Notre Dame Sydney Law Society

2017 Client Interview

Sign Up: Client Interview Registration: Opens Friday 14 April (Week 7).

Client Interview Overview, Hints + Tips

What is involved?
You are a representative of a firm who is interviewing a potential client. You only receive a few facts outlining the issue and are required to find the information from the client during an interview. From this you should establish as small report and provide some initial advice to resolve the clients’ issue. You have 40 minutes for the interview and 10 minutes with your partner to analyse all the information you have gathered, summarise the interview, state the relevant legal issues and explain the intended course of action.

You won’t be judged on the quality of advice but rather on how your conducted the interview and what information you gather.

Be dressed appropriately as if you were representing a law firm meeting a client. Introduce yourselves by shaking the clients hand and offering them a seat. All the small common courtesies help set the atmosphere. Work through the scenario with the client and finding further areas to explore. Remember, the more information you get from the client the better the advice you can give them.

This competition will be marked out of 100 points.

  • Working atmosphere: This is the mood in the room, you want the client to feel welcoming and not like a guilty person
  • Description of problem: During legal practice you will get clients who cannot explain a problem to you or don’t even speak English. Due to this you have to ask open ended question get a clear description of the client’s issue.
  • Clients goals and expectations: This should be fairly simple to establish – ask what the client hopes to achieve by seeking your advice, be wary that some of these goals cannot be achieved
  • Problem analysis: Try to decipher what the main issues are which the client wants resolved and develop strands from each issue. Try to get as much information as possible.
  • Moral and ethical issues: These are relevant to what questions you ask the client and how far you push them to tell you more information. For example; if a client is speaking about his brothers business and you believe there could be illegality you have to decide whether it is worth pursuing that line of questioning. It is also relevant to what outcome the client wants.
  • Alternative course of action: This section corresponds to providing a different view to the situation for the client and trying to achieve their goals (Linked with moral and ethical issues)
  • Effective Conclusion: This involves putting together all the facts you have learnt from the client and coming to a sound conclusion. This is relative to getting the correct information out of the client and linking it to their goals.
  • Teamwork: Both members of the team have to ask questions. It is a balance of give and take meaning that both individuals have to contribute the same amount to questioning and drawing conclusions. Work with what you know your advantages are
  • Post Interview reflection: Once the client leaves you can discuss what was true, what the client hid from you and what you think actually happened. Mention what you can improve on in the next round.

General Hints and Tips

  • Make your client feel welcome and they will trust you and in turn provide more information
  • You are trying to sell your firms services (remember this when providing some advice)
  • Don’t assume this is the first or the last firm this client has visited – find out if they have went to other interviews or if this is the first
  • Don’t assume this client will choose your firm
  • Sometimes saying “If you choose to work with us then we can discuss further steps in our next meeting” is a good way to round things off if you are running out of time
  • End the interview by double checking all the key points the person has told and adding any new points they may mention
  • Wait for the client to finish speaking before asking your next question
  • Show that you care! (Even lawyers have emotions right?)

For more information, refer to the Competitions Guide.

Past Winners

The 2016 Winners are Esther Adeyinka and Madeleine Goodsir. For the full list of finalists, please see the Competitions Honours Roll.


We acknowledge the long-term sponsor of our client interview competition, Allens, and thank them for their support.


Photo Gallery

2016 Allens Client Interview Grand Final (Full Photo Album)

2015 Allens Client Interview Grand Final (Full Photo Album)

2014 Allens Client Interview Grand Final (Full Photo Album)

2013 Allens Client Interview Grand Final (Full Photo Album)