Cooley team heading to International Competition

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School has the top client counseling team in the country. Cooley's team of Erin Moss and LaToya Palmer, students at the school's Auburn Hills campus, recently bested teams from 95 law schools from the U.S. and Canada taking first place in the American Bar Association's (ABA) Law Student Division Client Counseling Competition.

The competition simulates a law office consultation in which law students, acting as attorneys, are presented with a "client" seeking legal expertise. The students are given very little information about the consultation before the client's arrival. The students conduct an interview with the "client" and then brainstorm with the client to explore possible legal and non-legal options to help the "client" achieve his or her goals.

Each year, the competition focuses on a specific area of practice for client counseling. This year's was professional responsibility of lawyers and judges, so the students were presented with issues such as attorney malpractice, conflict of interest, substance abuse issues, sexual harassment, client confidences and client grievances. Judges of the competition evaluated the students' ability to establish an appropriate working atmosphere, listen and understand the client's perspective, analyze the problem and present various courses of action consistent with the client's goals and objectives.

"Cooley's emphasis on professional responsibility issues in our substantive law classes prepared the students and allowed them to excel in the competition," said Christine Church, Cooley professor and assistant dean of Programs, Planning and Assessment. "Most law schools have only one course in professional responsibility. Cooley infuses professional responsibility into each of its courses through discussing some of the ethical issues that lawyers who practice in that field might face."

Moss and Palmer will be representing Cooley Law School and the United States in the International Client Counseling Competition held in the Netherlands April 6 - 9.

"We are very proud of the team and its accomplishments and are looking forward to the International competition," said Charles Toy, associate dean of Career and Professional Development at Cooley. Toy placed second in the same competition as a student in 1981.

Published: Mon, Apr 4, 2011