Legal Work Placement

Module summary

Module code: LAW1204
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Law and Criminology
Module Coordinator(s): Sally Gill

Specification

Aims

The aim of this course is to give the student a direct practical experience through law in practice. Students will be able to choose either a placement offered through the School of Law; or alternatively they may identify their own placement subject to the Course Co-ordinator’s approval.

The placements currently on offer through the School of Law and Criminology include; a placement in the local legal community; the voluntary sector, or in the University’s own Legal Advice Centre. Through these placements the student will be able to critically appraise and evaluate which areas of the law are needed in assisting a client.

The student will be able to reflect and critically examine which avenues of research are needed to explore the different areas of law in which they may be working. This experience of using these skills in a practical legal environment will be directly transferable to future employment either in the legal profession or graduate employment.

Placements in the voluntary sector and in legally aided law firms are well established in the Law School. Students can arrange their own placements, or can apply for placements organised by the Law School through links built up with local community organisations. All placements are assessed for their suitability by the course leader.

The Legal Advice Centre will give the opportunity to students to assist (with guidance from a practicing lawyer) members of the public on legal issues; including areas of social welfare law and also small business advice. The students will not only be assisting members of the public but will transfer the skills learnt in the classroom to real life issues. Students will undertake some of the tasks common to a trainee lawyer in practice.

It is widely recognised that there is a gap between the theory of law and the realities of law in practice. This course will aim to bridge that gap and challenge students to reflect and look more critically at what they understand about the law.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. Gain essential practical legal experience of the skills required to enter the legal profession
2. Directly transfer skills learnt on the placement to areas of future employability
3. Demonstrate knowledge of a substantial range of legal issues
4. Acquire legal research skills by using a variety of practitioner related resources
5. Make a critical judgement of the merits of particular legal arguments
6. Demonstrate the ability to distinguish between the relevant and irrelevant when dealing with legal evidence and client instructions

Indicative content

The indicative content will vary according to which placement is chosen and the needs of the client in that particular placement. Therefore, such areas could include legal reasoning, human rights law, discrimination law, disability law, immigration law, environmental law, housing, criminal defence, criminal prosecution, landlord and tenant, family law, problem solving skills, note taking, drafting legal documents, interviewing clients, meeting with legal practitioners, attending conferences and /or public meetings, written and oral preparing advice letters and attendance notes, and communication with clients and legal practitioners.

Students will be required to research and draft a practice related simulated piece of work in order to demonstrate the skills they have acquired on placement together with a reflective diary on their experience. The diary will reflect on their experience in the light of the Solicitors Competence Statement. http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/competence-statement.page


Teaching and learning activity

The course will include a commitment from the student to complete a number of working hours on their placement totalling 162 hours over Term One and Term Two (approximately one day a week for 2 terms). A placement can also be attended in a block as long as the requisite hours are completed. Hours and days are to be agreed between the student and the placement supervisor and may include attendance at briefing/supervision meetings and training sessions. In addition students will have regular meetings with their academic supervisor, over Term One and Term Two and times and frequencies to be determined between the student and their supervisor. Work carried out on each placement will vary, according to the placement, but will include working on real life cases and real life legal problems.


Assessment

COURSEWORK - 50%
LO - 1-6.
Pass mark - 40%
4,000 words.
Students will be guided to choose an area of law relating to access to justice to investigate and write about; OR they will undertake a practice-related task on a simulated case study.

LOG BOOK - 50%
LO - 1-6.
Pass mark - 40%
2,000.
Part 1 will be a weekly reflective diary utilising the solicitor’s competence statement. Part 2 is competency statement from the placement provider.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
The students will be supported in seminars to develop their approaches to the assessments.