April 01, 2013

Law Students from Five Bishkek-Based Universities Participate in Client-Counseling Competition

April 2013

From February 1–2, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative hosted a client-counseling competition for Kyrgyzstani law students. Thirteen teams of two—15 women and 11 men representing five Bishkek-based law schools—took part in the competition. The event gave the participants an opportunity to showcase their interviewing techniques and counseling skills, and to network with each other.

Students interviewing clients during a counseling competition demonstrated their interpersonal and analytic skills to judges, professors and peers.

The Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University, the Kyrgyz National University, the International University of Kyrgyzstan and the American University of Central Asia were represented by three teams each, while the Kyrgyz State Law Academy sent one team to the competition. Leading up to the event, supervisors coached participating students in practical skills, case studies, substantive law and technical rules of the competition. Representatives of the legal clinics in Jalalabad and Osh attended the competition as observers to prepare their students to take part in future competitions.

A team from the American University of Central Asia won first place, while a team from the Kyrgyz National University placed second and two teams from the American University of Central Asia placed third.

The first stage of the competition was focused on interviewing skills, testing the student-lawyers’ skills in gathering information from a student posing as a client. The top six teams advanced to the second and final stage in which the students consulted with the client and offered solutions to the legal issue at hand. A panel of three judges, including two practicing lawyers and one psychologist, evaluated the students’ skills, including their ability to listen, to ask questions, to understand and analyze the legal problem and to clearly present their solutions.

The participants said that the competition helped them hone their skills and prepare to become lawyers. They also expressed interest in taking part in future competitions. One of the participants said that the competition gave them a better understanding of the demands on becoming a practicing lawyer. Shsaid that through the competition they were able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. “This competition encouraged us to work harder,” she added.

Organized in cooperation with the legal clinics of six law schools, the event was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

To learn more about our work in Kyrgyzstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.