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A return to face-to-face teaching: Hybrid learning is here to stay

A return to face-to-face teaching: Hybrid learning is here to stay

Neide Lemos


With universities across the UK forced to transition to virtual learning last year due to the pandemic, I consider how the integration of online learning affected the development of legal education and the future lawyer. 

It's no surprise that law schools are following suit and continuing with online and hybrid ways of learning. Approaching the end of stage 1 on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) has made me reflect on what worked and what hasn't, as well as how I believe it's shaped me in practice. Although being on campus is beneficial for collaboration and networking, online learning certainly has its benefits. It became clear that law school would work differently following the announcement of law firm's hybrid working options. Many law schools are introducing online-only learning, hybrid learning and face-to-face learning. 

Virtual communication and online tools 

Online and hybrid learning on the LPC is an insight into life in practice – collaborations and discussions can take place over online platforms, with some staff members based in the office and others elsewhere. Take this time to familiarise yourself with the latest digital tools and online communication platforms such as Teams. Working from home doesn't mean your communication has to suffer. Use the opportunities available to develop your communication, be proactive and reach out to others. The ability to build relationships as a junior lawyer is key for your future career. These platforms will assist in weekly review meetings both with your tutors, as well as with your supervisors in practice. They are at the forefront of ensuring you're connected with your colleagues. 

A new way of learning, a new way to practise

A big worry for law students is that they feel online law school will not provide them with the same benefits as it would if they were attending classes face to face. While that may be true on some levels, the implementation of this new way of learning, shares similarities to life in practice. 

Law school qualifications will still enable you to gain a respected qualification and path to your chosen route. The necessity of attracting lawyers and future lawyers from different backgrounds has influenced the programmes that law schools offer and the way they are offered. Online learning allows you to get involved in classes that may have been unavailable at your chosen campus. In practice, this can translate to engaging in new areas of law with lawyers from multiple jurisdictions. 

Accessibility and preparation

Studying virtually takes more effort, even in the absence of a commute. Access to law school improves by the reduced commuting hours. As such, this gives more time to prepare for classes and consolidate learning. Performance improvements are undoubtedly related to preparation and consolidation. Rather than fear of virtual learning and falling behind, the extra preparation time allows you to reflect and improve directly after each class. Translating this into practise helps to improve your performance following reviews, presentations and meetings.

Online learning is a real test of flexibility. Firms and teaching roles are requesting an open mind and flexibility to work. This comes with being tech-savvy and being able to reach colleagues and clients from across the globe. Not being on campus offers more flexibility in your working day to prepare, unwind and reflect.