LAW30700 The Lawyer, Professional Ethics & Legal Practice

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module examines the role of the legal profession in contemporary social, economic and political life and the competing pressures of values and ethics in professional life. It engages students in developing critical awareness of how the legal education and the practice of law shapes both legal norms and the outcomes of legal processes.

The module combines the development of legal skills with the acquisition of a deeper understanding of the legal system. We consider evidence as to what lawyers do and why. The professional practice of lawyers involves the acquisition and retention of clients, finding out their circumstances and preferences, articulating the law in its potential, but also bearing in mind the practicality of recourse to the law. We examine how lawyers charge for their services, and what ethical dilemnas may arise consequent on countervailing commercial influences on lawyer and client.

We will use a series of simulations to experience how lawyers gather information and instructions from their clients and use their professional knowledge to advance the interests of their clients through advising and then negotiating on their behalf, or acting as advocates for them. Central to this activity is the development of writing skills for legal drafting and other forms of writing. We will experience and evaluate the significance of drafting processes for advancing client issues. Finally we will examine the various mechanisms through which professional values are implemented and enforced through the actions of professionals themselves and their firms and through the oversight and enforcement by both professional and governmental bodies. We will examine the relative balance between self-regulation and public regulation, and tensions between professional autonomy and the claims of state actors to intervene in the name both of competition and regulatory ordering.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completing this course, students should be able to:

Discuss, and engage reflectively with, the impact of law for participants in legal processes;
Elaborate on the significance of the client-lawyer relationship in legal practice;
Articulate the variety of norms governing professional practice;
Recognise conflicts in values inherent in professional practice;
Identify and apply the main ethical principles applying to the legal profession;
Critically evaluate both the content and application of ethical principles to the legal profession; Demonstrate the ability to apply a range of practical legal skills to common practice situations including: client interviewing and counselling; negotiation; writing and drafting; case preparation and management.

Students are strongly encouraged to contribute to class discussions, and to have done sufficient reading in advance to enable them to make reasoned contribution.

Indicative Module Content:

The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client, regulator and society will be considered and discussed. This involves examining the social position of a lawyer as a professional. As part of this relationship, we will look at the requirements of confidentiality and competence, and the line where zealousness in a client's interests should give way to countervailing factors.

In looking at these issues, we will engage in class discussions, based on scenarios. We will draw upon the academic literature relating to the exercise of legal professional judgment.

Assessment is continuous, so that students can develop their legal writing skills, focussing on analysis of problems and scenarios and the persuasiveness of legal argumentation.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will be expected to participate actively in class and to articulate and defend their position. Ethical dilemmas are often very nuanced, and students will engage with their peers, in a respectful manner, in proposing a course of action. There will be a certain amount of role play which will be used to identify and develop issues of legal practice. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: End of semester written assignment (4000 words) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will discuss the assignment and discuss possible ways of answering questions. This will be done either individually or in groups.

By : Andrew Boon
ISBN: 9781849466691
Published: 07-11-2014