LAW 6501 - Lawyer's Skills

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2019

This course covers the general knowledge and skills needed to become a competent legal practitioner. Skills in this course will be further developed on placement. Topics include: interviewing and advising, legal writing, legal drafting, practical legal research, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and advocacy. As part of the advocacy component you will make submission to, and obtain feedback from, senior members of the legal profession at the District Court. The course is offered in partnership with South Australian practitioners, courts and agencies.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 6501
    Course Lawyer's Skills
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Summer
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to GDLP students only. Not available for Study Abroad & Exchange.
    Course Description This course covers the general knowledge and skills needed to become a competent legal practitioner. Skills in this course will be further developed on placement. Topics include: interviewing and advising, legal writing, legal drafting, practical legal research, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and advocacy. As part of the advocacy component you will make submission to, and obtain feedback from, senior members of the legal profession at the District Court. The course is offered in partnership with South Australian practitioners, courts and agencies.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Desiree Holland

    The majority of seminars for this unit will run out of the training rooms of the Law Society of South Australia, Level 10 178 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA.

    As course staff work in the South Australian legal profession all communication should be directed to the GDLP Coordinator, Desiree Holland in the first instance: gdlpenquiries@lawsocietysa.asn.au

    The GDLP Coordinator will contact the appropriate course staff as necessary.

    Course Supervisors:

    Anne Najjar: Interviewing and Advising
    Claire Clutterham: Legal Writing and Drafting
    Joelie Cook: Practical Legal Research
    Greg Rooney: Negotiation and ADR
    Elizabeth Griffith: Advocacy
    Julie Van der Velde: Taxation

    Course Coordinator (UA Law School): Margaret Castles

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    This course will be taught intensively. Full details of seminars and activities are made available on MyUni course website
    prior to the course commencing.

    Students are required to attend all seminars. 

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1 Identify the purpose, audience and structure and construct concise and cohesive written letters, arguments, and submissions etc for a client/legal/professional/general/mixed audience in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    2 Prepare, conduct and analyse real or simulated client interviews clarify instructions and provide follow-up and advice, if
    applicable, having regard to the circumstances, good practice and the requirements of the law.
    3 Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments about case analysis, statutory interpretation and relevant law using plain English principles.
    4 Conduct practical, workplace based legal research, and present results on the basis of that research.
    5 Prepare and analyse appropriate strategy and tactics to be used in the effective negotiation of client matters as required by law or good practice in the circumstances of the case.
    6 Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake work as an individual.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    4,5
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1-5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1-5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2,5
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1-5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No textbooks are assigned for GDLP courses.

    Seminar resources and readings are available on MyUni ONLY. Students must bring electronic devices to seminars to access seminar materials.

    Due to an emphasis on current legal practice other materials may be added after the course outline has been posted. Students are required to check MyUni daily to keep up to date.
    Recommended Resources
    Most course resources are provided to students online via MyUni. Relevant legislation can be accessed online via:

    http://www.comlaw.gov.au/

    http://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/index.aspx

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/

    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Outline, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and
    Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni daily to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.

    Online Learning
    The course is supported by the MyUni course website. The website contains the following resources:

    1. Course information – including seminar schedule and assessment outline.
    2. Course materials – such as lecture presentations, seminar materials, readings and resources.
    3. Assessment – items of assessment and online submission.
    4. Grade centre – where students’ results for assessments are entered.

    MyUni will also be used to post announcements in both the course and GDLP Essentials. Students are expected to check MyUni daily to keep up to date.

    Students should check daily their University of Adelaide email.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught intensively. Online lectures are supported by activities such as face to face interactive problem-solving seminars and practical exercises.

    Students must come prepared for seminars, namely having listened to online lectures where applicable, undertaken prior reading and developed draft responses to the seminar questions. If students have not prepared and / or arrive more than 10 minutes late they may be asked to leave the seminar group.

    A reminder that students MUST bring along electronic devices to the seminar so they can access the seminar materials electronically.

    Attendance at seminars is necessary to ensure that students are part of the interactive and reflective learning environment (which enhances learning outcomes) and provides students with the ability to develop their skills of oral presentation, teamwork and persuasion (valuable to the professional environment). Students are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner as would be expected in the workplace environment (compliant with the professional conduct rules and standards).

    Full details of seminars and activities are made available on the MyUni course website prior to the course commencing.

    In most cases assessment tasks are linked to seminars activities.

    Attendance at all seminars is highly advisable. Where assessment tasks are conducted in seminars non-attendance will, in most cases, require alterative assessment.

