Brown Mosten Client Consultation Competition – it is about it’s about authenticity, about friendship and beauty of people in the world.
And little bit about how lawyers should behave themselves in this world.
A while ago the 33rd brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition has finished. It was already a second time (2011 and now) when the Competition was hosted by the Maastricht University Law Faculty. Normally the Contest will only be held once in a country or a place, but – remembering the perfect organization by Jae Fernhout back in 2011 everybody was happy to return to beautiful Maastricht in 6 years.
Picturesque town, brilliant organization, meaningful and comfortable program, professional jury, charismatic acting clients, almost family atmosphere among the teams from 22 countries and even many more nations, operetta for the Competition participants as spectators only, calm and relaxing pancake cruise, active and helful buddies – all these are just initial reflections. But the impressions and conclusion are many more than this.
Personally for me this was the fourth time to be at the International round, twice of which were in Maastricht. So, this time it felt like coming back home, to meet old friends, and the place you do not want to leave anymore at all. As I looked around in the hall where people of over 30 nationalities gathered, I caught myself in the thought of how beautiful and diverse the human race is, and how much beauty can be different. Isn’t this one of the deepest goals of such competitions – to unveil this beauty to everyone who wants to see it?
There were no competition rounds in the first day, as organizators considered the fact that participants might be rather tired. Along with that, all participants were invited to 4 short but very specific workshops from local lawyers and legal clinics representatives from outside Netherlands. All workshops were united under the topic “Lawyer-Client Communication across Culture and Language Borders”, which was really of use before the Competition phase actually started. A colorful artistic opening program and an informal dinner made such diverse people from all over the world to feel like friends right away.
Traditionally, Competition was held in English, had three rounds and four actual tours – two quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. By the way, the idea was announced to consider possibility of running two semifinal rounds in order to give the teams even more opportunities to present themselves.
For the first time in the International Round, teams from Belgium, Croatia and Kenya took part. Moreover, the Croatian team even gpt to the semi-final, which was especially delightful. Also, teams from Indonesia, Nigeria, Germany, India, Malaysia, Australia, Georgia, the United States of America, Canada, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Poland and, of course, the Netherlands, have arrived.
On the third day of the Competition, the Annual Meeting with national representatives of the Competition was held to discuss the Competition topics for the next years, the countries in which the Competition will be held, as well as other organizational issues. So in 2019, Brown Mosten International Client Competition will be held in Dublin, Ireland. Quite unusual for the ICCC, the criminal law was elected as a topic branch for 2019. The approximate topic named was “Theft”, and approximate dates are April 3-6, 2019.
Significant for Ukraine is the fact, that our suggestion to host ICCC somehow in the future was accepted by the Competition OC. So it is quite possible that in 2021 or 2022 the International Competition will be held in our country!
The story about the ICCC 2018 would be incomplete without mentioning an interesting and practical training from Forrest S. Mosten, an inspirer and Executive Director of the Competition, on “Unbundled Dispute Resolution”. Mr. Mosten is one of this concept founders. “Unbundled services” are also known as “limited scope representation” or “discrete task representation”. In other words, with such a model of legal aid, the lawyer agrees with the client those steps and actions in the case that the client can perform on their own, thus taking over part of the responsibility for the outcome of the case and saving their own funds. The described approach has become quite popular in recent years in the United States of America and is used mainly in the field of family law. Forrest Mosten spoke about the benefits and challenges of this type of practice, as well as its perspectives. He focused on the fact that the “unbundling” contributes to a more peaceful resolution of disputes, while this should be the main goal in dealing with any legal matter. Last year, Mr. Mosten co-authored with another US lawyer, Elithabeth Potter Scully, published the “Unbundled Legal Services” book. For the first time among the ICCC participants, Mr. Motsen’s model of such client’s representation was introduced in 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, where the Consultation Competition was held. In general, the idea of “Unbundled Legal Services” is very interesting and probably can be implemented also in Ukraine, especially in the practice of legal clinics, where students are quite limited both in terms of representation powers and time, as they are still combining studying and work in the legal clinic.
On the last Competition day there were two rounds – semi-final and final. In the battle against participants from Malaysia and Scotland, a team from the United States of America virtuously won. During the final gala dinner, all participants exchanged gifts and received certificates of participation.
