Transition years look into law with The Bar of Ireland in a new online model
The Bar of Ireland’s annual Look into Law TY Programme kicks off this week with a schedule of recorded webcasts and content aimed at giving students nationwide a first-hand look at the life of a barrister and at how the justice system works.
Now in its sixth year, the programme usually has a maximum of 100 participants (with a minimum of 20% of places reserved for students from DEIS schools) who attend a weeklong of activities in Dublin, but this year because of the Covid-19 travel and social distancing restrictions it will be run entirely online and over the course of five weeks.
The virtual and accessible nature of programme has meant that this year will see a significant increase in participants, with some 10,000 students registered to participate from 320 schools across 26 counties in Ireland. Over 50 of schools participating are DEIS schools.
Each week a new pre-recorded module will be shared with teachers and students. These will begin with an introductory Faces of the Bar, where a selection of barristers will share their career highlights and experience with students, along with talks delivered by the judiciary, the Prison Service and other justice agencies.
The five modules are:
- Beginning of a barrister’s career
- Criminal Law
- Civil Law
- The media in the legal context
- Preparing for trial
Opening the programme will be chair of the Council of the Bar of Ireland Ms Maura McNally SC. As the first woman to hold the position in four decades, students and teachers alike will no doubt be looking forward to her address.
Ahead of the programme commencing, she said: “The core aim of our Look into Law Programme is that students understand the mechanics of law, but also to experience the human face and realities of those working in the field.
"The programme is always oversubscribed, so while we are sorry to not be in a position to welcome the students to Dublin like we usually do, the silver lining of the situation is that we are able to reach more students with our online version. We are looking forward to virtually welcoming students, who are always superb participants of the programme.
"The five modules provide students with a real sense of the Irish legal landscape and hopefully inspire some students to pursue a career at the Bar.”
Ms Katherine McVeigh BL and Ms Emily Gibson BL have helped to design the programme for the 10,000 students and their teachers.
Ms Katherine McVeigh BL said: “Throughout the course of the programme, students will have the opportunity to hear from some of the most distinguished and accomplished legal professionals in Ireland including the Chief Justice and Court Presidents.
"The law forms an intrinsic part of our everyday lives and the aim of our programme is to give students from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of law, ranging from how to forge a legal career and what happens at trial, right through to the different types of law and the importance of each.”
Teachers and students will receive at least two hours of module material each Monday morning comprising of recorded webcasts, external links, quizzes and exercise and research material.
The programme is hosted on a secure platform by The Bar of Ireland, and there are options for students to work on creative and research projects during the Programme.
Ahead of launching the programme, The Bar of Ireland surveyed thousands of participating students on their views and opinions on varying areas such as education, freedom of movement and how Covid has impacted on them.
The findings from the survey will be revealed during The Bar of Ireland’s Justice Week 2021 which runs from March 1 to 5, with a focus on the impact that Covid-19 has had on citizens’ rights and the administration of justice.