Sharpen your skills
In this Section:
- Try negotiating
- Journalism and Radio
- Master mooting
- Learn a language
- Start debating
- Strengthen study skills
Negotiating develops ...
- your ability to think on your feet
- act under pressure
- and work through disputes.
It also prepares you for an atmosphere, legal or otherwise, where you may need to get the best “deal” for yourself or your client, or settle a matter out of court.
You will improve your self-confidence, ability to think on your feet and learn how to be professional and flexible in high-pressured situations.
Leeds University Law Society
The Leeds University Law Society holds an annual Negotiation competition where pairs battle against each other over various scenarios, in numerous rounds, in order to reach the final. Students can then continue to compete at a regional, and if successful, the national final.
In a negotiation, there are two people in each team who work together on behalf of a client. They negotiate against another team who represent a rival client. Both teams receive ‘common facts’ but they also have ‘confidential facts’. Using both of these sets of facts, it is your job to try and get the ‘best deal’ for your client through a combination of argument and persuasion. Negotiating attempts to recreate the atmosphere between two sets of solicitors. Whilst they can sometimes compromise, at other times there will be tension.
You can enter the competition with a partner of your choice or you can opt to be placed in a partnership by the Negotiating Secretary. You will meet people from different years and have the opportunity to get to know your fellow students. Everyone who enters the negotiating competition will be invited to attend negotiating workshops and also the mooting/debating/negotiating social at the end of the year.
The society also runs negotiating workshops to help you prepare for the competition.
Representatives from a top law firm judge the final.
As a School of Law student, there are a number of opportunities for you to develop your media and journalism skills. These opportunities enhance your employability, help you to discover new skill sets, and may expand your understanding of your own career possibilities.
The Gryphon (formely known as the Leeds Student) is the award-winning student newspaper at the University of Leeds.
To write, report, review, design or photograph for the paper, you join the Leeds Student Society, one of the Leeds University Union societies. You can then become involved in as many sections of the newspaper as you like.
The Gryphon also currently runs a weekly “writer’s surgery” where you can get feedback or tips on writing for specific sections.
Leeds Student Radio FM
Leeds Student Radio FM is one of the most successful student radio stations in the UK. If you join the LSR FM team, you have the opportunity to be a presenter or a producer; you can write reviews, conduct interviews or read the news -- there's a wide choice of possibilities.
Mooting helps you to ...
- develop your advocacy and verbal skills
- think on your feet
- and present effective arguments.
A moot is a legal argument that takes place in a mock court room in front of a "judge". Two students represent the claimant and two students represent the defendant. The aim is to convince the judge that they must find in favour of your client, on the basis of legal precedent. Each student usually speaks for five to ten minutes and has to bring to "court" photocopies of the cases and statutes on which they're relying.
You'll have to research the law thoroughly -- using the library or online legal databases -- and plan your argument so that it is clear, concise and utterly convincing.
If you want to be an advocate, barrister, solicitor, politician or journalist, mooting will develop some of the oral skills you'll need and prove to a prospective employer that you really are keen. You'll also meet other students that are interested in developing the same skills.
At the University of Leeds, the Leeds University Law Society and a member of staff, currently Neil Stanley, organise mooting activities. Moots take place in the School of Law.
There are two competitions. One is for first years only, which usually starts after Christmas. The other is open to all non first year students, including post-graduates, and usually starts in October.
The competitions are not limited to Law students. The final of the senior years’ competition is judged by two or three barristers or solicitors and is a good way to meet members of the profession.
Students are also invited to represent the School of Law in external competitions such as the Jessup Moot Competition, the OUP Competition or the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) Annual Mooting Competition.
Learning foreign languages ...
- develops your communication skills
- helps you to interact with those that do not speak English
- prepares you for a global and diverse working environment
- enhances your employability.
From a few choice pleasantries to near-native fluency, you never know when your knowledge of a foreign language may be of benefit.
Not only does studying a foreign language help you to understand the diverse nature of verbal communication, it can also open your eyes to new ways of thinking and seeing the world around you.
Our Language Centre and exchange scheme
At the School of Law, you have access to a wide range of foreign language resources and specialist guidance through the University of Leeds Language Centre.
The Language Centre covers a full range of language training for current university students. You can study foreign languages on credit-bearing elective modules, and join the Language Exchange Scheme that puts language learners in contact with native speakers.
You can also use the self-access area that has audio-visual material, computer-assisted language-learning software, live and recorded satellite TV, and a wide selection of foreign language newspapers, magazines and TV programme guides. There are also language learning course books.
Debating is a great way to ...
- develop your thinking, reasoning and response skills within a formal environment
- improves self-confidence, speaking and listening skills
- and increase awareness of social and environmental issues.
The skills debating encourages can be vital in a range of professional careers and are integral to a lawyer's professional life.
Debating promotes communication and advocacy skills whilst encouraging critical and creative thinking. These are all key, desirable abilities that employers look for so they will be a valuable addition to your CV when applying for jobs. On top of that, debating is also about having fun and getting involved in activities outside your studies.
Leeds University Law Society
The Leeds University Law Society runs weekly debating workshops to help you develop your debating skills.
Debating involves two teams discussing a current motion that is a hot topic in the headlines, looking at both supporting and opposing arguments. It is a great way of meeting new people, as teamwork is vital.
You will get to work alongside others from various years, many of whom will also be studying the same course.
It is important for you to recognise that there is absolutely no requirement of previous debating experience in order for you to enter the competition, only a desire to get involved and try out something interesting and new! Indeed, there will be two workshops before the competition begins to help those of you that have never debated before, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the rules of debating, to practice key skills and also to meet the people that you will be working with. The workshops will take place at the School of Law.
The society also holds an annual debating competition. A representative from a sponsoring law firm judges the final.
As a student at the School of Law, you have access to a variety of resources to help you improve your academic study skills and organisational abilities.
Skills@library offers workshops, online tutorials, one-to-one drop-in sessions, and a range of online resources to help you develop your academic and organisational skills.
Areas covered through skills@library include improving maths, reading and writing skills, developing critical thinking, acquiring efficient note-taking and time management skills, and learning professional presentation skills, along with improving your exam technique. There are even audio-visual resources to help you improve your vocal presentation.