Module code: LAWM169

Module Overview

This module will allow students to refine and evidence two key professional legal skills. It will enable students to build on their undergraduate legal academic skills to develop the ability to research and write to the level expected of a newly qualified legal professional. 

This module will link with student online directed learning from the embedded SQE preparation tool on Wills, Administrate and Estates. 

Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to successfully design and execute a research plan (using both digital and analogue legal materials/databases) and the ability to identify and differentiate between research sources of varying values and relevance.

Students will be required to engage with research sources to extract and analyse key content and to present their findings and conclusions in a logical, structured written communication piece.

The module will provide opportunities for students to practice and reflect on their written linguistic style (recognizing the difference between academic and professional legal writing) and identify ways in which they can communicate key legal information in a professionally effective and concise manner.

All modules in this programme link with preparation for the SQE and for future professional practice. The pedagogy of this module, including the assessment pattern, relates academic and vocational skills to professional practice in a legal environment.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

LILLYWHITE Claire (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 40

Lecture Hours: 2

Seminar Hours: 20

Guided Learning: 79

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Legal Research Methods.

  • Using Legal Databases.

  • Identifying and Formulating Research Questions.

  • Legal referencing for Professional Practice.

  • Legal Writing for Professional Practice.

  • Writing Skills.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Letter to client 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to:

Allow students to demonstrate their ability to effectively carry out legal research independently and that they can evaluate, summarise, support and communicate the results of their research effectively and in adherence to the norms and standards required in legal professional practice. Students will be required to write and present communication documents common to general legal practice and to ensure that those documents are presented in a manner that is supported and justified by appropriate research sources and linguistically efficient and correct.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of two pieces of coursework:

  • Letter of advice to client – 100%

This assessment addresses all learning outcomes.


Formative assessment: 

  • Students will be given a research task and will submit a draft memorandum to partner setting out legal advice (including references to legal research sources, professional conduct and ethics)



Students will be provided with formative feedback during seminars and workshops. Further formative feedback will be available upon submission of the memorandum which will provide opportunities for students to evaluate their research and writing skills and utilise feedback when writing client letter.

Module aims

  • To provide PG law students with the key specialized knowledge of legal research techniques for professional practice.
  • To enable students to identify and understand the strengths and weaknesses of different legal research methods and to be able to exercise judgement in using the appropriate methods for assigned tasks.
  • To enable students to identify and understand the strengths and weaknesses of different research sources and to be able to exercise judgement in identifying the appropriate sources to apply in assigned tasks
  • To require students to evidence ability to identify relevant research problems from a set of circumstances and to design and develop a reasoned research plan for problem solving.
  • To develop and apply an advanced standard of writing skills and to present written communication in a concise, coherent and logically reasoned manner suitable for professional practice.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify key research problems from a set of factual circumstances. KCPT
002 Design and outline a research plan using a variety of appropriate legal research methods and research sources. KCPT
003 Analyse, evaluate and justify between a variety of research methods and sources. KCPT
004 Critically evaluate and present research outcomes in effective and grammatically correct written communication. KCPT
005 Develop and evidence an effective, clear and coherent writing style which is well grounded in research evidence. KCPT
006 Evidence a range of advanced research skills in law. PT
007 Demonstrate ability to plan, structure, write and edit a professional legal memorandum and client letter. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Support preparation for the SQE1 module on Wills, Administration and Estates.

Utlise relevant platforms, databases and resources to carry out directed research.

Use appropriate professional language, formatting and structure to prepare a structure of a memorandum to a partner setting out a summary of the research undertaken.

Feedback will be provided to enable students with the opportunity to reflect and refine an initial letter of advice to client.


The learning and teaching methods include:


During and in advance of seminars, students undertake independent learning (Wills, Probate and Administration) using online tool and complete MCQ’s for each chapter.

During seminars students will be introduced to a real-life scenario in an area which relates to their independent learning and, working in groups students will be advised and supported in relevant research sources to advise clients.

Students will build on their undergraduate writing skills and critique professional writing skills to understand good and bad practice. 

Students gain important transferable skills including research, communication, written presentation and understanding the importance of writing to clients of varying abilities and social backgrounds.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAWM169

Other information

The School of Law is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:
Digital capabilities: Students will apply and refine their digital capabilities through engagement with a variety of online learning applications and activities. Students are expected to be proficient in navigating the University of Surrey’s VLE (Surreylearn) to support their learning, communicate with peers and tutors and to submit assessment output. Students are further expected to be proficient in utilizing a variety of digital legal databases to effectively source research materials and complete learning tasks. The teaching activities in this module will also embed usage of interactive digital educational applications such as Padlet, Mentimeter and PollEveryhere to enhance student learning. All students are expected to be proficient in using professional digital tools such as email, MS Suite applications and digital communication applications such as Zoom, MS Teams, Google docs etc. at a level appropriate for general professional practice and will be provided with opportunities to engage with these tools during their learning activities and communications with tutors and peers.

Employability: This module is essential in contributing towards employability in the legal industry and is a key contributor towards students developing and refining a general transferable professional skill. Legal research and writing is a fundamental function in the professional practice of the legal profession and the inherent skills that accumulate from strong grounding in research and communication is essential to building strong problem solving skills, abilities to seek and evaluate information and abilities to communicate effectively and accurately which are all valuable and essential in any professional environment. The module will prepare students to be confident in information gathering, analysis and evaluation and will empower them with the requisite skills to plan and present clear and structured written communications.

Global and cultural capabilities: This module supports the development of students’ global and cultural capabilities by strengthening their understanding of key research functions and methods that are commonly used in the legal profession globally. Students will be given opportunities to identify research questions and problems across a variety of culturally diverse and globally relevant factual circumstances and to develop feasible research strategies to identify feasible and culturally relevant solutions to those problems. Students will also be encouraged to exercise understanding and nuance in crafting effective communication that will be suitable for varying cultural communication norms across increasingly global professional environments.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: This module supports the development of resourcefulness and resilience in students by providing the foundational training that will allow them to take ownership in planning and conducting legal research independently. Students will also be encouraged to develop resourcefulness and resilience through being equipped with the skills to exercise judgement on the values of various research methods and sources and by being empowered to make independent decisions on the methods which best suit their desired outcomes. The module allows for students to exercise judgement and decision making within the safety of a guided learning environment and allows them to gain the confidence in applying those skills in a “higher stakes” professional environment. Students will also be expected to undertake self-assessment, engage in open-ended inquiry and to make and defend their own choices and to determine and manage suitable tasks in the completion of their assessment. The practical assessment will also build and utilize resourcefulness and resilience by requiring students to construct and present research outputs and communications simulative of professional practice and to adapt and apply their skills accordingly. The module assessments will also assist in building students’ confidence in their ability to make independent decisions and to reflect and take ownership of the results arising. The classroom formative exercises and feedback provide an opportunity for students to fail or make errors in a “safe” environment and to learn from such experience to building confidence and self-efficacy.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Professional Legal Practice (SQE Pathway) LLM 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.