Legal Counseling Competition

The University of Cambodia (UC) College of Law (CoL) conducted a client-based legal counseling competition on Saturday, February 27th, 2016, at the UC Conference Center. The event was organized for law students, and relevant stakeholders, but also attracted other UC community members and various national and international academics who wished to enhance their understanding of legal counseling with regard to its procedures and techniques. Legal counseling is the process of obtaining legal advise from a lawyer or other certified professional in an attempt to resolve various personal and/or professional issues, particularly on legal matters.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mam Thanna, Associate Dean of the College of Law, said, “In accordance with the University President’s recommendation that all colleges and institutions at UC should have programs that facilitate practical training outside of the classroom, the College of Law hosts several programs similar to this one such as the Court Visit, Mock Trial, and Mock Arbitration. The College of Law’s forums and clinics aim to enhance students’ domestic and international legal education by providing them with the opportunity to practice the theoretical techniques being learned in the classroom in exciting and competitive ways.”

During these forums, students are designated to various roles within the framework of the legal system such as a legal assistant, officer, adviser, consultant, lawyer, prosecutor or even a judge. Mr. Mam Thanna explained that, “Students are required to recall all of the legal knowledge they have obtained throughout their education, and put that knowledge into action. Thus students must be able to quickly react to a changing legal situation, and to knowledgably and confidently deliver compelling speech in response. Nobody knows that you are a knowledgeable person because they cannot read your mind, thus you must always speak up and communicate your ideas.” Additionally, he noted that participation in such programs enhances students’ CVs and increases their chances of obtaining a position in the legal field after graduation.

The Client Counseling Competition also aimed to achieve the following:

  1. To enhance UC law students’ capacity and factual legal-analysis skills.
  2. To urge UC law students to become involved in legal research.
  3. To build confidence in speaking to clients, to the public and in court.
  4. To gain knowledge and experience in conducting legal and client counseling.
  5. To apply the theoretical ideas being learned in the classroom through textbooks and discussions in practical scenarios.

Three teams competed and performed their tasks in English. Each team consisted of three students; two role-players performed as lawyers and the other acted as the client. The lawyers had to apply and practice factual analysis, determine legal issues, identify and analyze relevant laws, and communicate effectively with the client, who may not understand complicated legal language. After each team’s performance ended, the judges gave their comments to each team, and consequently gave students valuable comments and advice on how to be a good counselor and/or lawyer.

After the competition and evaluation session, Mr. Mam Thanna declared the winners of the competition, and the judges presented awards to all three teams. In his closing speech, Mr. Mam Thanna, encouraged students to participate in all events, inside and outside UC, in order to gain more legal skills and advance their legal careers. With intensive training and practice in the classroom, and constructive comments from the respective judges, role players especially, and even the audience, learned a lot about legal processes and procedures, and gained relevant skills for doing client legal counseling.

By: Mr. Menh Someta, UC Student, Miss. Ly Muyngim, UC Student, Miss. Lor Mouyngich, UC Student, and Mr. Mam Thanna, Associate Dean of the College of Law

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