Mercer Law School's client counseling team of third-year student Mandisa Styles and second-year student Lauren Rogers won the ABA Regional Client Counseling Competition held Feb. 4 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Styles and Rogers will compete in the ABA National Client Counseling Competition March 17-18 in Norman, Oklahoma.
In addition, the Law School's two other teams placed in the top five. Third-year students Ian McIntyre and Amber Robinson finished in second place, while second-year students Poneh Fetanat and Monique Bianco reached the semifinals, placing fifth overall.
Zandra Hall, '15, coached the teams and praised the students for their hard work leading up to the competition.
“This year's subject was privacy law, which is not a core subject taught in law school, so it required a great deal of research to ensure the team was supplied with sufficient legal knowledge and had ample practice material,” Hall said. “In this type of competition, you compete in three preliminary rounds with only one sentence giving you a hint as to what the client issue might be. You have to think quickly on your feet to determine the facts, establish client goals, conduct legal analysis and provide effective counsel. All three teams certainly rose to the occasion. I am so proud to have coached these outstanding future attorneys that represented our law school so well, and I'm also looking forward to another run at a national title.”
Mercer Law School is committed to preparing students to be practice ready, including providing a weeklong course prior to the fall semester for second-year students dedicated to client counseling.
The client counseling competition addresses fundamental skills necessary for all successful attorneys, namely the ability to interview, counsel and support a client through their legal issue. Competitors conduct an initial interview with a person playing the role of the client and then address both the client's legal and non-legal needs. Students are called on to explain various aspects of the attorney-client relationship, build rapport, determine client goals and consider applicable law and options that may be available to the client.
Mercer Law students won the ABA's regional competition in 2015 and placed in the top 10 at the national competition.