    By the end of this course students should be able to competently:

    1. Writing Letters

    • identified the need for, and purpose of, the letter.
    • written the letter in plain English that conveys its purpose clearly and could be understood by the person to whom it is sent, acting reasonably.
    2. Legal Writing

    2.1 Communicating effectively

    • identified the purpose of a proposed communication, the most effective way of making it, and the content of the proposed communication.
    • presented thoughts, advice, and submissions in a logical, clear, succinct and persuasive manner, having regard to the circumstances and the person or forum to whom they are made.
    2.2 Cross-cultural awareness

    • identified and appropriately dealt with verbal and non-verbal aspects of cross-cultural communication
    3. Interviewing and Advising

    • prepared for the interview properly, having regard to relevant information available before the interview and all known, relevant circumstances.
    • conducted, participated in conducting or observed, the interview, using communication techniques appropriate to both the client and the context.
    • ensured that the client and lawyer have both obtained all the information which they wanted from the interview in a timely, effective and efficient way, having regard to the circumstances.
    • ensured that the lawyer and client left the interview with a common understanding of the lawyer’s instructions (if any) and any future action that the lawyer or client is respectively to take.
    • made a record of the interview that satisfies the requirements of law and good practice.
    • taken, or participated in taking, any follow-up action in a timely manner.
    4. Legal Drafting

    • identified the need for, and purpose, of the document.
    • devised an effective form and structure for the document having regard to the parties, the circumstances, good practice, plain English principles and the relevant law.
    • drafted the document effectively having regard to the parties, the circumstances, good practice, plain English principles, and the relevant law.
    • considered whether the document should be settled by counsel.
    • taken every action required to make the document effective and enforceable in a timely manner and according to law (such as execution by the parties, stamping, delivery and registration).
    5. Practical Legal Research

    • establish a strategy to undertake systematic legal research
    • use paper and electronic resources to efficiently research legal and factual problems involved in a matter
    • keep your research up to date
    • present the results of your research
    6. Negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

    • prepared, or participated in the preparation of the client’s case properly having regard to the circumstances and good practice.
    • identified the strategy and tactics to be used in negotiations and discussed them with and obtained approval from the client, or been involved in or observed that process.
    • carried out, been involved in or observed, the negotiations effectively having regard to the strategy and tactics adopted, the circumstances of the case and good practice.
    • documented any resolution as required by law or good practice and explained it, or been involved in the process of explaining it, to the client in a way a reasonable client could understand.
    7. Facilitating early resolution of disputes

    • identified the advantages and disadvantages of available dispute resolution options and explained them to, or been involved in explaining them to, the client.
    • performed in the lawyer’s role, or been involved in or observed that performance, in the dispute resolution process effectively, having regard to the circumstances.
    • documented any resolution as required by law or good practice and explained it, or been involved in explaining it, to the client in a way a reasonable client could understand.
    8.Advocacy

    • observed the etiquette and procedures of the forum.
    • organised and presented in an effective, strategic way:
      • factual material;
      • analysis of relevant legal issues; and
      • relevant decided cases.
    • prepare and present a submission to a senior member of the legal profession taking into account the instructions given and advocacy skills to examine the use of a case concept and presentation styles
    • made submissions effectively and coherently in accordance with law and good practice.
    9. Taxation

    • develop an understanding of the taxation areas which underpin other GDLP courses: Capital Gains Tax (CGT), Stamp Duty (SD) and Goods and Services Tax (GST).
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact time

    This course will be taught intensively. 

    Preparation time

    In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assessments.


    The University expects full time students, in particular those enrolled over a 6 month rather than 12 month period, to devote in excess of 15 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary
    A detailed seminar schedule will be posted to MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    Topics covered:
    1. Communicating effectively
    2. Cross-cultural awareness
    3. Interviewing clients
    4. Writing letters
    5. Drafting other documents
    6. Negotiating settlements and agreements
    7. Facilitating early resolution of disputes
    8. Representing a client in a legal forum
    Specific Course Requirements
    The course is based on the rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (LPEAC) 2018 which specifies the expected competency standards for entry level lawyers at the point of admission. In order to pass this course you are expected to demonstrate competence in these standards. 

    The national competency standards include underpinning knowledge and skills in:
    • Ethics and professional responsibility
    • Lawyers skills
    • Problem solving
    • Work management and business skills


    Students are required to demonstrate, where appropriate, the following:
    Punctuality
    Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines
    Active engagement in practical activities
    Respectful behaviour towards others
    A high level of confidentiality at all times
    Satisfactory completion of prescribed exercises

    For further information please contact the LSSA program manager (GDLP)


  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline. Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    All assessments are competency based (non-graded pass). Competence must be demonstrated in ALL assessment tasks and activities. 

