Law Society of Ireland’s Law School recognised as an Apple Distinguished School for third time

Law Society became first professional educator in Europe to achieve this in 2016.

The Law Society of Ireland’s Law School has been recognised as an Apple Distinguished School for the third time, one of only six educational institutions in Ireland to achieve this status to date. As an Apple Distinguished School for 2021-2024, the Law School is recognised as a centre of innovation, leadership and educational excellence that demonstrates a vision for learning with technology.

The Law Society’s Law School embarked on a journey to innovate legal education with the iPad Programme in 2013. In 2016, the Law Society became the first professional educator in Europe to receive the internationally acclaimed Apple Distinguished School award.

Director of Education at the Law Society of Ireland, T P Kennedy said, “The Law Society’s Law School is proud to be recognised as an Apple Distinguished School for the third time since 2016. This internationally acclaimed achievement is the culmination of an almost decade-long drive to innovate the way we deliver best-in-class legal education to future generations of solicitors in Ireland.”

Transforming legal education

Trainee solicitors receive an iPad when they begin their two-year full-time professional training programme, Professional Practice Course (PPC), alongside practical training in the use of Apple technology. Law School faculty receive regular training to stay up to date with new developments.

“Integration of Apple products and apps into every aspect of the student experience has allowed us to adapt to the changing nature of education pre-Covid and beyond. Throughout the pandemic, our trainee solicitors always have a single device through which they can participate in group tutorials, deliver presentations, view video lectures, and complete exams securely,” explained Mr Kennedy.

“Since 2019, the PPC Hybrid has transformed the way aspiring solicitors can undertake their training. Given its flexible blended learning design with both online and occasional on campus sessions, PPC Hybrid is popular with those living outside of Dublin. This course advances the Law Society’s priority of improving diversity among trainee solicitors and the profession as a whole. Without question, the iPad has been instrumental to its success.”

“Trainee solicitors have access to a consistent platform whether they are learning in person or remotely. Our strategic use of technology does more than mimic standard lecture delivery. We developed a programme that promotes engagement and community by enabling trainee solicitors to have an active viewing experience. Through this, we hope to inspire our trainees with skills required by solicitors practising in the 21st century including communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and digital skills,” he said.

Building wellbeing through technology

The Law Society of Ireland is committed to promoting the development of mental health and wellbeing skills for solicitors from ‘cradle to grave’ by offering an innovative psychological programme, unique to Irish legal training, which begins on day one of the Professional Practice Course. The Shrink Me programme is accompanied by free Time Concentrated Therapy, a form of short-term therapy developed for the Law School that supports trainees as they navigate the complexity of professional training, empowering them to ‘live, love and work’ to their best of their ability. Both are designed to prepare trainees for the demands of working as a solicitor and to equip them with the psychological and emotional resilience required to practice safely into the future.

“At an early stage of the pandemic, our team of Student Counsellors were upskilled to provide safe and confidential online Time Concentrated Therapy via Zoom on their personal iPads. Approximately 2,500 virtual counselling sessions were taken up since the pandemic began, indicating the benefits of technology for protecting mental health and wellbeing. A new live online series of wellbeing talks was also produced as part of our Shrink Me psychological training module to keep students engaged through this challenging time,” explained Mr Kennedy.

Future progress

“The Apple Distinguished School award acknowledges the Law Society’s hard work to develop and modernise solicitor training in Ireland. In addition to the need to possess an acute understanding of the law and its application, modern solicitors must also be equipped with the digital skills necessary to serve clients in a globalised Ireland. Our iPad Programme helps achieve this and more.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way education is delivered. The Law Society of Ireland’s Law School is at the forefront of this change,” Mr Kennedy said.

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