About the Course

Client Science Course Content

The website makes all of the Client Science course materials – syllabus, simulations, vignettes, and other exercises – available to lawyers, legal educators, and law students, and anyone else who is interested. The rather exhaustive Client Science Instructor’s Guide as well as shorter instructor’s notes with each simulation are offered in an effort to spare you my mistakes and share experience with what has worked well on topics as mundane as the logistics of pairing for an exercise and tricks for encouraging students to volunteer for an in-class demonstration. I’ve included powerpoints, organized by topic rather than workshop day or shorter session, so that users can adapt them to any course format. Eventually, the website will include video useful to demonstrate particular skills, or the effectiveness of strategies suggested by the Client Science book and the course. I encourage law students, educators, and lawyers to send me an email at aaronmc@uc.edu or call me at (513) 556-0114 about ideas, successes, failures, and anecdotes related to teaching this material. It is my hope that we can use each other’s suggestions, enhancements, and additional resources in the service of lawyer-client interviewing, counseling and decision-making, particularly where bad news is involved.

Client Science: The Back Story

Teaching and practice led us toward learning, reflection, insight, enhanced practice, and then strong urges to disseminate the results. Nearly all lawyers will, at some point, engage in client interviewing, counseling and decision-making. The increasing realization that these tasks are difficult for students and lawyers led me to teach a course on these topics, initially with various available teaching materials. That course taught me that there is much to be deconstructed and learned. It eventually lead to curricular focus on client counseling at UC Law, and my development of the course and teaching materials available on this website. Over nearly a decade, I engaged in the act of coaching more than 800 students with actor-clients through the course’s “Final Counseling Skills Exercise.” From the course, from my mediation practice, and particularly, from that final exercise emerged much insight and practical, granular advice on counseling clients toward wise decisions and strengthening the lawyer- client relationship when communicating “bad news” emerged from the. If my book, Client Science: Advice for Lawyers on Counseling Clients Through Bad News and Other Legal Realities (Oxford University Press 2012) is the physical evidence of that emergence, then this website is the e-evidence.

From the beginning of the course’s evolution, I’ve taught it approximately twenty times in various formats, generally twice a year at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, but also at the University of Michigan Law School and, most recently in UNLV’s Boyd School of Law’s Summer Institute. Of late, I’ve moved to a four-day workshop, followed by the Final Counseling Skills Exercise, but I have also taught it in weekly sessions during the semester at UC. It adapted quite well to a four-evening, two weekend day format in the summer of 2013. Various segments have worked well in shorter CLE workshop and professional presentations. Needless to say, I’ve learned much about how to succeed (and how not to) using the course materials I wrote for the course. In an elliptical evolutionary turn, I have learned to teach it using the Client Science book (borne of the course).