Saturday, March 18, 2017

Week 5: The Client Interview

Getting Students to Think Like Baby Lawyers

In lab this week, students conducted an interview of our client.  As I noted in my last posting, my good friend, Jessica, played the role of Fatma Alhamad, the co-owner of three gourmet chocolate shops in Qatar. She and her husband, Mohammed, want a competitor to quit using the same trade name, "The Chocolate Drops," and a similar trademark in his own chocolate shop business.  That's the basic outline of the simulation.

To supplement these facts, I have provided students with memos either from me or the "senior associate" about the client, the alleged infringer, and the chocolate industry. With this background information, I required them to draft ten questions for the client.  

The exercise helps students develop listening, note-taking, summarizing, strategic planning, and questioning skills. 

The students in the male section met first with the client.  I was excited to see that most of the students asked questions.  Most of the questions were quite good. They still need to work on listening skills.  I could tell because they often asked the same question twice.  In other words, they were not listening to each other or to the client's answer. 

The students in the female section went next. But, because they are a more introverted group, we discussed possible questions using the outline shown below.  With that help, they also did a great job of interviewing the client.

Jessica is a talented role-player and comes up with ideas I would not consider.  She is good about integrating technology in the simulation by giving facts tied to Facebook reviews, Snapchat and Instagram photos, and misdirection to the competitor's store caused by the use of Google Maps.  

I've told students that they are beginning to see how the rules of the applicable law shape the facts you hope to get -- no pray for -- from the client.  When you get a good fact, you want to kiss it. 

This week, they will continue to summarize the interview using their notes and the client-related memos they already have.

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