LawPALSHons Sessions

Last year, the team behind LawPALS piloted four sessions aimed at our Honours students.  The sessions were designed to ease transition from Ordinary to Honours-level study.  The sessions were popular and so we planned to run them again this year and branded them under the new name of…

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LawPALSHons sessions take the form of large-group sessions with the chance to ask questions.  The Director of the Student Experience delivers content from the Edinburgh Law School perspective – aka what do we REALLY want from you at Honours! – and former LLB students come in to add the ‘peer’ element and talk about what it’s really like and how they coped with the new challenge.  Attendees are free to ask questions at any stageand feedback so far has suggested the students find these sessions a useful tool for moving forward with their Honours study.

Topics covered are:

How to get the Most out of Honours Seminars (run in week 2)

The Dissertation (run in week 3)

Honours Essays (run in week 7)

Honours Exams (running in March 2013)

For sessions already run, click the relevant link to be taken to the materials used.

These sessions are aimed at third year LLB students and fourth years who spent third year abroad.  The Dissertation session is (obviously) aimed at fourth years.

Students do not need to register to attend these sessions but instead should feel free just to turn up on the day.  Third and fourth years will be emailed by our Student Support Officer, Mrs Anne King, around a week before each event is held.  Sessions are not recorded but materials used are put online afterwards.

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SLUG Placements (second years)

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SLUG (Solicitor Links for Undergraduate Guidance) semester one placements are due to start a week today.  Placements run on either Wednesday or Friday afternoons from 24 October until 30 November.

Thank you to all those you have registered their interest in a placement for semester one.  Students who have registered their interest need not do so again.  Successful students will be notified by email and will then be given placement and contact details.

Please note this is only for the semester one placements.  Students who have already registered their interest in a semester two placement do not need to do so again.

Any students who have not registered their interest in SLUG – and are in second year of the LLB or first or second year of a Graduate LLB – should do so now by visiting http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/slug/form.aspx

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Universities Scotland: Briefing on Widening Access

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Universities Scotland, a body made up of the Principals or Directors of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions, recently published a paper entitled ‘Widening Access to University.’  You can find the report here:

http://www.universities-scotland.ac.uk/uploads/WideningAccess%20July12.pdf

It includes a summary of Universities Scotland’s position on widening access, the fundamental challenge outreach presents and concerns with using SIMD (The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) as a measure of Scottish efforts.

The paper also takes account of the sometimes non-measurable interactions universities have with pupils from more ‘deprived’ areas.  “Ultimately it is about creating opportunities for individuals not postcodes or data-zones.”

A key message from this is that we should be looking more to partnership working and not just lay blame at the door of universities.  The report concludes “If primary responsibility for ensuring fair access is laid at the doors of universities, and the system-wide response that is needed to address problems of social inequality remains absent, then a step change in progress will be unlikely.”

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LawPALS

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LawPALS is preparing for its seventh year in operation at Edinburgh Law School and is fast becoming one of our most famous exports so I thought it timely to share a short ‘Prezi’ presentation with further information about what it actually is.

I have been asked to speak about LawPALS at a few events recently as interest in peer assistaed learning grows across the university.  LawPALS has already inspired the set-up of PhysicsPALS, PsychPALS, Politics mentoring Scheme and many others.

We are happy to talk to colleagues about our experience of setting up and running a peer-based support system.  It might not be as much work as you think it is and the model is very flexible so can be adapted to suit your own discipline.

Access the Prezi presentation below and please do not hesitate to contact me for further information or clarification.

CLICK HERE FOR PREZI

or copy and paste http://prezi.com/xl_heglotscn/law-peer-assisted-learning-scheme-lawpals/ into your browser.

Lindsay Jack – Outreach and Study Skills Officer, Lindsay.Jack@ed.ac.uk

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Primary Workshop Highlights

This month brings an anniversary for me – a work-iversary if you will.  On 29 May it will be five years since I started working at Edinburgh Law School.  There have been many, many highlights along the way but one set of workshops I run has never failed to make me laugh over the years.  They are, of course, the Primary School workshops we run as part of the Early Years initiative run by The University of Edinburgh.

The Early Years initiative, run by my colleague Dr Neil Speirs of Students Recruitment and Admissions, works with the primary schools that feed into the secondary state schools with the lowest progression onto Higher Education.  Its aim is to raise aspirations and increase awareness of opportunities available to the pupils as they progress through school.  At this age, we are not asking pupils to indicate an interest in studying at university, let alone specifically in studying law, but are simply aiming to give a 'taster' of what university life is and to show the vast array of subjects available for them to study.

Much work is done by Dr Spiers in creating and maintaining links with the schools and pupils.  The pupils are visited at school as well as being brought on campus.  We then work with the pupils again when they are in s1 and sometimes s2 in secondary school ensuring continuity in our message.

I thought I'd take this chance to share some of the funny and sometimes poignant answers I have had from Primary and s1/s2 pupils over the years.

When asked what laws they would bring in and why:

  • (Make it illegal…) to see animal cruelty and not stop it because animals are just like human beings.
  • (Make it illegal…) to see somebody homeless on the street and not donate.
  • No raisicim because it is nasty and not nice. Punishment for breaking it: Exicusion. (sic)
  • Don't be cheeky until you reach 3rd year because teacher's job will be easier.
  • Every Wednesday's"active day". Why? To keep fit and maybe be in the Olymics or worldcup (sic).

