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School of Law

M130 Law in Practice

Pictured: Georgios Viopolous, Roxana Burghel, Victoria Lebed, Saleh Zaheer; the four placement students for 2016-2017

LLB Law in Practice is a four-year programme: students study the first two years at Queen Mary University of London; the third year is spent on a paid internship with a legal practitioner, returning to Queen Mary for the final year of study.

This Qualifying Law Degree covers all the core modules needed to satisfy professional requirements for the foundations of legal knowledge and skills in England and Wales and some other jurisdictions. The third year of the programme is spent pursuing a legal internship with a legal employer and these employers are Bindmans LLPBryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Mishcon de Reya LLPPaul Hastings LLP and Reed Smith LLP.

You should apply directly through UCAS onto any LLB programme and you will have the opportunity to make an application for the Year in Practice at the end of either your first year of study or your second year of study (the different law firms have different timelines for application).

Who can apply?

The Law in Practice degree is available for up to approximately 10 Queen Mary undergraduate law students each year. Many of the students who have completed the placement year to date have been offered (and accepted) training contracts with the relevant employer. Decisions are made based on an application, academic grades and attendance. Shortlisted candidates are then interviewed by the law firm. 

Programme structure

The placement is during the third year of the four-year programme. You will be required to keep a weekly reflective journal, which will be maintained as a portfolio throughout the year and presented at the end of the internship. You will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and the placement year is a 120-credit module. This module does not count towards the degree classification.

If you are selected for M130 from a programme other than M100 (LLB Law), M120 (LLB English and European Law) or M105 (LLB Global Law), your timetable will be tailored in the second and final year to ensure you have covered all core modules necessary to graduate with a Qualifying Law Degree. The work placement on the Law in Practice degree (which takes place in the third year) will take the place of any year abroad. Students who initially enrol onto a joint honours degree (LLB Law with Business and LLB Law and Politics) will be required to leave the joint school after gaining a placement as part of the Law in Practice degree to enable you to take the required core law modules in your second year – a requirement before you take a placement. M101 (LLB Senior Status) students are eligible to apply for the Law in Practice LLB degree placement at law firm Reed Smith (who recruit at the end of the first year of study), but must be prepared to switch from a 2 year to a 4 year programme.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the career benefits of the placement year?

A: The Law in Practice programme gives you the chance to learn first-hand what it is like to work in a law firm and to better understand this type of business and career path before you complete your degree. The placement year will provide you with exceptional career benefits.

Q: What sort of work will I do while on placement?

A: Students will be involved in a range of work, which is currently carried out by paralegals, trainees and those who attend their undergraduate vacation schemes. At Reed Smith LLP, students are engaged in practice group work and innovation projects. At Bindmans LLP, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and Mishcon de Reya LLP, students will focus mainly on one area of practice (including Corporate, Real Estate, Finance, Litigation or Human Rights, and Pro-Bono projects) for the duration of the placement. The area of focus at Paul Hastings LLP is the application of innovations in legal practice and how those apply to practice areas of the firm (ranging from M&A and Corporate Finance to Litigation).

Student Experience

M130 LLB Law with a Year in Practice student Saleh Zaheer"I was successful in being one of the first five students to attain a place on the Law in Practice Programme whereby I would spend 8 months in three different departments at Reed Smith. A top global law firm with 27 offices throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The opportunity offered by Queen Mary is the first initiative at any Russell Group University to provide students the opportunity to complete a year in industry. Having completed internships at Linklaters, Freshfields, Slaughter and May, Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills, I felt that I had accumulated enough experience and was reluctant, at first, to do a year in industry. Now, three months into my placement at Reed Smith, I am genuinely overwhelmed and grateful to the Law department for the immense and hugely beneficial learning experience presented to me on a daily basis.

It has enabled me to put into practice the legal knowledge I accumulated over the first two years on the LLB. Examples of some of the work I am involved in is: assisting in drafting advice notes; researching legal developments; drafting articles for the Reed Smith Shipping team LinkedIn and Blog; drafting presentations for Partners to present at seminars; representing the firm at various events such as Law fairs; Pro Bono work and much more. The field of law is very competitive and after speaking with many lawyers and graduate recruitment teams at the different law firms, the Law in Practice programme definitely puts you in the driving seat and sets you apart from the huge number of graduates in pursuit of a training contract. The course is a game changer and will provide you with a strong foundation of legal and business skills necessary to learn, develop and thrive both as a student and future lawyer.’’ - Saleh Zaheer, LLB Law in Practice

Employer Experience

“Our LLB Law in Practice degree, now in its third successful year, is an innovative programme of which Reed Smith is very proud.

Created and developed in collaboration with Queen Mary’s Law School, the programme allows students, during their Queen Mary LLB degree, to build practical skills through a ‘year in industry’ working at the London offices of our global firm.

We are delighted with the success of the programme thus far, based on positive feedback from both the business and the students. The students have impressed with their professionalism, eagerness and ability to deliver high quality work, and in return, the business has gained real talent.

Given the SRA’s recently announced changes in the route to solicitor qualification in the UK, this innovative model of Queen Mary, blending practical experience into a degree, is one that we expect will become more prevalent. 

We are looking forward to the continued success of and to working in collaboration with Queen Mary on the placement.” - Graduate Recruitment Specialist, Reed Smith

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