Diploma Professional Legal Practice

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Education & Training Stage 1
  • Study mode and duration: 9 months full-time; 24 months part-time

Study with us

  • required for entry to the legal profession in Scotland

  • experience a unique method of learning the practical application of legal principles
  • work collaboratively in firms and apply your professional skills to legal simulations
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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.

A real benefit of the course is the opportunity 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.

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What 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.

Full-time students

There is a full-time all-week induction course of skills training in the first week of Semester 1. There is a further dedicated full-time skills training period in week one of Semester 2. Teaching of the compulsory classes during the rest of Semester 1 is mostly from Tuesday to Thursday each week. In Semester 2, teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday depending on the elective classes selected.

Professional Legal Practice diploma timetable

Part-time students

Part-time students undertake the same full-time induction course in week one of Semester 1 and the same full-time skills training period in Semester 2 as the full-time students. Teaching takes place during Semester 1 primarily from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday to Thursday. During Semester 2, teaching may take place from Monday to Thursday depending on the elective classes selected.

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Course content

Semester 1 Compulsory subjects:

  • Professional Practice & Ethics
  • Business & Financial Awareness
  • Conveyancing
  • Private Client
  • Civil Litigation
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Personal Injury Claims Handling

Semester 2 Elective (five to be chosen):

  • Advanced Criminal Advocacy
  • Advanced Private Client
  • Commercial Contracts & IP
  • Commercial Conveyancing
  • Company Law
  • Employment Law in Practice
  • Family Business
  • Family Law
  • Mediation & Mediation Advocacy
  • Practical Public Administration
  • Tomorrow’s Legal Industry
  • Work-Based Learning Module in Legal Practice

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 & written presentations
  • interviewing
  • negotiating

Facilities

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.

Our virtual community & learning environment

The background to much of our practical work is the ‘virtual’ community of Ardcalloch – a town we’ve created. A wide variety of events take place in the town which give rise to a variety of legal issues 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. Our specially trained ‘clients’ will assess and give feedback 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
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

LLB degree (or equivalent) which meets the requirements and outcomes of the Law Society of Scotland’s foundation programme. Please read the Admissions guidance notes for full details of the admissions process.

Take a look at our Supplementary Guidance Note for Diploma Applicants.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

2020/21

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

£7,500

Rest of UK

£7,500

International

£16,400

Additional costs

Hard copies of all necessary handbooks will be £100. Distribution of the handbooks usually takes place during the first week of term by which point payment is required in full.

Grants

Please refer to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice Guidance note 2019/20 document.

Financial assistance

See Law Society of Scotland Funding Directory.

Career Development Loans: See the Admissions guidance notes for further details.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

The Clark Foundation for Legal Education

The Foundation invites applications for Grants and Scholarships from persons practising law in Scotland whether as solicitors or advocates and from persons studying at Scottish Universities or other institutions of higher education based in Scotland.

The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and advance the legal and business education and training of Scots lawyers and students of Scots Law. Awards will be made annually in September and application forms should be returned no later than the end of March.  To request an application form please email clarkfoundation@todsmurray.com.

Find out more
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Apply

Please note: Applications for 2019/20 entry are now closed.

If you wish to apply to Strathclyde, please complete the online application below (available after 22nd February).

If you're a Strathclyde student or graduate and wish to apply to another university to study the Diploma, please complete our PAPER APPLICATION FORM FOR ADMISSION TO THE FULL-TIME/PART-TIME DIPLOMA 19/20 and send it directly to the university you wish to apply to.

Guidance notes

Please read the Admissions guidance notes and Law Society of Scotland Guidance Notes for Students before submitting an application.

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Contact us

Postgraduate Enquiries

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 4945

Email: hass-law-diploma@strath.ac.uk