Glasgow Diploma Law students : Practising the Practise of Practice

Practising the Practise of Practice
Week 2 of the Diploma in Legal Practice at University of Glasgow

The week beginning the 27th of September 2010 started with a downpour of horrible rain which left us Diploma students fed up, even before the week had begun. It is all new to the students and at Glasgow University its all new to the tutors and lecturers also as this is a brand new course.

What amazed me this week was how much learning we would actually achieve in so little time.
Litigation is shaping up to be a brilliant course as we divided into groups to draft an initial writ. It is a late day on Monday as classes finish at 7pm and as it was the September weekend many faces seemed unhappy as there was no long weekend for us.
On Tuesday I found myself back in the office at and happily discussing my civil litigation tutorial. ( I am the proverbial legal geek and I talk about law constantly to whoever will listen)
Wednesday was another good day with the first class giving us real experience in drafting a ‘Will’ and we paired into teams to act the part of solicitor taking instruction from a client .
I must admit it was fun to play the part of client as I detailed my fictitious estate to my solicitor.My daughter will be delighted that the Bentley and New York Condo are bequeathed to her together with my priceless Art collection and shares in every company I could think of.( mmmm maybe )

Conveyancing also turned out to be very informative with the class advising clients on which offer appeared to be the best one though I must say one of my solicitor colleagues said that Conveyancing would be a ‘copy and paste job’. Well the big news is , not in my class. We worked our way through every term and every clause meticulously identifying what it meant and how and why it was necessary.

The highlight for me was of course Criminal Litigation and the lecture together with the tutorial gave me a great sense of achievement as (having worked in a criminal law firm) I found that I was right on track with my learning so far.In the tutorial we did some role play as duty solicitors with 3 minutes each to identify ourselves to our client, take instructions and advise the client.
It was good to see all the students taking part and not being afraid class to make a mess of it. We are of course there to learn and where better to make our mistakes but in the class room.

It was good second week and I spoke to several students during the week to get feedback on the course. The main theme was that there is so much reading to do. For one class we had 70 pages for the next day. There is certainly no scrimping on the quality of teaching.
I now have a new mooting partner Andrew Attard and look forward to the Dean’s Cup mooting competition this year.
Getting settled in and into a routine of study again is difficult but what is apparent from the first few weeks is the ‘practical’ skills we are learning.
Having studied for 4 years to get my LLB (Hons) and read the theory of law the transition from student to legal practitioner is one which requires a change in mind set.
Dead lines, priorities and practical skills are now at the top of our list together with negotiating skills and client focussed techniques.These skills cannot be found in the text books and what is required to assist us in our journey to professional life is real practise.What is evident in the new course at University of Glasgow is the change of focus from theory to ‘practical’.
The word practice is very relevant to our course as many of us new lawyers will join ‘a practice’ but until then we will ‘practise the practise of practice’. After all ‘Practise makes perfect’

There is no doubt that it will be hard work and I think our time management skills will be challenged but if we gain practical skills then it will all be worth it and will make the Class of 2011 even better lawyers.

Roll on next week.
Michelle Hynes-McIlroy LLB (Hons)


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