LAW 6505 - Professional Obligations

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2015

The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of your professional obligations as a legal practitioner. An entry-level lawyer should act ethically and demonstrate professional responsibility and professional courtesy in all dealings with clients, the courts, the community and other lawyers. You should have sufficient knowledge, skills and values to maintain trust and general account records according to law and good practice, to the extent usually permitted and expected of an employed solicitor. The topics included are: ethics and regulation, trusts, office accounting, and legal cost. The issues raised in this course are highly relevant for other GDLP courses and legal practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 6505
    Course Professional Obligations
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Summer
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 6501
    Course Description The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of your professional obligations as a legal practitioner. An entry-level lawyer should act ethically and demonstrate professional responsibility and professional courtesy in all dealings with clients, the courts, the community and other lawyers. You should have sufficient knowledge, skills and values to maintain trust and general account records according to law and good practice, to the extent usually permitted and expected of an employed solicitor. The topics included are: ethics and regulation, trusts, office accounting, and legal cost. The issues raised in this course are highly relevant for other GDLP courses and legal practice.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Michelle Elliott

    As course staff work in the South Australian legal profession all communication should be directed to the GDLP Coordinator, Michelle Elliott in the first instance - michelle.elliott@lawsocietysa.asn.au

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

    Course Supervisors:

    Costs: Graeme Arnold
    Ethics and Regulations: Ros Burke
    Trust and Office Accounting: Ros Burke

    Course Coordinator (UA Law School): Dr. Suzanne Le Mire
    Course Timetable

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

    NOTE:
    LECTURES
    There are 10 hours of lectures: the lectures are pre-recorded and available online.
    There are NO face to face lectures.

    SEMINARS
    There are 14 hours of seminars divided into the following times
    All Seminars are compulsory
    Students enrol in ONE seminar group ONLY

    Topic 1: Lawyers Ethics and Regulations 5 hours
    Topic 2: Trust and Office Accounting  (online) 
    Topic 3: Costs 4 hours


    OTHER
    In additional to lectures and seminars there are additional readings, resources, and online activities to be completed.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

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

    1. Acting ethically

    • identified any relevant ethical dimension of a particular situation.

    • taken action which complies with professional ethical standards in that situation.

    2. Knowing when to raise ethical problems with others

    • identified circumstances in which matters relating to the ethical conduct of legal practice should be brought to the attention of others.

    • identified with whom different matters of this type should be raised (for example, employers, professional associations, legal services boards, police).

    • learned about relevant protocols, institutional procedures and difficulties, associated with raising such matters with others. 

    3. Discharging the legal duties and obligations of legal practitioners

    • identified any duty or obligation imposed on the lawyer by law in a particular situation.

    • discharged that duty or obligation according to law and good practice. 

    4. Complying with professional conduct rules

    • identified any applicable rules of professional conduct.

    • taken action which complies with those rules.

    5. Complying with fiduciary duties

    • recognised and complied with any fiduciary duty, according to law and good practice.

    6. Avoiding conflicts of interest

    • identified any potential or actual conflict, as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

    • taken effective action to avoid a potential conflict or, where a conflict has already arisen, dealt with it in accordance with law and good practice, or been involved in the process of doing one or more of those things. 

    • taken, or been involved in the process of taking, appropriate action, where applicable, to prevent such a conflict arising in the future. 

     7. Acting courteously 

    • demonstrated professional courtesy in all dealings with others. 

     8. Complying with rules relating to the charging of fees 

    • identified any rules applying to charging professional fees.

    • complied with those rules, where they are relevant.

    • maintained file notes and records in accordance with law and good practice. 

    9. Being aware of the importance of pro bono contributions 

    • recognised the importance of pro bono contributions to legal practice.

    • identified various means whereby lawyers may provide pro bono contributions.

    • where necessary, used resources provided by professional or community organisations to facilitate pro bono contributions;

    • identified when a client with insufficient resources may be entitled to legal aid, or assistance from professional or community organisations.

    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1 to 9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1 to 9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1 to 9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1 to 9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1 to 9
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1 to 9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1 to 9
  • 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 regularly (at least weekly) to keep up to date.


    Recommended Resources
    Most course resources are provided to students ONLINE via MyUni. Relevant law can be accessed online via:

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

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

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

    Due to the emphasis on current legal practice, other materials may be added after the course outline has been posted.  Students are required to check MyUni regularly (at least weekly) to keep up to date.
    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. Students are expected to check MyUni regularly (at least weekly) to keep up to date.

    Students should also regularly check their University of Adelaide email.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through online lectures supported by face to face interactive problem-solving seminars and practical exercises developing primary material.

    Students MUST come prepared for seminars, namely having undertaken prior readings 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 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). 

