Mini-devilling scheme to be launched

28 Mar

Advocate Amber Galbraith and her "shadow" Antonia Welsh



A NEW link-up between the Faculty and Strathclyde University will give students a chance to learn about life as an advocate, from the inside.

A programme of “mini-devilling” is being set up, which will allow Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP) students to spend four hours a week with a designated counsel, watching in and out of court to see how a career at the Bar might suit them.

The scheme has evolved from a chance conversation at a social event between Antonia Welsh, who is studying for her DPLP at Strathclyde, and the Faculty’s Amber Galbraith.

“I am interested in going to the Bar later in my career and wanted a better understanding of how I might go about achieving my goal. Amber very kindly agreed to help,” said Ms Welsh.

Strathclyde University offers students a Work Based Learning elective in its course, and for one day a week over three months, Ms Welsh shadowed Ms Galbraith, mainly, and also another advocate, Malcolm McGregor.

“My experience shadowing counsel has been extremely insightful. I feel I have been very lucky to have been given this opportunity,” added Ms Welsh.

She contacted the Dean of Faculty, Gordon Jackson, QC, with an idea of putting shadowing on a more formal basis, and he was convinced it should become part of the Faculty’s drive to increase accessibility to the Bar.

“I feel that the Bar is not on many students’ radars and I am really excited that the Faculty and the University are starting the mini-devilling programme. I would encourage other students to consider it. Not only do you get a feel for life at the Bar but I have also gained a number of very important skills, and I hope this opportunity will support me as a trainee in the future,” said Ms Welsh.

Devilling is the full-time, intense nine-month training which trainee advocates undergo before being admitted to the Faculty. Hence the term “mini-devilling” for the new scheme. The Faculty is appointing a pool of advocates to act as mini devilmasters or devilmistresses, and it is intended to start the three-month programme in January 2019. In future, it might be expanded to other universities.

Mr Jackson said: “We are delighted to team up with Strathclyde University in this way. The Faculty has a strong belief in being accessible to all, and I’m sure the mini-devilling programme will prove its worth. In similar vein, we were pleased to announce recently that, through contributions from members, we will be offering more scholarships to devils, to help ease any financial difficulties during the devilling process.”

Charles Hennessy, Director of the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at Strathclyde University, said: “We are delighted to join with the Faculty of Advocates in this initiative, which is a perfect fit with our existing Work Based Learning elective.  A placement with an advocate will enable our students to learn in a very practical way by absorbing and reflecting on that experience, with the bonus of earning academic credits towards their Diploma qualification by taking part in the scheme.  Those who are contemplating a career at the Bar will also obtain a valuable introduction to the work of an advocate and the practice of litigation.”