Cambodia’s First Law Student Client Counseling Competition
Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh
February 28 - 29, 2008
Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli and Cambodian Bar President Ky Tech pose with the winning team. Full Size
USAID’s first annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition (CCCC) was successfully completed. Teams from five Cambodian law schools (Royal University of Law and Economics, Cambodian Mekong University, Pannasastra University, Build Bright University and University of Cambodia) competed for the honors of national champion. The competition was held at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh. East West Management Institute and the American Bar Association were the implementing partners while the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia was the local partner. Over 100 law students, professors and members of the legal community attended the competition.
The U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, Joseph Mussomeli, and President of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Ky Tech, presided over the award ceremony. The national champion won a trip to India to represent Cambodia in the International Client Counseling Competition, which will take place in Bangalore, India from April 2 – 6, 2008. Over twenty countries are expected to compete in the international competition, including the United States, England, Australia, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong and others.
The competition places teams of law students in a simulated law office environment where they are challenged to conduct a counseling session with a “client” that is played by an actor. Their performances were scored by local and international judges. The students learned to employ important practical legal skills such as active listening, interrogation, empathy, issue spotting, legal analysis, problem solving and teamwork. The students worked with local lawyers to prepare for the competition. USAID also helped prepare the students by conducting a client counseling workshop earlier in the month.
The CCCC is part of USAID’s Program on Rights and Justice. The program focuses on rule of law and human rights issues. The CCCC is an example of the creative and exciting new methods used to teach law students important practical skills that are not being effectively taught in Cambodian law schools. These skills will make for more effective advocates in the Cambodian justice system.
Phnom Penh Post on March 7 - 20, 2008:
Law students Khun Sonita (centre right) and Sreng Nearirath (right) talk with a pretend client during the Client Counseling Competition at Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh, on February 29. Sonita will represent Cambodia at an international counseling competition in India from April 2-6.Young lawyers smooth talk their way to world champsA Cham factory worker's praying brings an assembly line to a standstill, and gets him fired. It wasn't as dramatic as the butler in the pantry with the candlestick,
but Cambodia's first client counseling competition had its share of theatrics as aspiring lawyers and judges had 45 minutes to display their mastery of Cambodian law and ability to establish rapport with clients. One team from each of Cambodia's five main law schools - Royal University of Law and Economics, University of Cambodia, Pannasastra University, Cambodian Mekong University and Build Bright University - competed for the honor of national champions February 28-29 at the Sunway Hotel
in Phnom Penh.
The fictional clients, played by actors, included a trafficked woman and a factory manager facing a lawsuit by a worker he fired.
From the minutia of honorifics to the logistics of cost to the heart of the matter - what happened and how can we fix it - the young students tried the impress the judges, mostly lawyers based in Phnom Penh, with their social skills and knowledge of the Cambodian Constitution.
The competitors threw in dramatic pauses and sighs, and delivered aseemingly scripted lines. "Feel good about yourself. It's not going to be a problem, have
a drink," one of the lawyers told the factory manager character.
After the competition, the judges cautioned teams not to be overly sanguine with their clients.
Cambodian Bar Association president Ky Tech and US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli presented trophies to contest winners winners Sreng Nearirath and Khun Sonita, of the Royal University of Law and Economics. The two will travel to Bangalore, India,
April 2-6 to represent Cambodia at the International Client Counseling Competition, in which over 20 countries are expected to compete, including the US, England
The legal contest was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
and jointly organized by the East-West Management Institute as well as the American and Cambodian bar associations.
"Like any other course of study, the law can be exceedingly boring if all the student does is learn from books and lectures," said Mussomeli, cautioning that
"While the law is a wonderful invention, it can also be very dangerous" since it can be used to oppress the "poor and weak."
SATURDAYAND SUNDAY,MARCH1-2,2008 The CAMBODIA DAILY
Ambassador:Gov’t Will Be Careful with Oil wealth
By PRAKCHANTHUL, THE CAMBODDAI DAILY:
US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said Friday that Cambodia officials are we aware of the pitfalls of managing any revenues the government may earn from oil and said he understood Prime Minister Hun Sen’s frustration over the issue.
Mussomelimade the remarks at the Sunway Hotel after helping crown the national champions of a law student competition with Bar Association President Ky Tech.
The ambassador’s remarks echoed statements by Hun Sen, who told an economic outlook conference Thursday that early trepidation over the possible corrupt misuse of future oil revenues was premature and “stupid”.
“The Prime Minister and the Cambodian government know that oil needs to be carefully managed and [there] needs to be a transparent process,” Mussomeli told reporters.
“I should not speak for the prime minister by I just think that you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over,” he added.
Officials at the Council of Ministers announced in October they were nearing completion of a draft law to regulate the oil and gas industry. US oil giant Chevron has completed test drilling off the coast of Cambodia and is expected to soon announce their results.
Mussomeli made his comments at the conclusion Friday at a two-day legal contest funded by the US Agency for International Development.
With Ky Tech, Mussomelu presented trophies to the contest’s winners Sreng Nearirath and Khun Sonita of the Royal University of Law and Economics, who were one of five teams each given 45 minutes to counsel a fictitious client and were judged on their legal advice.
The pair are to travel to India next month to compete with 19 other countries in the International Client Counseling Competition.
Team from Pannasastra University and the University of Cambodia were awarded second and third places respectively.
“Winning or losing is a simple matter” Ky Tech said at the ceremony. “Knowledge is the benefit to you brothers and sisters in gaining insight into the law in Cambodia.”
First day of the Competition:
First place is UC: 111 points
Second place is RULE: 110 points
Third place is PUC: 107 points
For the first place can be a first team choose the round.
Seconday of the competition:
First place is RULE: 137 points
Second place is PUC: 121 points
Third place is UC: 111 points