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Law Center’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Teams enjoy success at ABA Client Counseling Competition

Tomiko Brown-Nagin

UHLC members of the ABA Client Counseling teams are: Allan Jeanjaquet and Meghan Beytebiere (top row L to R) and Autumn Brehon and Libby Spann (bottom row L to R).

March 23, 2022 – The University of Houston Law Center’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Teams celebrated huge wins at the American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition recently. Team members Autumn Brehon and Libby Spann won the title of Regional Champions and have advanced to Nationals taking place this week . Meghan Beytebiere and Allan Jeanjaquet placed third overall in the contest.

“Congratulations to the UH Law’s ABA Client Counseling Teams,” said UHLC’s Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “Thank you to our team’s amazing coaches Mark Kritzer, James Dorough-Lewis, and Megan Daic. I am very proud of their students’ accomplishments.”

The competition, which was held virtually for a second year, focuses on fundamental skills needed for all successful attorneys. Skills such as the ability to interview, counsel, and support a client through their legal issue. Teams conduct an initial interview with someone playing the role of the client and then address both the client’s legal and non-legal needs. Students are called on to explain various aspects of the attorney-client relationship, build rapport, determine client goals, and consider applicable law and options that may be available to the client.

The 2021-2022 topic is civil rights, and each team consists of two JD candidates attending the same ABA-approved law school. UHLC students began preparing in January and practiced two to four times per week. Both the coaches, who are all practicing attorneys, and the students worked between eight to twenty hours per week preparing and competing. The Law Center had two teams taking part last year and they were regional semi-finalists and finalists.

“A tremendously successful outing for our students, our program, and our school!” said James Lawrence, executive director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute and director of the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center. “Having two of the top three teams in a regional competition that is administered by the American Bar Association is a significant accomplishment.” The teams were sponsored by a generous donation from the Seyfarth Shaw Charitable Foundation. This year’s national finals will take place March 25 – 27.

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