March 17, 2009
Cooley Law Team Edges Out 143 Competitors In National Client Counseling Competition
Lisa M. Catapano and Lindsey A. Elya
Thomas M. Cooley Law School students Lisa M. Catapano (Auburn Hills campus) and Lindsey A. Elya (Lansing campus) finished in sixth place out of 149 teams from across the United States in the 2009 American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division’s National Client Counseling Competition, held March 13-14 in Durham, N.C.
The annual competition simulates a law consultation in which law students, acting as attorneys, interview a person playing the role of a client, and then explain how they would proceed in the hypothetical situation. Their counseling skills are scored by a combination of practicing attorneys, mediators and others in a counseling profession.
Catapano and Elya swept the Feb. 14-15 regional competition in Toronto, winning every round. In the national round of the competition, the Cooley duo advanced past the other regional winning teams from Baylor University School of Law, Marquette University Law School, New England School of Law, Seattle University School of Law, St. Louis University School of Law, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, University of Richmond School of Law, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
“This is a competition about listening to the client and then providing counsel that meets the client’s objectives,” said Christine Church, Cooley Professor and Assistant Dean of Programs, Planning and Assessment who coaches the client counseling teams at Cooley. “Lindsey and Lisa worked seamlessly in the client interviews and they excelled at problem-solving. Their performances showcase Cooley’s excellence in providing a practical legal education.”
“As a first-year student, I feel that I have gained so much experience and knowledge to help me with my law school education, I am very appreciative to Dean Church and Professor Mock who have dedicated so much time to help us succeed,” Catapano said. “The chemistry between Lindsey and I is what lead us to success.”
“I feel so much more prepared to be an attorney with my new knowledge and understanding of what a client wants and what I can give them,” Elya said. “We spent hours preparing with all of our team members, coaches, and Cooley faculty and staff, and I can't thank everyone enough for their support.”
“The competitors uniformly commented upon how much this competition has taught them about good client relations, techniques for obtaining good information, and how to focus on solving the client's problems,” Church said.
Catapano, a student at Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus, recently completed her first year at Cooley. Elya, a student at Cooley’s Lansing campus, will graduate in May.
Students from ABA-approved law schools must be members of the ABA Law Student Division in order to compete.
Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the country. Founded in 1972, it operates J.D. programs across Michigan in downtown Lansing, Auburn Hills and downtown Grand Rapids. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 13,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year; in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at www.cooley.edu.