LW7076 - Student Law Office [BPTC Option]

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What will I learn on this module?

Student Law Office is a double option delivered during the second and third terms of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and across the portfolio of Bar Professional Training programmes at Northumbria University. It is designed to reflect the nature of practice within a law office. The Student Law Office (SLO) elective comprises work on real cases under the supervision of practitioner members of staff.

The SLO is an in-house law clinic within the University. Through real and simulated experiences with clients, you will develop range of key lawyering skills, as well as effective workplace skills and enhance your own interpersonal skills.

Your work may cover a range of substantive law areas which may include crime, civil litigation, family, welfare benefits, employment and housing. In addition, you will learn about the practical and procedural factors that can influence the outcome of a case. You will work with your supervisors to develop the ability to reflect on your learning. This reflection is at the heart of the clinical experience, enabling you not only to learn from your learning but also to fit your individual experiences into a wider context of personal and professional ethics, and the social and economic contexts of law.

How will I learn on this module?

This module is founded upon clinical and experiential learning. Students will work in groups of 6-8 with a designated supervisor, who will be a member of staff with a practising certificate and with relevant clinical and legal experience. There will be a weekly "firm meeting" of the students with the supervisor - but in reality there will be regular daily discussions of cases and of tasks. In addition to the firm meeting there are ad hoc joint meetings with students from other firms. The module aims to bring together practical and academic understandings of law to enable you to develop higher level practice skills, underpinned by the ability to critically evaluate both their own performance and the role of the lawyer.

Students not only develop the workplace skills to work effectively as legal practitioners, but are also able to bring to bear their legal knowledge to solve problems in a systematic and creative manner.

Through this module students develop the qualities needed for work at the Bar and general employment by showing the development of sound judgement, personal responsibility and initiative, and an understanding of the nature of professionalism and of personal service.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.

This module will be managed by your designated SLO supervisor and tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions will be accessible on-line through the module eLP site, maintained by your Module Tutor, and will give guidance on legal skills, assessment and provide self-study materials. You may communicate with your Module Tutor by email or telephone and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module.

Academic support is also available through feedback on SLO tasks and in the firm meetings. At a programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.

The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module; they will contact you throughout the duration of your module with details about the centralised assessment, and other issues.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

You will:

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Develop knowledge and understanding of how substantive law operates in the context of practice and recognise ambiguity and deal with uncertainty of the law in the practical context.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• demonstrate the ability to give sound, practical written advice on matters raised in legal instructions and advise on any practical steps to be taken, including further inquiries or investigations necessary.

• conduct self–directed research including accurate identification of issues which require researching, retrieval and evaluation of accurate, current and relevant information from a range of appropriate sources including primary sources.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• display a professional and responsible approach to the course, staff and other students, and to observe the Code of Practice in order to prevent exploitation of clients and preserve the integrity of the profession, maintaining the public’s trust and ensuring continuance of the provision of service

• act in a fashion which demonstrates awareness of diversity, and is non-discriminatory

How will I be assessed?

All student work is closely supervised by the supervising practitioner including every draft of letters, courts documents, interview plans etc. Students submit a personal file of their work and a written reflective essay to form a portfolio which forms the evidence base for the mark awarded.

The clinical experience is based on students receiving continuous feedback on their performance. Formative assessment will in reality take place on a daily basis for most students. That process is formalised both through the weekly firm meetings, and through the keeping of a portfolio with all drafts of work and of feedback.

The level of feedback is therefore exceptionally high, and drives the learning process. In order to ensure a fit with the summative assessment, there is a formal mid-sessional meeting between student and supervisor, with completion of mid-sessional form where both assess the student's work against the relevant grade descriptors, as well as identifying specific issues for reflection.

Feedback is a continuous aspect of the clinical experience.





Module abstract

This clinical module is set within the multi-award winning Student Law Office, an in-house law clinic within the University with state of the art facilities. This internationally respected teaching programme provides a unique opportunity for you to develop your legal skills within an authentic practice environment. This includes work on real cases for the public under supervision enabling you to develop key employability skills.

Student satisfaction rates for this module are very high and you are able to develop personally as well as academically and professionally.

Northumbria University has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the exceptional work of its Student Law office. The prize, the highest form of national recognition open to a UK academic institution, was awarded for work judged to be of outstanding excellence and with positive impact and for having, “a University law clinic making a distinctive contribution to the needs of the local community and to legal education.”

Course info

Credits 24

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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