Module SXL-1115:
Legal Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Mr Stephen Clear

Overall aims and purpose

Legal Skills is a core module on all LLB law programmes. It is also one of the recognised Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) modules, meaning it is compulsory that you pass the module for professional exemption from the academic stages of qualifying as a barrister or solicitor. On this module you will practice and develop your research, writing, problem-solving, and presentation and communication skills. You will also have exposure to guest speakers from both academia and those working within legal practice (including solicitors and alumni).

The first semester of Legal Skills is concerned with skills development, including effective note taking; case note writing; article critiquing; research and citations skills, and essay writing. The first semester will also cover employability and careers development. Information literacy skills are a key component of the early part of the module, with specific training in effective use of legal databases.

The module aims for semester one are: 1. To introduce students to practical legal study skills. 2. To afford students an opportunity to develop their legal reasoning skills. 3. To afford students an opportunity to enhance their legal analysis skills. 4. To enhance students commercial awareness and employability.

The second semester of Legal Skills is concerned with mooting (advocacy skills), and revision/exam techniques. Semester two explores mooting research skills and methods, assessments based on legal argument (in terms of content and structure), analysis of problem questions, as well as the critical application of primary and secondary sources of law, and advocacy skills.

The module aims for semester two are: 5. To provide students with an introduction to mooting (through workshops, lectures and small group activities). 6. To enable students to gain a further in-depth understanding of the legal system of England and Wales (so as to complement student’s tuition in the Introduction to Law module). 7. To afford students the opportunity to practically apply the laws learnt in Public Law to scenario, problem question style assessments. 8. To discuss revision and exam preparation techniques.

Course content

The module introduces learners to practical legal study skills such as: effective note-taking, legal essay writing, legal problem solving, presenting an argument, mooting, team work, effective time management, and revision and exam techniques. Students will be guided in the effective application of these skills to: 1) researching the law (using the law library, on-line sources, finding legislation, finding cases etc.); 2) reading the law (reading legislation, reading law reports, reading academic legal literature etc.); and 3) constructing, analysing, evaluating and defending written and oral legal arguments.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Work which, while predominantly correct in its presentation of material, contains a significant level of error and is therefore not entirely reliable.

good

Work which is comprehensive, containing material relevant to the task (no significant irrelevancy), correctly referenced, clear, logical and critical but may need further work to improve construction and presentation.

excellent

Work which is outstanding, containing all the material relevant to the task (no irrelevancy), accurately referenced, clear, logical, critical with little room for improvement.

Learning outcomes

  1. Effectively communicate legal information both orally and by writing.

  2. Undertake independent research.

  3. Analyse and apply information delivered in lectures and seminars to resolve problems.

  4. Present reasoned oral legal argument.

  5. Find, use and identify sources of legal information.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Semester 1 Article Critique 15
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Semester 2 Workshop Evaluations 15
CLASS TEST Semester 1 Library Test 5
COURSEWORK Semester 1 Case Note 15
CLASS TEST Semester 2 Library Test 5
ORAL Semester 2 E-Moot and Skeleton Argument 45

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 142
Workshop

Weekly workshops

18
Lecture

Weekly lectures including review sessions twice a semester.

40

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to interpret legal rules and employ techniques of legal reasoning competently and efficiently in order to offer a range of solutions and conclusions to actual or hypothetical complex legal problems, all supported by relevant academic literature, jurisprudence and legislative research. Such solutions will be clearly communicated and presented
  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise
  • Develop those skills which are necessary for scholarship and research in legal subjects, namely the ability to identify relevant primary and secondary legal sources and to retrieve accurate legal information using paper and electronic sources

Resources

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: