Module title: Legal Practice in the Twenty First Century

SCQF level: 10:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: LAW10116
Module leader: Richard Whitecross
School The Business School
Subject area group: Accountancy Finance and Law

To study this module you will need the learning equivalent to the module listed or to have passed this module: 'Business Law', 'Company Law', or 'Legal Profession, Dispute Resolution and Ethics'.

2019/0, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: CRAIGLOCKHAR
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Richard Whitecross
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Learning & Teaching methods including their alignment to LOs
The learning and teaching methods to be employed will be:-
1. Seminars to explain the key concepts, legal issues and current developments within the legal profession in Scotland, the UK and globally;
2. Group presentations of selected topics based on students’ research and preparation; and
3. Designated study times for group work on the compilation and presentation of course notes.

Embedding of employability/PDP/Scholarship Skills
The main employability, PDP and scholarship skills are:-
a) Group work – students will work together on seminar presentations;
b) Communication – oral and written communication skills are assessed in coursework and seminar contributions;
c) Students undertaking research and reading for coursework and seminar preparation will be required to use both library and online resources; and
d) Students will understand the wider context of legal practice enabling them to identify the skills they have developed and recorded in their PDPs.

Assessment (formative or summative)
Assessment for this module will comprise:-
1. A group presentation (10 minutes) with a short write up of 1,000 words (formative and summative assessment) to be submitted in week 6; and
2. One piece of written coursework of approximately 2,500 words (formative and summative assessment) to be submitted in week 13.

Research / teaching linkages
This will occur in preparation for coursework, student led seminar presentations and in participation in seminars. Students will require to carry out their own research on legal practice, current debates in Scotland, England and Wales and in Canada and the USA contained within relevant academic books, journal articles and online resources. Feedback from formative assessments will develop research skills further.

The module leader will also make use of his own research in the subject area, where relevant, in learning and teaching activities. He is currently conducting research on the impact of changing governance structures on law firms and the difficulties caused by partnership structures to respond to rapidly changing market conditions.

Supporting equality and diversity
1. The module content includes and examines issues of limited access to the legal profession for certain sections of society, highlighting the on-going inequalities and discrimination based on a range of factors; in particular it highlights the importance for legal practice to actively address current issues;
2. The range of legal practice discussed emphasises the importance of legal advice across all sections of society and highlights the importance of not-for profit legal advice centres;
3. Key module materials and information are available on Moodle so as to cater for different learning approaches and circumstances of individual students and to assist flexible learning; and
4: The modes of delivery of the module will enable students to study and learn in a manner most appropriate to their individual needs.

The module focuses on the impact of globalisation on the legal market. It highlights the importance of commercial awareness that is developed in a comparative way. The challenges for 21st century legal practice reflect major changes to work practices and how business is carried out therefore the international aspect is emphasised throughout the module. It locates legal practice in the wider context of business and the potential impact that global trends and changes in technology and business practice can have on law firms. The module draws on materials from on-going debates in the academy and profession in the USA, Canada, England and Wales and directly considers the implications of globalisation on the practice of law and by implication on legal education.

Formative Assessment:
On-going formative assessment on student progress will be given during classes

Summative Assessment:
Assessments for this module are reflected in section 17.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 24
Face To Face Tutorial 12
Independent Learning Guided independent study 164
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Practical Skills Assessment 40 1 - 6 6 HOURS= 0.17, WORDS= 1000
Essay 60 1 - 6 13 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

– The Legal Market: Overview of recent changes in the legal profession with reference to global, national and local changes.

- The Changing Landscape: Exploration of the changing nature of legal practices, learning lessons from other professional service firms (notably accountancy and investment brokers).

– Commercial Awareness: The importance of horizon scanning, the importance of strategic thinking for legal firms and the ability to deliver client focussed advice based on an understanding of the client and its business.

– Governance: What is it? Why is it important?

– Risk management: The in-house lawyer and the role of the risk management lawyer.

- Disruptive Technologies: The role of IT and online legal services.

- IT: Confidentiality and Security.

- Access to Justice: Virtual Courts and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).

– Running a Law Firm: Drawing together commercial awareness and risk management to run a successful legal business.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key challenges and emerging opportunities for legal practice;
LO2: Develop a critical and demonstrable understanding of commercial awareness, risk management and technology in legal practice;
LO3: Critically compare a range of data on changes in legal practice and present and convey the information and analysis to an informed audience orally and in writing;
LO4: Explore the implications of new cross-disciplinary firms on the professional nature of law firms;

LO5: Appraise and exercise autonomy in carrying out independent research in preparation for coursework; and

LO6: Evaluate the impact of global and national changes in legal practice on the Scottish legal profession and its practice.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Legal Practice in the Twenty First Century