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Professional legal education in Scotland

Maharg, Paul (2004) Professional legal education in Scotland. Georgia University State Law Review, 20. pp. 947-976. ISSN 8755-6847

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Scotland is a small jurisdiction. With a legal profession of approximately 9000 solicitors and over 450 practicing advocates serving a population of around 5 million, our legal bar is smaller in size than the legal bar of many states in the United States.1 Our solutions to problems of professional education are appropriate to our jurisdictional size, our character, and our history. However, one theme of this Article is that common educational issues exist among jurisdictions despite differences in size or in legal structure. Another theme deals with a matter of particular concern in Scotland, namely the problem of educating for practice, and in particular creating the most effective forms of program and curriculum design for training and education at the professional stage. Part I of this Article summarizes the current Scottish professional legal education program, set in the context of the legal education and the legal profession generally. Part II illustrates some aspects of the professional education program with reference to a case study, the Diploma in Legal Practice at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. Finally, this Article outlines some of the issues or themes from the Scottish experience that might be applicable to alternatives to the United States' Bar Exam.