Legal and Professional Skills Research (LEAPS) Group
The Legal and Professional Skills (LEAPS) group focuses on how to integrate research into academic learning and legal practice. The group is an inclusive collegiate group that provides support to promote and enhance legal education at Northumbria and beyond based on its pioneering research. The group builds on the work of the Clinical Legal Education Research group and acts as a focus point for activity. A varied programme of support for conference attendance, writing retreats and collaboration have created an innovative environment and a strong platform for growth.
LEAPS is committed to informing and contributing to developments in teaching and learning in the Law School and, in particular, to fostering a research-rich teaching and learning environment for students and staff alike. The Law School's existing clinical programmes regularly involve students engaging in experiential learning in the community and its focus on enquiry-based learning methods enables the group’s research to both draw on, and contribute to, new innovative learning initiatives.
There is a well-established history of research into clinical legal education in the Law School which publishes the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education and hosts an annual international conference. Members of LEAPS are on editorial boards of legal education journals, hold prestigious legal education roles with key external stakeholders and are regularly quoted in the mainstream news in relation to legal education matters.
Research carried out by LEAPS has had a significant impact and has influenced the Higher Education sector. In 2019, Professor Chris Ashford carried out the QAA Law benchmark Statement which defines the academic standards that can be expected of UK law graduates.
Funding success has driven high-quality research events and outputs. For example, Northumbria hosted an international seminar funded by the Modern Law Review, Revisiting Pressing Problems in the Law: What is the Law School For and a project in collaboration with Cumbria University explored the evolving technological trends in legal practice.
In 2018, researchers led the Family Justice Project which worked with a BAME women’s organisation to provide free community legal support. The project was awarded ‘best pro bono activity’ at the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2018.
No, this infrastructure does not provide funding.
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