Law : Legal Aid, Hostile Take-Over Bids and Gerard Butler

Diary of a Diploma in Legal Practice Student – 3 weeks to go

Spring has certainly sprung here in Glasgow. Week 8 of the second semester here at the Diploma in Legal Practice at The University of Glasgow has seen our wonderful city blossom with crocuses and snowdrops emerge peppering the landscape with colour and life. The Law Graduates on the Diploma course are gearing up for the end of teaching, the exam period and the beginning of a new life in Professional Practice.

It’s been a week where questions such as ‘what makes a great lawyer’ ‘When can we start our traineeships’ and ‘will Gerard Butler come to our Grad Ball’ have been bounced about. (The later brought a smile to my face, I must say.)

The week kicked off on 28th February 2011 with an assessment in Advanced Civil Litigation. This part of the course was assessed and each student was required to cross-examine a witness ( who was an actor) in a civil litigation proof.

Students paced the corridors prior to our ‘proof’ rehearsing our questions.

On Tuesday we focussed in Advanced Criminal litigation on the Appeals procedure in criminal cases and we were required to draft an application for a stated case and then present our Appeal in class.
On Thurs we moved to look at business organisation and Capital Gains Tax and Corporation tax in business structures. Gosh , I must admit this part of the course does not inspire me at all.
The major focus of the BEFPA , Business Ethics and Financial Practise course has been great so far but here is where that statement ends in my opinion.

As Law graduates ,Tax forms a compulsory core subject within the LL.B and everyone who is on the Diploma course has studied tax together with Business Law and Company Law as part of our undergraduate degrees.
The Tax element of the Diploma course puzzles me. Whilst the lecturer is great the subject matter leaves me with a big question , ‘why do we need to re-thrash Tax?’ As solicitors we will no doubt look to our Accountants to assist us in relation to Tax matters and as we have been reminded on several occasionsunless we become Tax Lawyers we will not be advising our clients on matters relating to Tax.

This part of the course fails to utilise time which could , in my opinion, be better spent focussing on more practical matters – i.e. actually completing Legal Aid forms ( we will probably be required to do this but it has not been covered on the course ).Again I must say that my tutorial group led by @Brianinkster is always great fun and we all join in but as I worked for HM Revenue and Customs for 12 years and completed Tax in my undergraduate degree I must admit that this part of the BEFPA course is turning out to be a disappointment.

Corporate, on the other hand never fails to delight me. A fantastic lecture by Allan Stewart Alan Stewart a Corporate partner at HBJ Gateley Wareing and discussions of ‘Hostile Take over bids’ ‘mergers and acquisitions’ and in class our tutorials led my corporate lawyer Kirsty Johnstone saw our group discuss ‘corporate warranties, indemnities, Due diligence and Gerard Butler’

A former Glasgow University Law Graduate Mr Butler , now actor was brought up in class with a discussion about him attending at our Graduation Ball.
Whilst I think that the likelihood of this happening is slim , I must admit that the discussion made me smile as I glanced around my group thinking ‘I wonder if any of these brilliant new lawyers will one day become famous judges, advocates and maybe even the Lord Advocate. Perhaps some of them may, as Gerard Butler did leave the world of Law and launch a career in Hollywood’

I am inspired by my peers and consider myself lucky to have had the privilege of sharing my journey through the Diploma in Legal Practice with them.

Thanks for sharing my journey.

Michelle .L. Hynes LL.B (Hons)

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