LEGAL SKILLS (LLB)

SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code M3M221660
Module Leader Nicholas McKerrell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
Trimester
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Passing first two years of study on LLB.

Summary of Content

The module is a course in practical legal skills to give students intending to pursue careers involving law and others experience of practical professional activities. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of legal skills in a practitioner's and academic environment.

Syllabus

Unit 1: Client Counselling Skills In this assessed unit students learn how to plan and conduct client counselling interviews by: -360b7 Being aware of the personal and ethical issues raised in dealing with clients b7 Practising and/or analysing a range of basic strategies to facilitate clients in interviews. b7 Consider alternative solutions to problems, both legal and extra-legal. b7 Conducting efficiently structured interviews b7 Managing pre- and post-interview administration b7 Knowing how to apply reflective practice to their own counselling strategies. Unit 2: Legal Writing and Document Drafting In this unit students learn how to : -360 1. Generate writing according to the following criteria: -360b7 Subject b7 Audience b7 Purpose b7 Word/time limit -360 2. Structure legal argument 3. Draft legal letters 4. Draft different types of legal memos and file notes 5. Write clear and appropriate legal prose Unit 3: Negotiation skills In this unit students learn how to plan and conduct negotiations by: -360b7 Understanding when to use negotiation skills, b7 Identifying different approaches to negotiation b7 Recognising their personal preferences. b7 Evaluating the effectiveness of their negotiation strategies. b7 Use material for letter exercise Unit 4: Self-Appraisal Report At the end of this module students are required to submit a 1000-word self-assessment report. In this report they have the opportunity to draw upon their learning logs and comment on their progress throughout the module. Unit 5: Advanced Legal Research Skills In this unit students will learn the research skills which will help them amongst other things to complete their own Honours dissertation successfully. These include being able to: -360b7 Understand and analyse the significance of legal research in a professional and academic setting b7 Analyse the difficulties of drafting a subject for relevant legal research. b7 Use a variety of research methods to discover primary and secondary legal materials b7 Organise legal research plans b7 Use additional research methodologies - interviews, surveys, focus groups etc b7 Plan, draft and generate longer academic prose b7 Plan and manage time b7 Communicate effectively with supervisors and others Unit 6: Professional Ethics In this unit students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the material significance of professional ethics in legal and wider business practice

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to understand and apply the main principles and theory of:" Client counselling skills" Legal writing" Document drafting" Negotiation skills" Advanced legal research skills particularly in context of dissertation" Professional ethics. They should also be able to:" Consider issues around employability in the legal environment" Critically analyse their methods of learning" Reflect and critically judge their own performance" Evaluate their achievement on the course.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered over a trimester. Students will attend two workshops for the first 8 weeks then one workshop from then on. This reflects the practical dimension of the course and the continual assessment strategy. These practical workshops will focus on a series of tasks usually carried out in a practioner's environment: client counselling, negotiation, ethical issues and legal writing. Where appropriate lectures will be delivered in the workshop. One of the workshops will be set aside for talks from external speakers from the professional legal environment to enhance the students' employability skills. In conjunction with this Blended Learning will be fully utilised with the main assignment being digitally recorded and uploaded to the GCU learn website. Other materials will also be accessed on GCU Learn

Indicative Reading

Essential Reading Fullerton & MacGregor, Legal Research Skills for Scots Lawyers (W Green, 2 nd Edition, 2007) Maugham & Webb, Lawyering Skills and the Legal Process (Butterworths, 1995) Additional Reading Fiona Boyle et al, A Practical Guide to Lawyering Skills, (Cavendish, 3 rd edition 2005) Brayne & Grimes, The Legal Skills Book (Butterworths, 1998) Jenny Chapman, Interviewing & Counselling, (Cavendish, 2 nd edition 2000) Hector MacQueen, Studying Scots Law, (Tottel, 2006)

Transferrable Skills

Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Solving well defined problems scenarios through mock client interviews and professional legal writing. b7 Managing, analysing and rating a large volume of legal sources in a number of research exercises b7 Preparing a negotiation strategy whilst considering a number of legal sources b7 Application of the law and problem-solving in a mock professional context through interview Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Carry out client interviews independently and record digitally b7 Meeting deadlines for continuous assessment: interview, reports and draft letters b7 Preparing for interview to set time period b7 Preparing and performing a number of legal exercises in workshop b7 Access materials via the GCU Learn site Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Cr eating work in a permanent format which is understandable by the intended audience b7 Create an essay which is analytical, descriptive and inquisitive. b7 Using appropriate legal terminology in all work - given it is a professional setting and dealing with the lay person b7 Completing a mock client counseling interview playing the role of legal practitioner. b7 Listening and questioning effectively. b7 Giving and receiving feedback and responding effectively to others within workshop groups b7 Ensuring that all communications (either face-to-face or in permanent form) are succinct without losing focus on key issues or information. b7 Communicating in plain English, with legal terminology only as needed - particularly being aware of audience b7 Contributing effectively to group work in class and assessment b7 Using recognised methods of citation and reference which will be used in coursework where appropriate b7 Engaging in group work for interviews and negotiation exercise Numeracy, Information, Technology and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by E-mail. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Word processed essays; b7 Prepare digital interview - upload and assess in own time from GCU learn site b7 Use of Internet - general and specific - to research legal and professional materials for workshops and assessment b7 Communication with module team via e-mail. b7 Participation in seminar discussions b7 Groupwork for mock interviews and negotiation exercise.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 10.00
Independent Learning (PT) 71.00
Lectures (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 52.00
Assessment (PT) 8.00
Practicals (PT) 21.00
Assessment (FT) 8.00
Seminars (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 0.00 40.00 35% Video recorded role play
Coursework 2 0.00 20.00 35% Professional Letter draft
Coursework 3 0.00 20.00 35% File note exercise
Coursework 4 n/a 20.00 35% Self-assessment report - essay 1000 words