There was one law I simply couldn't decipher but it has one of the most imaginative punishments for breaking it:

"You get put in prison with angry pigs and rats that eat your flesh. And a frog will Exsacute you." (sic)

When asked to describe what lawyers do:

  • Help people, present cases in the court, fight battle, say as much as they can to win a case. They wear cool costumes.
  • Defends, pursue, gowns, give good information, wear black in court, research.
  • Helps the two sides.
  • He defends his clients, helps his clients, witnesses, snoops around looking for evadence and cracks the case. (sic)

Wonderful!  There are so many more but these are just a few of my favourites and I thought it a nice way to mark my work-iversary.

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High Court Sentencing to be Filmed

In a follow-up to earlier blogposts about allowing cameras in court, we have learnt today that cameras will be allowed into court at the sentencing of David Gilroy who was found guilty last month of murdering Suzanne Pilley.  The camera will focus on the judge, Lord Bracadale, and will not show David Gilroy.

You can find out a little more about this at the Law Society of Scotland's online Journal webpages here:  

http://www.journalonline.co.uk/News/1011059.aspx

 

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Innovative Learning Week: Law in Schools

Last week was the first Innovative Learning Week held at The University of Edinburgh.  Formal classes were suspended for a week while we all got innovative and looked outwith traditional teaching and learning experiences.  The resulting programme of events available for students to take part in in the Law School was nothing short of amazing.  You can view the whole programme here: http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/lawlessordinary/

I chose to run an event called Law in Schools.   It was a bit of a two-pronged attack whereby current LLB students were invited to sign up to present their favourite area of law, or experience of studying law, to local state school pupils interested in studying law.  The school pupils are registered with Pathways to the Professions or its Borders and Forth Valley equivalent, Reach, and have indicated they are interested in studying law. The LLB students were grateful for the chance to hone their presentation skills and gain experience in communicating with a non-specialist audience.

I ran the event twice with a different group of LLB students presenting each day.  Some of the pupils attended both days.  Topics covered included: Criminology; Insolvency; European Law; Why I Decided to Study Law; Medical Jurisprudence; Climate Change and Law and Young Persons, to name a few.  The speakers had spent a lot of time putting their presentations together and had really thought about the audience.  Most of the students had also thought back to when they were first thinking about studying law and what they might have liked to know then.  

The pupils and students both enjoyed the experience with pupils asking me if we were holding any more events like this and some of the students wanting to know how they can be further involved in the outreach work we do here at Edinburgh Law School.  All in all a very positive result!  Whether the university chooses to run this initiative again in future years I am not yet sure of but I would certainly think about running this type of event again.

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 *image from http://blogs.law.nyu.edu/lifeatnyulaw/10-steps-to-understanding-the-law-student-in-your-life/ from a funny guide to 'Understanding Your Law Student'

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Pathways to Professions in University Annual Review

The University of Edinburgh's award-winning initiative Pathways to the Professions is featured in the University's Annual Review.

You can view this online here: http://www.ed.ac.uk/about/annual-review/publication  The Pathways feature is at pages 12/13 in the 'issuu' version and pages 8/9 in the pdf version.

I am immensely proud to be involved with the Pathways programme and it is wonderful to see it featured in the Annual Report.  The university is very commited to widening participation and this filters down to College level and School. 

Did you know… The School of Law is still the only one in the university that employs its own Outreach/Widening Participation member of staff.  Their embedded approach to this role shows how forward-thinking the School is and shows how it thinks about all of its students and how best they might be supported on course.

Big cheer for Pathways!!

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Diploma/PEAT 1 Funding Changes 2012/13

Here is the most up-to-date information available from The Law Society of Scotland on funding for the Diploma/PEAT 1 in 2012/13.

"The Scottish Government have announced changes to the way in which certain postgraduate courses, including the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, will be funded for the 2012/13 academic year.  All students who meet eligibility criteria and who have secured a place on the Diploma to start in 2012 will be able to apply through the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a tuition fee loan towards the cost of fees.  The maximum loan available is £3,400 for full time study and £1,700 for part time study.  The loans will not be means tested and repayment will commence once the student has graduated, is in employment and is earning above the student loan repayment threshold, which will be £15,795 from April 2012." 

 Further information is available on the SAAS website at http://www.saas.gov.uk/student_support/funding_update.htm "

 

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LawPALS3: Review to Date

/Academic year 2011/12 saw the launch of a brand-new add-on to our successful LawPALS programme, LawPALS3.  These sessions are mostly aimed at our third year LLB students and our fourth years who went away on the ERASMUS scheme in third year.  Designed to help ease transition from ordinary to honours level study, LawPALS3 consists of lectures on study skills with question sessions at the end.  There are also supporting materials online for the sessions, including powerpoint and other presentations given on the day.  

The sessions focus on: Seminars and general induction to Honours-level study; Honours-level essays and Honours exams.  We also ran a session on the Dissertation for our fourth year students.

The sessions have been well-attended so far with 81 people attending the dissertation session, 23 attending seminars and general induction to honours study and 38 attending the essays session.  The final session on exams takes place in March and we are hopeful there will be a good uptake for that one too. 

The lectures have been given primarily by Lindsay Kelly with input from colelagues and students.  Professor Elspeth Reid ran the disseration session along with Lindsay and this was very well-received by the students.  other contributors included Andrew McWhirter and Victoria Smith, who have both studied their LLB at Edinburgh and are currently on the Diploma in Legal Practice, and Jamie Dunne who is also an Edinburgh LLB graduate as well as a DLP graduate and current LLM student.  Jamie is also the LawPALS Coordinator.

We plan to offer these sessions again next year for our students as they tell us they are helpful. 

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