he should be comfortable during the meeting, he must call his subconscious trust. During preparation we were preparing ways to calm and support the client (for this we have consulted with the psychologist).

4. It is also necessary to analyze the plot. In international competitions, the fables have been formulated in a very general way, but it is still worth considering all possible options and prescribing an action plan for each of them.

5. Be prepared for the fact that the client needs to literally “extract” the information, since their initial plot can consist of one sentence, for example, “I want to divorce my wife”, – all other information of the team should be learned by asking for clarification questions.

6. Concerning the options for solving – it is necessary to show creativity and ingenuity. The task of lawyers is to solve the problem. If it can be solved without resorting to a court – these options must be offered (for example, there may be reconciliation or a consensus between them; let’s not forget about alternative ways of resolving disputes, such as mediation). At the international stage, the jury did not require to offer as many options as possible, but drew attention to the way.

About the Main Issue: International Brown-Mosten Client Counseling Competitions