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Professional Legal Practice (Diploma)

Course Description

Why this course?

The diploma qualification is essential for entry to both the solicitors’ and advocates’ branches of the profession. It meets the requirements of the Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Education and Training Stage 1.

The diploma is a vocational course. You’ll learn the ethical rules, practical knowledge and personal skills required of lawyers in Scotland.

We train you to be a practising lawyer. You’ll gain a thorough knowledge of legal principles and an appreciation of the practical context in which they’re applied.

We place great importance on preparing you for what really happens in legal practice by giving you hands-on experience in an office environment. We also use realistic simulations to recreate situations you’ll experience in your work.

As a graduate you’ll be well equipped for the job market in the legal profession or in other fields.

The diploma is offered over one year full-time or two years part-time.

See the website https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/professionallegalpractice/

You’ll study

The course starts with a week-long Foundation Skills course for both full-time and part-time students. It consists of lectures, demonstrations and workshops in the following areas:
- Effective Communications
- Case Analysis & Problem-Solving
- Interviewing
- Legal Drafting
- Negotiation
- Advocacy
- Legal Ethics

The skills gained are further developed and assessed within the core and elective modules taken during the remainder of the course.

The core curriculum consists of seven compulsory modules, plus a choice of five elective modules.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has duplicate sets of key law report series, houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas.

You’ll have access to a wide range of electronic information sources which can be accessed from home, including all the major legal databases.

Learning & teaching

You’re assigned to firms of four at the start of the course. Most of the teaching and learning is done in your firms. Teaching and supervision is provided by practising solicitors, who have been trained as course tutors.
In addition to learning legal subjects, you’ll also develop generic skills which you’ll require for your professional life including:
- problem solving
- oral and written presentations
- interviewing
- negotiating

Our virtual community & learning environment

The background to much of our practical work is the award- winning ‘virtual’ community of Ardcalloch. Ardcalloch is a town we’ve created. A wide variety of events take place in the town which give rise to legal issues of one kind or another for its citizens. This initiative has a world- wide reputation in legal education.

All these activities are conducted on and supported by the SIMPLE (Simulated Professional Learning Environment) IT process. This allows student firms to interact with clients, fellow firms and other simulated characters throughout a real transaction.

We have standardised clients who are specially trained ‘clients’ who assess and give feedback to you on your performance of legal skills.

Most of our electives involve active participation such as:
- students conducting Employment Tribunal hearings before real Tribunal judges
- conducting a criminal trial in the Sheriff Court
- having client meetings in the negotiation of family disputes

One of the most positive aspects of the course is the opportunity provided to meet both fellow students and tutors. They’ll become fellow practitioners, and your paths will cross regularly during your working life in this relatively small legal jurisdiction.

What do students think of the learning & training they receive?

Here’s a few comments from our graduates:

"I think the firm concept works very well and I cannot speak highly enough of their use as a learning tool."

"The method of teaching is very effective. The firm work allows for us to make any mistakes in a safe environment and prepare us for our traineeships. "

"The teaching approach is very unique. Students have hands on approach to learning. The firm experience was very efficient in promoting good work. The general experience is one of a kind."

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.strath.ac.uk/search/scholarships/index.jsp

Visit the Professional Legal Practice (Diploma) page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Stewart Bell

I really enjoyed the practical aspect of the Diploma course at Strathclyde. All of the subjects took a very hands-on approach and allowed me to develop my skills in areas such as advocacy, negotiation, interviewing and drafting.


Entry Requirements

LLB degree (or equivalent) which meets the requirements and outcomes of the Law Society of Scotland’s foundation programme.

Course Fees

2015/16: Full-time £6,300; Part-time £3,150

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