Manchester Law School makes module on Excel, PowerPoint and Word compulsory on LLB

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First to do so

Manchester Law School has become what is believed to be the first university to make digital skills in areas such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word, a core requirement of students’ undergraduate law degrees.

The module ‘Digital Skills for Lawyers’, developed in partnership with US tech innovators ProCertas, has been designed by the law school’s strategic lead for education, Dr Kryss Macleod, and encompasses three key elements.

The first element develops and tests students on their proficiency in Word Contract and Word Brief (using Microsoft Word’s features for contracts and other legal documents) as well as Excel and PowerPoint within a law context.

The second requires students to engage with a range of legal technology, such as blockchain, to examine and critique the impact of these tools in the sector. Ethical issues are also a key focus, in terms of professional codes of conduct, and also the wider ethical considerations that emanate from the uses of technologies in legal services. Finally, the module requires that the students reflect and engage with their own professional development within this wider context.

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Professor Andrew Francis, dean of the law school, said:

“The deregulation of undergraduate legal education has meant that law schools, such as ours, have the flexibility to take up the opportunity to work closely with different providers and businesses to develop exciting responses that will position students effectively to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing legal services market.”

Though this is understood to be the first example where a digital skills course has been made a core requirement on an LLB, similar tech-savvy offerings have been doing the rounds for a number of years now.

In 2019, BPP University Law School partnered with digital legal services platform HighIQ to teach legal tech skills to its aspiring lawyers. Meanwhile, magic circle firm Linklaters joined forces with Swansea University to deliver six online legal tech modules to its trainees and future lawyers.

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2nd Yr Student

Do trainees/associates actually use Excel in practice??



You would be surprised.

In my trainee days, I had a few tech illiterate partners think oh excel has filtering functionality, I am a genius, this will be sooo functiooooonal, lets use that to cram in all of this text… not knowing it gets hidden behind cells after a certain number of characters. You tell them this and they still get frustrated with the end product.

Other than that it gets used sometimes for big class action claims for claimants details etc.



You haven’t actually answered the original commenters question…

You’ve just waffled on about the partners not understanding Excel during your time as a trainee?



Yes, I’m a 4-year qualified Associate and I use Excel most days.



We (litigation associates) use Excel for:

1. Disclosure exercises, to track the progress of first level and second level reviewers, and ensure that we have adequate resources (if not, we can temporarily hire external doc reviewers).

2. Work In Progress (WIP) reports to clients who want weekly updates on current spend. The clients in turn use that data for analysis themselves, so need it in excel rather than any other format.

3. Accounting data which is on Relativity as part of the evidence in dispute. Relevant to both causation and quantum.

Many people’s IT skills are awful. I think this scheme is a good idea.


current trainee

Yes! all the time. I’ve used excel in my litigation seat (cost assessments) and property seat (rent apportionments and completion statements)



Good point – this too. Summary assessments are on an Excel template.


A Barrister you've instructed

For the love of god, please teach them how to make and use PDFs properly. If I receive another PDF bundle produced by printing and re-scanning documents, I will scream.


Random passer by

What’s wrong with that? It means the document cannot be amended.


A barrister you might have instructed

It has nothing to do with wanting to amend the papers.

All PDFs should be OCR Readable/searchable- in this day and age particularly given that it only requires the pressing of one button on Adobe DC.

Further, it’s actually mandatory per PD and guidance for eBundles to be OCR Ready, indexed and hyperlinked. You may as well start as you mean to go on.

Further, the non-OCR Bundles OP was talking about (the scream inducing ones) are terrible also because you can’t properly use them or get full functionality with any other IT software like PDF Expert, Liquid Text (which is a must for XX in my view.


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