COVID-19: Reformulating how the Law Society of Ireland and EFC support trainee solicitors

13 July 2020

Eugene F Collins prides itself on our people, teamwork and communication. For this reason, adapting to the challenges brought by COVID-19 has been a relatively smooth process.

Trainee solicitor Tara O’Donoghue recently completed the first online Professional Practice Course II (PPCII) delivered by the Law Society of Ireland. In a recent interview with the Law Society Gazette she discussed her experience of the move to online, highlighting in particular the focus on teamwork and communication completing their last exams in an online setting. The following is an extract from the interview.

“In response to COVID-19, and the commitment to trainee solicitor education, e-lectures and workshops were pre-recorded, allowing us to watch lectures at our own pace and to re-watch where necessary. This was complemented with live tutorial sessions via Zoom and a number of guest speakers who discussed the importance of adapting, communication and engaging with fellow classmates and peers.

Training was provided for those unfamiliar with technology and Zoom training sessions were provided for tutorials, which reduced the potential for isolation and lack of structure which would generally be available during educational programmes. We were given instruction on how to use note-taking facilities and navigational controls for all lectures together with personalised viewing options.

The face to face tuition generally provided by the Law Society was effectively replaced by engaged, hands-on and experienced tutors, who were determined to maximise the time given to all trainees. The Society’s IT department were always available to offer support which ensured that any concerns were addressed immediately. For the first time, exams were held online, with the head of the Law School, heads of department and IT on hand to ensure all went smoothly. The Law Society of Ireland also gave trainees the opportunity to participate in a Certificate in Technology, which was also delivered online, which gave a wider understanding of the importance of technology, including online privacy and data protection, in the legal sector going forward.

As we look to gradually move back to the office over a phased period and enter our final rotation, the training and experience which the Law Society of Ireland provided alongside the support of Eugene F Collins has proved beneficial. For example, all department meetings are held online, staff are encouraged to operate a paperless policy where possible and the importance of regular communication is highlighted in order to ensure consistent service for our clients.”

Due to COVID-19, the Law Society intend PPCI to be held online from September 2020 to March 2021 with some onsite attendance required, only where necessary.

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