Julienne Jen: Research into SCs – The Hong Kong University experience

by Paul Maharg on 16/08/2017

Julienne was presenting on behalf of her and her colleagues, Wilson Chow and Michael Ng.  The context of the use of SCs was the Postgrad Certificate in Laws (PCLL) at HKU Faculty of Law, which is skills-based, with students training to be trainee solicitors or pupil barristers in Hong Kong, and which is monitored closely by the Law Society of HK.  Before SCs, tutors role-played the client and gave feedback.  The problems included unrealistic scenarios, inconsistent role-playing by actors, and lack of constructive feedback.  Starting in 2012, staff received training, and the the SCs were trained on an initial interview scenario in Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning.  The next year, it was used in Civil Litigation.  There is no high-stakes assessment; students are given feedback; but they must complete the activity of the interview.  In 2017-18 the activity will account for 5% of the marks in the module.

Julienne described how HKU staff prepared students and staff – see slide 6 of her presentation on the SCI site.  About 20 SCs were trained, and the pool is now larger.  There’s a busy programme of their use in a PCLL programme that has around 350 students.

Julienne noted the research that had been carried out in HKU.  There was pedagogical research, comparing student performance over time, across different subjects, and interdisciplinary research.  She found, eg, that the mean gender scores exhibited significant results: women scored higher than men.  Students also scored better interviewing in Cantonese than in English; but could score higher marks in English with more practice (this is a very general summary of the rich research that the team has carried out – thoroughly recommend it).

julienne then introduced a live SC by skype, and ‘interviewed’ the client about her experience.  Interesting to hear a real SC from HK…  At the London event Julie Mould-Cook described her experiences as both SP and SC in Nottingham Law School and elsewhere, and listening to Gloria, the HKU SC, I realised again just how powerful is the idea of an interdisciplinary cohort of SCs…


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