Justice in action
Pro bono work, which translates from the Latin as “for the public good” involves taking part in activities which provide members of the public, community groups and others with legal advice, assistance and guidance. In the module, you will have the opportunity, working collaboratively with other students, to provide advice in an online law clinic, run online or face-to-face sessions on legal topics for various groups and undertake other activities designed to promote legal awareness and social justice. You will develop key legal and employability skills and consider important issues including the role of social justice, values, ethics and professional identity within law and the legal profession.
What you will study
During this module you will work in small groups on practical pro bono activities designed to contribute to the public good. You will also explore important themes relating to social justice, professional identity and legal values and ethics and develop key legal, employability and personal skills. The module is divided into four blocks of work:
Block 1: Exploring pro bono work
This block will consider why people undertake pro bono work and the concept of social justice. It will explore how this relates to professionalism and professional identity within the legal profession and look at how legal values and ethics can and should influence legal work. During this block you will begin to think about how these issues will affect your own work during the module. You will also undertake your own skills audit to enable you to assess both the skills you already have and those you need to develop for personal and professional growth.
Block 2: Developing legal skills
This block will focus on the development of key legal skills. In particular, undertaking practical legal research, interviewing clients, legal writing and presenting legal information face-to-face or online to various groups. These skills will then be drawn together in a problem-solving activity. You will continue to think about your own skills development and the themes that were introduced in Block 1. Depending on the pro bono activities you are allocated to, you may also begin to undertake some practical legal activities.
Block 3: Practical pro bono activities
This is the longest section of the module. During this block you will undertake practical pro bono activities working collaboratively as part of a small group. This will include both work related to the online law clinic and activities designed to enhance the public understanding of law. Work undertaken in the online law clinic could include assessing new enquiries and/or interviewing clients and/or preparing letters of advice. Activities to enhance public understanding could include face-to-face presentations in schools or prisons and/or online presentations to community groups and/or the preparation of written guides or articles and/or mentoring other students engaged in legal research projects. During this section of the module you will need to be flexible to accommodate the demands of the pro bono activities and to work effectively as part of a group. You will continue to think about your skills development and the themes that were introduced in Block 1.
Block 4: Drawing it all together
In the final, shorter block of the module you will complete any ongoing pro bono activities and relate them back to the themes you studied in Block 1. You will complete your review of the skills you have developed throughout the module.
Please note that, due to the nature of the module’s pro bono activities, each presentation will have a limited number of students. As of 22 August 2017, 60 places remain available for the October 2017 presentation.
You will learn
Doing this module you will gain knowledge and understanding of the role of law and legal practice in society, including looking at ethics, values and social justice and the importance and formation of professional identity. You will analyse and evaluate legal problems and issues and conduct appropriate research before reviewing your findings. You will develop your ability to collaborate and work as part of a team and clearly communicate information about law in a variety of ways to a range of individuals and groups. You will also identify and develop other important skills required for both career and personal development.
If you are intending to use this module as part of the LLB, and you hope to enter the legal professions, you should carefully read the careers information on The Open University Law School website. There are different entry regulations into the legal professions in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. You should read the information on the website as it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet these requirements.
The module is taught online. You will have access to all module materials via the module and the Open Justice websites. You will also be provided with a virtual reality headset to enable you to participate in activities in Block 2 relating to presenting information face to face. Please note that to use the virtual reality headset you will be required to have access to a smartphone. Alternative resources will be available to students without access to a smartphone.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- macOS 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.