Client Counseling, and Other Contact Sports

This semester, I have had the opportunity to compete in the ABA Client Counseling competition. As the world’s best counselor a curious law student, I knew this competition was definitely something I should get involved in. So with no experience and not a lot of information to go on, I grabbed a classmate and signed us up.

Preparing to compete was definitely a brand new experience. For prep, we received a prompt and the ABA CLient Counseling rulebook. When I saw that we got a prompt, I assumed it would be filled with details about our client, the current cutting edge legal problems they are facing, and some basic research already done by the grade A attorney’s at my prestigious firm. Instead? “Mr./Ms. Satterfield has an appointment to discuss his/her recent arrest for prescription fraud.” Oh.

After some frantic research into prescription fraud statutes and a lot of guesswork, my partner and I were crowned King and Queen of Client Counseling selected to represent BU Law at the Regional Client Counseling Competition. With more impressively minimalistic prompts, we were able to practice our skills communicating with clients, analyzing actual fact patterns in real time, and distilling out the information that was needed to be the best advocates for our client. While it was definitely a challenge, it also turned out to be a lot of fun, and gave me some insight into life as an attorney. Once we got to Regionals, our judging panels were all area attorneys who know the process inside and out. Hearing their advice and perspective was really valuable, and gave me some tangible understanding of my strengths and weaknesses as they apply to the legal practice.

The two BU Client Counseling teams enjoying dinner after the competition

The two BU Client Counseling teams enjoying dinner after the competition

Ultimately, we didn’t end up advancing further in the competition, but I’m still very happy we competed. On top of everything else, it was a great opportunity to hang out with our other BU team and the student coaches, and I had a really good time competing. At first, I was a little nervous that as a 1L I wouldn’t be very good, but once I got past that, it was really a great opportunity to practice my skills. And the dinner after the competition wasn’t too bad, either!

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