Hi all! Today I thought I would discuss what the average week is like at YLS.
So, on a Monday I enjoy a nice lie-in, not starting until 2.30pm, then I have a 2-hour PBL session. This is with the members of my Student Law Firm as well as a tutor. These tutors have normally practiced as a solicitor previously or is a lecturer at the Law School. The first hour of these sessions involves feeding back from the legal problem we received the previous Monday. We do this through working our way through and ‘resolving’ the legal issues the parties in the scenario face. This week our problem looked at breaching contracts, so in our feedback, we will discuss in what scenarios can contract’s be breached? Etc…! In the second hour of the session we receive a new problem, we appoint a chairperson to chair the session and a scribe to make notes on the Smart Board. We work through the scenario for that week, identifying the key parties and their interests, a chronology of the events and then end by establishing learning outcomes to go away and research.
Following this two-hour PBL session I have an Obligations Lecture. Obligations encapsulates 3 key areas: Tort Law, Contract Law and the Law on Restitution. The lectures link closely to PBL and have a focus on the legal issues in our scenario we have to research. This week’s lecture covered Contractual Obligations, so very much relevant to our contract law problem. The lecture gives key pointers and provides basic information and the leading authorities in a certain subject which we can then use and expand with further research in our independent study. I’m not going to cover independent study here, but obviously there are textbooks, cases, journal articles and other resources to read to facilitate the work we do!
My first session on a Tuesday is Advanced Legal Skills, which is an extension of the module Legal Skills studied in year one. The module involves the application of the law and analysing and applying how the law works in the real world. We have completed client interviews, advocacy, negotiations and also a civil trial. This Tuesday’s session involved starting a new Criminal case. We completed a case analysis and identified the strengths and weaknesses of both the prosecution and defence’s case in the 2-hour session and identified areas to research in preparation for a client interview the following week. After this session, I have a Family Law Seminar. This is an optional module that I chose for the second term of the second year. We’ve only just started so I’m not fully equipped with the knowledge to share yet, but it takes the traditional York Law School PBL approach to family law legal issues. In the hour and a half session, we feed back from last weeks problem and then work through a new problem, similar to the process on a Monday
On Wednesday’s I have two lectures. One In Property Law and the second in Advanced Legal Skills. The property law lecture is very much similar to the Obligations lecture and covers the legal areas present in our PBL problem. As this week we had a contract law specific problem, the lecture did not relate to the PBL this week, but will relate to the property law problem we will receive he following Monday The Advanced Legal Skills lectures also link closely with the module. We complete and act out real world scenarios in the seminar sessions on a Tuesday and apply theories and develop our understanding of the skills required as a lawyer in the lectures. For example, we cover client interviewing in the practical sessions through interviewing fictitious clients, and we look at the skills required to interview a client effectively such as certain structures and techniques in the lectures. Wednesday afternoon’s on all student’s timetables is free, and this is where many academic careers sessions happen, with external guests coming to speak to us. The afternoon is also free for the sports teams to play against each other, as everyone’s timetable is clear.
On a Thursday it’s a later start again with a Professionalism and Ethics seminar at 2.30pm. These seminars follow the same PBL process, with the session being split equally between feeding back the previous week’s problem and working through a new problem. However, in this module, we look at the professional behaviour legal professionals should adhere to, and how there is an overlap between personal values and professional ethical principles. These sessions often consist of debate with different members of the group having varying views. After a short gap, we have our Interim Session. This involves 30 minutes study and feedback within our firm on our findings from the PBL so far. We are joined by a Postgraduate Student in the final 30 minutes of the session who gives us further places to research and gives us pointers if our previous research has gone in the wrong direction. As you can see on my timetable, this particular week I had a Volunteering meeting between these sessions. This is an extra-curricular activity I am involved with as I help organise volunteering opportunities for students, and at this specific meeting, we were discussing National Volunteering Week. These meetings and other activities I am involved with differ from week to week and also differ between students depending on what they are involved with alongside study.
On a Friday we have two lectures. The first lecture is Professionalism and Ethics. These are once every two weeks as is the seminar sessions on a Thursday. They follow the same suit as the other lectures, focusing on areas of law we have discussed in our PBL problems, as well as looking at theoretical perspectives of lawyering and ethics. The final thing timetabled this week is a Family Law Lecture. As discussed, this is my option module so the lecture only has a portion of students as other students have taken different options. Because of this, these lectures are more interactive, with time allocated for debate and discussion, then bringing ideas together with the lecturer. This date on my calendar, in particular was also my Brother’s Graduation from his Master’s Degree at York, and I was able to attend his graduation ceremony before my lecture! It was lovely to watch and helps me aim towards the 2018 Graduation Goal!
I hope that gave you an insight into the average week at YLS, if you have any questions feel free to post them and i’ll try my best to help you out!