LW7125 - LLM SLO Bar Project

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What will I learn on this module?

The Student Law Office (SLO) is an in-house law clinic within the Law School at Northumbria University. The LLM SLO Bar Project is a year-long module on the Bar Course LLM which allows you to experience both the real-world of legal practice, working within the award winning SLO, whilst also developing an extended piece of in-depth critical research leading to the award of a Masters in Law.

As a Bar student in the SLO you will work on real cases under the supervision of practitioner members of staff. 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 or housing. In addition, you will learn about and critically evaluate 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.

Throughout your time in the SLO you will learn to reflect independently on, and critically analyse, an aspect of professional practice stemming from your time in the SLO or as a result of legal inquiry related to the broader concept of professional practice. You will be able to identify and utilise an appropriate research methodology to conceptualise, theorise and undertake research into practice-based issues. 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. You will be required to produce an in-depth and extended piece of critical commentary. This will advance your understanding and knowledge of professional practice and/or the issues relevant to practising law. This extended piece of critical work will be submitted at the end of Semester 3.

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. The extended research report will predominately focus on independent learning, centred upon you identifying appropriate reading and research methodology to provide a deeper/broader knowledge of legal professional practice.

You will receive one-on-one support, guidance and feedback from your SLO supervisor. You will attend a series of large group sessions which will introduce you to the process of researching and writing your extended written project. These will set out expectations of students engaged on the module, provide general advice on formulating a viable research question within your field of study, point to key dates and provide recommended timelines, and advice on relevant ethical considerations. Large group sessions will also provide generalised guidance on writing/structuring your written work, and on researching/referencing skills.

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.

In relation to your extended piece of writing, you will receive support, guidance and feedback on your research topic from your SLO supervisor. You will discuss the viability of your research topic, and agree a synopsis and chapter outline before proceeding. Your supervisor will provide formative feedback throughout the process. Your supervisor will read and comment on draft chapters and will point out particular strengths and advise you on how any weaknesses might be remedied. It is your responsibility to arrange and attend supervision meetings.

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 with important dates 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?

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.
• Display and critically apply expert knowledge within areas of their discipline and/or practice.
• 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.
• Contribute to the creation of new knowledge and/or applications to practice within their discipline through a critical understanding of the processes through which knowledge is created.

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.

• Communicate, defend and justify their work in the context of theories or practice to specialist and non- specialist audiences including their peers.


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 way which demonstrates awareness of diversity, and is non-discriminatory

How will I be assessed?

Please give details of all formative and summative assessment process indicating which MLOs will be addressed and how feedback will be provided.

Formative Assessment: All student work is closely supervised by the supervising practitioner in the SLO, including every draft of letters, court documents, interview plans etc. 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.

Summative Assessment: Students submit a personal file of their work at the end of Semester 2 which forms the evidence base for the mark awarded in the SLO clinic. This will constitute 50% of the total mark for this module.

Students also submit an extended piece of written work at the end of Semester 3 which is based on an area of practice that they have encountered in the SLO. This work constitutes 50% of the mark awarded for this module. The completed extended research project must be 8,000 to 10,000 words in length.

This assessment provides an opportunity to display high level research and legal writing skills and to explore an area of substantive inquiry in-depth. It will also allow you to gain awareness of critical scholarship in your area of study.

Assessment criteria are provided in a marking grid to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written feedback from your SLO supervisor following the submission of the personal file of their work and an extended project.

Pre-requisite(s)

Bar Course Modules to achieve Bar Course LLM qualification.

Co-requisite(s)

NA

Module abstract

The Student Law Office (SLO) is an in-house law clinic within the Law School at Northumbria University. The LLM SLO Bar Project is a year-long module on the Bar Course LLM which allows you to experience both the real-world of legal practice, working within the award winning SLO, whilst also developing an extended piece of in-depth critical research leading to the award of a Masters in Law.

As a Bar student in the SLO you will work on real cases under the supervision of practitioner members of staff. 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 and critically evaluate 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.

Throughout your time in the SLO you will learn to reflect independently on, and critically analyse, an aspect of professional practice stemming from your time in the SLO or as a result of legal inquiry related to the broader concept of professional practice. You will be able to identify and utilise an appropriate research methodology to conceptualise, theorise and undertake research into practice based issues. 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. You will be required to produce an in-depth and extended piece of critical commentary. This will advance your understanding and knowledge of professional practice and/or the issues relevant to practising law. This extended piece of critical work will be submitted at the end of Semester 3.

Course info

Credits 60

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 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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