Cassidy Jiang and Kris Jun place second at prestigious international moot

Second-year law students represent Canada at Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition

Sarah Kent - 25 April 2023

Cassidy Jiang, ‘24 JD, and Kris Jun, ‘24 JD, of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law have made their mark on the international stage after winning second place at the 2023 Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition.

“Both of us felt incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to represent Canada in this competition,” says Jiang.

The students advanced to the international round after placing first at the Canadian Client Consultation Competition in March. The international competition was hosted by the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands from April 12 - 15. Jiang and Jun competed against 20 teams from around the world, including New Zealand, India, Finland and more.

“It was an honour to compete amongst such capable, competent teams from all over the world,” says Jun. “Our coaches assured us that just being there, competing internationally and soaking in the beautiful city of Maastricht, was a reward in itself. To place second was a cherry on top of everything else.”

“Following Kris and Cassidy‘s outstanding win at the Canadian National Championship, they continued to focus on their preparation of seamless teamwork and fine tuning the many skills they had developed to continue to impress the judges throughout the many rounds of the International Client Consultation Competition,” says Farrel Shadlyn, who coached Jiang and Jun alongside Lynn Parish, Barbara Acton and Danielle Mousseau.

In the lead up to both the national and international moot, Jiang and Jun spent their time in hours of mock client consultations, practicing their fact finding, active listening and advising skills with friends and colleagues serving as practice clients.

“Our coaches made one thing clear going into the international competition: do exactly what you’ve been doing — it works. We took a client-centered approach, which positioned the client as the ultimate authority on which path to take,” says Jun.

Arriving in Maastricht, Jiang and Jun prioritized enjoying the unique experience and connecting with law students from around the world.

Their hard work culminated in a series of consultation sessions testing their abilities. With only 45 minutes allotted to each consultation, the team had a lot of ground to cover, including introductions, questions, identifying the relevant facts and providing recommendations to the mock clients. Adjusting their approach to the clients that walked through the door — whether talkative or reserved — required flexibility and active teamwork.

The final round of the competition posed a surprise twist for Jiang and Jun when not one, but two clients walked into the consultation room.

“They were a couple who could not seem to stop arguing with each other. This really tested our skills, not only as lawyers but as literal counselors,” says Jun. “It was a memorable moment for the stress that it brought on, but it was a great chance for us to showcase our ability to adapt and think quickly.”

Jiang and Jun’s success in the competition came down to their people-centered approach to client consultation and their emphasis on empathy.

“By being approachable, responsive, and compassionate, while also managing their expectations reasonably, we were able to establish a connection and build that trust with our clients,” says Jiang, who hopes to bring the core values of trust and empathy into her future practice.

“When someone comes into a lawyer’s office, chances are that person isn’t having the best day of their life,” says Jun. “It’s important for lawyers, and professionals more generally, to be sensitive to the real, human experiences their clients might be having.” 

The students are thankful for all of the support that made their success possible.

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our coaches. Despite their busy schedules, they dedicated so much of their time into helping us get to where we are today. In addition, we would like to thank our national representative, Nicole Smith, for all of her support during our time in Maastricht," says Jiang.

The students' impressive finish at the international competition also brought great pride to Chris Samuel, the director of the Legal Research and Writing Program.

"I'm tremendously proud of what Kris and Cassidy accomplished in the Netherlands at the International Client Consultation Competition," he says. "Simply qualifying for the international rounds was a major victory, so a second-place finish in the International Rounds is truly remarkable. Their high level of success has a major positive impact on the reputation of our mooting program, which in turn encourages future students to participate and thrive in the program. I'm also grateful to the entire coaching team, including Farrel Shadlyn, Danielle Mousseau, Barbara Acton, and Lynn Parish, for all of their hardwork."