Our legal competitions enhance the skills expected of barristers and solicitors - eloquence, clarity and an ability to think under pressure, subject to time constraints.
Client Interviewing Competition
The Client Interviewing Competition offers students the opportunity to practise and improve their client interviewing skills. Such skills are crucial if you intend to pursue a career as a solicitor, and participation in the competition increases the appeal of your CV.
Obtaining information from a client is the first step of any lawyer-client relationship. Lawyers must gain a clear picture of the client's problem in order to develop a suitable course of action and give legal advice.
In most cases the client has little or no understanding of the legal implications of their situation. It is the job of the lawyer, upon establishing trust with the client, to define the framework of the client's legal position and advise them on how to address their problem. Obtaining the client's full cooperation is not an easy task, and requires strategy, team-working, caution and a capacity to think on one's feet in providing advice.
The competition involves students (in teams of two) interviewing another student acting as a client, replicating the scenario of an initial interview. Members of academic staff judge them on the criteria listed on the Competition's official website. The winners of the internal competition represent the University of Leicester at the Regional, National and International Client Interviewing Competition.
Mooting is a very popular activity within the Law School, and all students have the opportunity to take part. Teams are provided with a legal problem containing awkward points of law and have to argue those points before a judge. One team member acts as leading counsel and the other as their junior. It's the nearest thing to the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court that students will experience!
We hold three internal annual mooting competitions: a junior competition for first-year students (sponsored by the College of Law in Birmingham); a senior competition for second- and final-year students (sponsored in 2012-2013 by SNR Denton); and a points-based mooting competition for students who have been knocked out of the other competitions but wish to continue mooting to improve their skills. We also hold demonstrations, workshops and training sessions to help students to hone their skills.
Although initially mooting may seem daunting, most students enjoy the experience. If you are intending to practice as a barrister or solicitor, you will find that many (if not most) chambers or firms expect law students to have had at least some experience of mooting.
It helps you to develop and improve essential skills that you will need if you are to be a successful practitioner: identifying relevant points of law, conducting independent legal research, drafting skeleton arguments, preparing bundles and speaking confidently, clearly, fluently and succinctly. Even if you are not intending to practise as a lawyer, you will still find that these skills will be useful in various aspects of any future employment.
As a university, we also take part in a large number of national mooting competitions, (ESU/Essex Court Competition, the OUP and ICCA Competition, the FTB Kingsland Cup Mooting Competition, and the Inner Temple and UKLSA competitions). Students also participate in 'friendly' moots with students from Lincoln's Inn and Nottingham and De Montfort universities.
Leicester has won the ESU/Essex Mooting Competition (formerly the Observer Mooting Competition) five times, more than any other university, and our teams regularly reach the latter rounds of the major mooting competitions. In 2011/2012, final-year students Tim Dobbing and Peter McHugh reached the semi-finals of the ESU/Essex Court Mooting Competition, and Elizabeth Ho and Calin Stupariu reached the fourth round of the OUP/BPP Mooting Competition.
For the first time, and thanks to the sponsorship of Irwin Mitchell LLP, we held our own Medical Law Intervarsity Competition on 1 December 2012. Teams from 21 UK universities took part in the inaugural one-day competition, which was won by the team from the University of Cambridge, who beat the team from the University of Leicester (Kathryn Stewart and Harriet Jones) in the final.
The Negotiation Competition
The Negotiation Competition provides an opportunity for law students to practise and improve their negotiation skills. Negotiation skills have recently become part of legal skills programmes for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC).
Most disputes in which lawyers are involved do not end up in the courts. Instead they are settled by way of some form of compromise between the parties - a negotiated agreement. Lawyers are also often asked to advise on the way deals or transactions are set up. For example, what are the most favourable terms, what would be the best price, what penalties can be included for breach of contract? Getting the best deal for the client can often involve some skilful negotiation.
The competition involves students (in teams of two) going head-to-head to measure their negotiation skills. There is an internal competition where teams are selected to go forward to the Regional, National and International Competitions.