    Students, who due to disability, compelling medical or compassionate reasons, or in exceptional circumstance, are unable to attend the required seminars, may complete alterative work in lieu of attendance. The precise nature of this make-up work will depend on the seminar misses and will be negotiated with the GDLP Coordinator. Students MUST inform the GDLP Coordinator at the earliest opportunity of their absence and where they require this make-up work option.

    Workload

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

    In addition to the lectures and seminars (see course timetable) we recommend that you spend 8 hours per week in private study which includes reading the materials, preparing for lectures and seminars and undertaking the assessment tasks.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic 1: Lawyer's Ethics and Regulation
    Course supervisor: Ros Burke

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Regulatory Framework and Statutory Bodies

    Lecture 2: 2 hours
    Ethical Duties and the Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules

    Seminar 1: 2 hours
    Application of the Regulatory Framework and Statutory Bodies

    Seminar 2: 3hours
    Ethical Problem Solving Scenarios

    Assessment:
    Lawyer Ethics Essay
    Lawyer Ethics and Regulation Scenarios
     
    Topic 2: Trust and Office Accounting 
    Course supervisor: Ros Burke

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Trust and Office Accounting

    Online Seminar 
    Assessment:
    Trust and Office Accounting Workbook

    Topic 3: Costs
    Course supervisor: Graeme Arnold

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Solicitor/Own Client Costs

    Lecture 2: 2 hours
    Party/Party Costs

    Seminar 1: 2 hours
    Solicitor/Own Client Costs

    Seminar 2: 2 hours
    Party/Party Costs

    Assessment:
    Legal Costs Assessment


    Specific Course Requirements
    The course is based on the rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (LPEAC) 2004 and Law Admissions Consultative Committee 2015 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. Consequently, the compulsory attendance and active participation in seminars is required in addition to assessment tasks.
  • 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.

    Note: Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities.

    Assessment deadlines are as follows, unless otherwise advised:

    Topic 1: Lawyers’ Ethics and Regulations

    Assessment:

    Lawyer Ethics Essay
    Learning outcomes 1-7

    Deadline: 24/2/15, 5pm

    Lawyer Ethics and Regulation Scenarios
    Learning outcomes 1-9

    Deadline: 27/2/15, 5pm


    Topic 2: Trusts and Office Accounting

    Assessment:
    This assessment follows on from the online module of the same name.

    Trust and Office Accounting Workbook
    Learning outcomes 5, 8 and 9

    Deadline: 4/3/15, 5pm


    Topic 3: Costs

    Assessment:

    Legal Costs Assessment
    Learning outcomes 8 and 9

    Deadline: 6/3/15, 5pm

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Detailed information regarding the specific details of assessment which are required to be completed satisfactorily will be provided on MyUni.

    In this course, students will also be assessed on the following:
    • Attendance (95% rule applies)
    • Punctuality
    • Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines
    • Display active engagement in practical activities
    • Demonstrate respectful behaviour towards others
    • Maintaining a high level of confidentiality at all times
    • Satisfactory completion of prescribed exercises

    Assessment Detail
    Unless otherwise stated, there will be no prescribed word limit for assessments.

    This is because the purpose of the GDLP programme 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. In a legal practice it is highly unlikely you will be set a certain number of words or pages for the tasks you are asked to complete.

    However, in the majority of assessments guidelines will be provided.

    The quality of English expression is considered to be an integral part of the assessment process.
    Assessment competence will take into consideration: expression, structure, correct grammar, typography, etc.

    Presentation is to be single spaced and 2.5cm left margin.

    Assessments will be returned to students within 3 weeks of the due date, unless otherwise notified by the GDLP Program Coordinator through a Course Announcement.
    Submission
    Students must retain a copy of all assessments submitted.

    Students are to submit assessments online within MyUni.

    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 (fail). All non-competent (failed) assessments, per University policy, are double-marked before the results are released back to the student. The first and second markers discuss what the final result will be.

    If the assessment is deemed non-competent (fail) after the double-marking process, students may be offered the opportunity to revise and resubmit the assessment. Students granted a resubmission will have 7 days from the time they are informed by email from the LSSA GDLP Office to 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.

    Extensions

    Students MUST apply for an extension prior to the deadline to the GDLP Coordinator.
    Extensions on medical and compassionate grounds will be in accordance with University policy.

    Late Submission

    NOTE: in this course, students are assessed against a professional workplace standard; namely
    • Punctuality
    • Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines

    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.

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme: 
     
    Grade Grade reflects following criteria for allocation of grade Reported on Officaial Transcript
    Fail No Submission No work submitted for assessment FNS
    Fail Competency not demonstrated F
    Non-Graded Pass Competency demonstrated NGP
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN
    No Formal Examination No formal examination NFE


    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.

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

  • 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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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