There are opportunities for speaking to clients through the diploma in mock interviews which can cover various situations. You can have distressed or angry clients, or clients discussing sensitive or complex problems. The diploma is a good opportunity to practice how to best deal with these situations because there is no need to worry about the consequences of any mistakes or a slip of the tongue. The types of people you speak to will vary between different departments but learning basic tips on how to approach these situations is important. The good thing about the mock interviews is that you can see how other people would deal with a situation, and you can learn from both the tutors and other students.
The diploma also gives you the opportunity to draft documents; whether it is conveyancing deeds, court summons or simply a letter to a client. Working out the content of what to write in these documents is always a work in progress, however being precise and showing attention to detail is just as important. Getting into the habit of taking your time over details and proof reading can avoid embarrassing spelling and grammar mistakes.
A part of the advocacy module on the diploma involves learning the sheriff court rules, procedures and time limits. Although it was sometimes hard going, learning the rules makes your daily work a lot easier, as it helps you to understand why things are done in a certain way. The procedural rules and court jargon is second nature to everyone in the office so if you can get up to speed then you will be able to spend more time focusing on other aspects of your legal work.
Everything that you learn in the diploma can have a place in your traineeship, and doing it every day in practice means that you are always improving. At Morton Fraser there is also a detailed and varied TCPD [Trainee Continuing Professional Development] programme which ties everything together and supports your learning. The more you can take from the diploma and your last year at University, the easier it is to settle into the traineeship.