A few days ago, the next National Round of Client Consultation Competition ended. For me personally, it was the sixth consecutive year when I either organized these competitions directly or coordinated their organization (in 2018, Irpin). without the scenery
And yet, because of the format upgrade – in 2019, I had to organize … one and a half and another half of the Competition. Why? Because, as it turned out, this competition aroused interest not only from me, but also from colleagues from Poland, who offered to hold part of the national rounds in magical Krakow (earlier in 2020). So we traditionally held the quarter-finals of the 2020 Competition in Ostroh in December 2019 and the semi-finals and finals in Poland. And students from ELSA-Lviv also wanted to hold regional Ukrainian language consultation competitions – that is why + 0.5 Competition. By the way, the regional competitions is a great example to follow, because students organized it on their own.
And it turned out that the Competition – is also a some kind of “Pandora’s box” with many personal challenges, strength tests and unexpectedness.
Challenges: Can you find enough resources, judges, clients? And can you do only in English? – because there is the international round later. And more… – Can you do without funding and even offer participants to pay an organizational fee? And can you during the session? Or during the holidays? And will you be able to accommodate participants in Ostroh, where 1.25 hotels and the entire housing stock of the only university have already been booked before you did it?
Strength tests for: nerves, friendships, relationships with colleagues, with your own and not your legal clinic students, your own self-esteem, the limits of endurance and motivation to do it again and again.
Unexpectedness: because you do not expect from people such actions or inactions; because read and thought out again rules create a dilemma again; for receiving help where you have not even thought, and from those whom you did not know or did not know very much; because despite the almost certainty that it just won’t work, it works.
In these six years and three times participating in the international round, I already know for sure that this is the minimum guarantee of good consultation competition:
- High-quality plot of cases. Participants are evaluated on 11 criteria, among which legal analysis and legal advice are only two positions. Others one are the psychological, ethical, and moral aspects that future lawyers should consider and demonstrate. If these aspects are not included in the case, there is nothing to demonstrate.
- Talented actors-clients. Performance of the team as a whole depends on the how the guest actor performs his/her role. It also depends on whether this client will be able to open a well-composed story (see para. 1). A good client will always find a moment to talk to the lawyers – even the most frightened and quickest one to tell all she/hethe needs.
- Qualified judges. It is not a big secret, of course) Krakow has shown how to do well in a preliminary friendly round, during which both the judges and the team and the clients realised what to do. You can watch the video 10 times, read the rules and criteria, and you can play it once. Guess what will be the best effect?
All the rest – logistics, cultural program, plates and “beauty” of badges, diplomas, programs, etc. – are secondary. This is definitely not something to concentrate on as long as paragraphs 1-3 have not yet been worked out – because they are the foundation.
After the quarter-finals last December, I wrote on my Facebook page: “To me personally, the #Consultation_competition is always an emotion. Strong, deep. And this time, joyful and accomplished one.” Probably the day when it will also be over will come ) But first – the International Round in Ukraine.
Maria Tsypiashchuk, Coordinator of the National Client Consultation Competition for legal clinics