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Professional Development and Training through a Variety of Models: Apprenticeship, Externship and Post-Qualification Platforms

Professional Development and Training through a Variety of Models: Apprenticeship, Externship and Post-Qualification Platforms (Program)

Melissa Deehring, Qatar University College of Law (Qatar); Jeff Giddings, Griffith University (Australia) (Moderator); John Flood, Griffith University (Australia); Sandra Prinsloo, University of Pretoria (South Africa) Christina Mosalagae, University of Pretoria (South Africa); and Roland Fletcher, The Open Univeristy (UK)

Professional Development and Training through a Variety of Models: Apprenticeship, Externship and Post-Qualification Platforms


Melissa Deehring: Encouraging Diversity in the Middle East; How an Externship Program is Changing the Face of the Qatari Legal Profession

In 2011, Qatar University College of Law established the Externship Program, a practical skills class designed to teach students real life lawyering skills and encourage their pursuit of legal careers while balancing Qatari history, identity, traditions, and customs.

Initially, the program encountered resistance. During the first several years, many relatives objected to female students’ participation and/or chose to accompany students to interviews and even the first few weeks of the externship experiences themselves.

Yet, despite initial complications, the program has proven enormously successful in the Qatari community with more than 380 students participating, almost 75% of them being female. From a small program that began with 12 students competing for 18 jobs with 15 different employers, during fall semester 2015, the program hosted 72 students who competed for 103 jobs with 51 different employers (500% increase in students per semester, 472% increase in jobs per semester and 240% increase in participating employers per semester).

This paper aims to explain: 1) how Qatar University College of Law tailored a traditionally Western educational program for use in the Middle East; 2) results the program has obtained relating to female students’ participation including their externship preferences, self-reported growth and statistics relating to their entrance into the legal profession; and 3) a brief overview of the Program’s newly awarded $550,000 two-year NPRP grant that will further study the legal landscape for young female legal professionals in Qatar while encouraging their entrance into the profession.

Christina Mosalagae and Sandra Prinsloo: The Effectiveness of Legal Education in Teaching Ethics for Legal Practice in South Africa

Ethics is often a misunderstood area of law and legal practice. This is due to the wide gap between what is being taught in law schools and what is applied as ethics in legal practice. Furthermore, the nature of taught ethics is often far removed from the realities of the application of ethics in legal practice. We are of the opinion that law schools do not provide law students with the tools to correctly identify and address the various ethical questions that may arise in legal practice.

This paper is structured in three parts: we start off by looking at how ethics theory is introduced and taught in the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree as well as other post-qualification platforms in South African legal education. This entails considering modules within the LLB degree that are specifically focused on teaching ethics theory and those that encourage ethical thinking in students. Thereafter, the availability of post-qualification ethics training is considered.

In the second component of the paper we will look at the possible implications of behavioral ethics for the South African legal profession. We hope to investigate how behavioral ethics can be introduced into the LLB curriculum and applied to the legal profession.

Thirdly, we will critically analyze the ethics component of the Attorney’s Admission examination (Admission exam) as prescribed by the Law Society of South Africa. This entails statistically analyzing the composition of the Ethics paper of the Admission exam, the weight of questions based on ethics theory as well as looking at the declining nature of questions on ethics theory in the Ethics paper.

We will conclude with recommendations on how to bridge the gap between taught ethics and ethics in legal practice by looking at the South African legal profession and other jurisdictions.

Jeff Giddings and John Flood: Reshaping and Retaining the Legal Professional Apprenticeship

This proposed paper will consider ways to retain the strengths of traditional professional apprenticeship models in the face of changes to the content and organization of professional work.

Historically, the distinctive feature of professional preparation has been supervised practice experiences, following or combined with the learning of the foundations of professional knowledge. Such processes have enabled novices to develop the skills, values and judgment that are held as hallmarks of work that entails being entrusted with responsibility for the interests of others. Traditionally, effective apprenticeship involves the modelling of expert judgment and then coaching of the learner through similar activities to develop the blend of analytic and practical habits of mind demanded by professional practice. Like other professions, law faces challenges to its traditional professional apprenticeship arrangements generated by globalization, digitization, greater professional mobility and emphasis on working in interdisciplinary teams.

The extensive literature on professions, principally from sociology and management, reveals the power and privilege connected to their work. More recently, writing has focused on understanding the shift of professional work to large work settings where practitioners exercise discretion in that setting, rather than retaining control over their work. This literature tends not to focus on the processes that can best foster effective preparation for professional work of this nature. This paper draws on developments from a range of disciplines (business, engineering, journalism and nursing) to address the contribution of the professional apprenticeship to the preparation of modern legal professionals.

Roland Fletcher: Legal Education and Proposed Regulation of the Legal Profession in England and Wales: A Transformation or a Tragedy?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have undertaken a review of legal education and have produced a new pathway to ‘train’ and qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. They are implementing a number of radical changes which will have a direct effect on legal education and how educational provision will be delivered to students who wish to practice law in England and Wales in the near future. The SRA have put forward a number of proposals and have introduced the apprenticeship model. This has far reaching implications for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), such as their current business models. Many HEIs currently adopt a business model which accommodates the delivery of educational provision for those students who wish to study law and qualify as a solicitor. The changes that are likely to come in to force will either remove or diminish the current pathways available to study and qualify as a solicitor. The replacement offered by the SRA is the apprenticeship model which will send shock waves through the higher educational institutions who have invested in their infrastructure which currently provides legal educational for their students. The SRA believe these changes they are introducing will provide a framework that is flexible and is not reliant on a sequence of exams and prescriptive stages to qualify as a solicitor, such as the academic stage (LLB), the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the completion of a two year training contract which is compounded by increased tuition fees. One of the SRA’s major criticisms of the current system is the way the LPC assesses specified standards during specific intervals. They believe the current standards are not universally applied and there is a lack of transparency and consistency across the higher education sector. In response to these concerns the SRA have produced a new model which they refer to as the ‘trailblazer,’ otherwise known as the apprenticeship model.

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