Nathan J. Borland and Katheryn Pearson Thorson, both third year law students at Drake University, were named national champions at the American Bar Association (ABA) Client Counseling Competition at Baylor University this past weekend. As national champions, Borland and Thorson have been invited to represent the United States in the International Client Consultation Competition at the University of Glasgow in Scotland April 3-6, where they will face 22 law school teams from around the world.
A total of 138 teams from law schools across the country originally entered the ABA competition earlier this year, but only twelve teams advanced to the national finals after the regional competitions in February. After advancing through the preliminary and semi-final rounds, the Drake team faced Villanova and Samford Law Schools, and were unanimously declared the winners by a three-judge panel.
The ABA Client Counseling Competition simulates a law office consultation. Students interview a client (an actor provided by the competition host school) and must ask questions to learn the nature of the client's problem and then help the client think through possible solutions.
Borland and Thorson were selected for the Drake team last November and have been preparing for the competition since early January. The students prepared by conducting practice consultations with volunteer clients, local lawyers, and faculty coach Matthew Doré. Many law students, faculty, and staff helped Borland and Thorson prepare for the competition and thus share credit in the team’s success.
This marks the first national title for Drake University, but the third time since 2005 that the Drake team has reached the National Finals.