    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Length Learning Outcome
    Interviewing and advising

    Individual First week n/a See Assessment Detail 1-3
    Legal drafting Individual First week n/a See Assessment Detail 1-5
    Negotiation and ADR Individual Second week n/a One page 2-3
    PLR research Individual Assessed in seminar n/a n/a 4
    Taxation activities and scenarios Individual Assessed in seminar n/a n/a 4
    Advocacy -Oral presentations Individual Per appointment time n/a n/a 5-6
    Advocacy-case concepts Individual 4 days after Advocacy oral presentation n/a n/a 1,5


    In this course, the following elements of the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers are embedded:

    • Ethics and professional responsibility
    • Lawyers skills
    • Problem solving
    • Work management and business skills

    Students are required to demonstrate, where appropriate, the following:

    • Punctuality
    • Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines
    • Active engagement in practical activities
    • Respectful behaviour towards others
    • A high level of confidentiality at all times
    • Satisfactory completion of prescribed exercise

    * Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    .

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline. Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    Assessments guidelines will be provided for each assesssment task. Unless otherwise stated, there will be no prescribed word limit for assessments. This is because the purpose of the GDLP program is to facilitate your transition from undergraduate academic law studies to the legal professional employment environment through the demonstration and practice of professionally-based skills and competencies.

    All assessments are competency based (non-graded pass). Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities. MyUni requires a numerical value to display that competency has been demonstrated. Please note:

    1 – Competency has been achieved (non-graded pass)
    0 = Competency has not yet been achieved (re-submission required).

    Seminar Attendance

    Attendance at all seminars is strongly advised. Missing seminars will put you at a severe disadvantage in completing the requirements of the course. In most cases, assessment tasks are strongly linked to seminars activities with some assessments occurring during seminars.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline. Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing. All assessments are competency based (non-graded pass). Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities.  MyUni requires a numerical value to display that competency has been demonstrated. Please note:


    Assessment Detail

    Interviewing and advising

    1. Letter confirming client’s instructions. Length Max 3 A4 pages.
    2.  Letter to Other Party’s - Solicitor. Lengeth Max 2 A4 pages

    Legal Drafting
       
    1. Pre -attendance Short answer questions. Length - Rewriting paragraph in plain English
    2. Interlocutory application - Length - Form 1 - Approved Disstrict Court Civil Form
    3. Affidavit - Length - Form 1

    Negotiation and ADR

    1. One page reflection - Length is one page only.


    Submission
    Students must retain a copy of all assessments submitted.

    Students are to submit assessments online via Turnitin.

    Please note: where forms or documents have been outlined in assessment activities for completion these should be downloaded from original sources and completed in an electronic format, if not supplied.

    Students will be marked in accordance with the marking rubric.

    Resubmission

    Students are required to demonstrate competency in all elements of the national competency standards and failure to do so will result in the relevant assessment being marked as non-competent. If the assessment is deemed non-competent students may be offered the opportunity to revise and resubmit the assessment. In most cases only the parts of the assessment that do not attain competence will be required to be resubmitted. Only ONE opportunity is provided for resubmission.

    Note: Attendance and participation in seminars, and/or the completion of online activities will be considered as determining factors in the offer of a resubmission.

    In 2019 a supplementary teaching day will be offered. Students who will be allowed to resubmit may attend this day, though it is not compulsory to do so. Resubmission of the assessment will be allowed after this additional teaching day. If a student is unable to demonstrate competency after this resubmission then they will need undertake the course again and pay additional fees. Please note that all final fails are double marked before the results are released to students.


    Extensions

    Students MUST apply for an extension prior to the deadline to the LSSA GDLP Team.

    Extensions on medical and compassionate grounds will be considered in accordance with University policy.

    Late Submission 
    Assignments submitted late will not be marked.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    GS8 (Coursework Grade Scheme)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing
    FNS Fail No Submission
    NFE No Formal Examination
    F Fail
    NGP Non Graded Pass
    P Pass
    C Credit
    D Distinction
    HD High Distinction
    RP Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Grade Description

    CN
    Continuing

    FNS
    Fail No Submission

    NFE
    No Formal Examination

    F
    Fail

    NGP
    Non Graded Pass

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible  moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment  results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is  required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    Moderation

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:

    *assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    *detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    *sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    *reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    *comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    *automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    *the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as CEQ surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at least once every 2 years. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.