Khrystyna Shevchuk, 3rd year student of the I.Malynovskyi Institute of Law, National University of Ostroh Academy, participant from Ukrainian team:
“Talking about International round of Brown-Moisten Client Consultation Competition, I was impressed by the mood of Competition and how well it was organized. Everything worked like a clock, meeting, lectures, consultations started and finished in exact time. Organizers prepared incredibly interesting activities for us. Atmosphere was friendly. This competition is firstly about cultural experience. At the beginning of competition we had some lectures which helped us to understand how different we are, but we are all united by a dream to become lawyers.
Personally, participation in this competition showed me that you should never stop what you have started. This one is my favourite competition because you get joy and satisfaction more from participating than even from winning. If I had an opportunity to be the part of the competition again, I would definitely do so!”
Kateryna Valko, 4rd year student of the I.Malynovskyi Institute of Law, National University of Ostroh Academy, participant from Ukrainian team:
“Two weeks have passed after the 2018 ICCC, but I still cannot believe that I was so fortuned to participate in this competition. When I think about magical Dutch town Maastricht, I certainty remind a lot of moments, memories, which I would like to share with all Ukrainians. In general, I can say for sure that the ICCC is not a simple contest, it’s something much more. The purpose of this competition is to restore peoples’ friendship, to share experience not only in consultation, but also in moral and ethical aspects, to work, and at the same time, to rest in cultural diversity of people. I’ll never get tired to recount for hundreds of times in detail about daily events of the competition. Honestly, I love to do it again and again. But, unfortunately, here I have to be as laconic as I haven’t been before. Therefore, the main advantages of this competition, and why one should take part:
Firstly, international consultation is a great challenge. Still, you need not only to know all the provisions of law (in fact, if you even make a mistake in some term, etc. – you still have a chance to win). The ability to find a common language with the client is much appreciated there – in the direct and figurative meaning of the word;
Secondly, this competition helps to develop your creativity, and even take something from other teams, countries. In the future, it’s your style and legal face;
Thirdly, this is a great chance to meet new people! For four days one after another you will be surrounded by the same teenagers, so that’s why be sure that you won’t feel embarrassed, you won’t be in any way sad or bored;
Fourth, this is a best way to practice your English;
And fifth, it is a priceless life experience and also a lot of cool pictures.”
Observations and Lessons Learnt:
The main emphasis of these Competitions is the ethical aspect of the lawyer’s work and the peaceful settlement of conflicts that arise between the parties to the legal dispute. This does not mean that the legal analysis and the quality of the primary legal advice are not taken into account, but the criteria of moral and ethical attitudes of lawyers between themselves, with the client and analysis of legal situations for observance of ethical norms are considerably more important;
Each panel of judges had at least one representative practicing psychology or social work. The organizers are convinced that such a composition of the jury favours the most objective evaluation of the teams according to the criteria;
Despite the fact that the organizers provide a certain isolation of teams from each other during rounds, the overall international round is not too formalized and is based largely on overall mutual trust and integrity;
On the first day it is quite appropriate to only conduct registration and introductory events. Due to this participants have the opportunity to relax, get to know each other, better tune in to future rounds;
The Competition Program should be designed in such a way that participants (students and trainers) who are not involved in the rounds at a given time have opportunity to attend other events – cultural or educational (tours, workshops, interactive classes, cultural events, etc.);
Structured and clear volunteers organization. The volunteer structure should include a senior volunteer, a volunteer responsible for logistics, judges’ support, ‘client’s’ support, and a specific volunteer for each team;
Perhaps the most important observation was that absolutely everyone who was engaged into the organization of the Competition absolutely loved what was happening and enjoyed every second of the process. That atmosphere was unbelievable!
Acknowledgements and Gratitude
We would like to thank our University “Ostroh Academy” and everyone who helped our team to take part in the 2018 Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition 2018, as well as those who make this Competition possible from year to year. First of all, we thank dear Forrest S. Mosten and his wife Jody, Seline Mize, Steven Austermiller, Nancy Schultz, Larry Tepley, and Frank Astill, who for many years have invested a lot of their own efforts and time to ensure that the Competition is held at such a high level.
Finally, one of our greatest thanks goes to Jae Fernhout, attentive, punctual, strict (VERY ANGRY!:) and at the same time endlessly kind organizer of already two Competitions in Maastricht and his colleagues; Of course, we can’t forget to say Thank You to a team of friendly and caring volunteers and, in particular, our buddy-guy Ivan Gautama, and also Dwista Rasendriya, who also helped us a lot, and the patient and talented photographer Vava Arifin, who left us unforgettable 578 photos 🙂
Author and publication: Mariia Tsypiashchuk
Also interviewed: Khrystyna Shevchuk, Kateryna Valko
Photos: Khrystyna Shevchuk, Vava Arifin