Pescod, Vince and Seagreaves, Emma (2008) E Learning for legal professionals in the ‘virtual’ workplace: adapting the Penfield system. In: University of Huddersfield Teaching & Learning Conference, Enhancing Learning: Technology by Design, 15th September 2008, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

The software originally developed by the School of Human and Health Sciences is being redesigned for the Huddersfield University Law School to establish Penfield Virtual Solicitors Firm, with funding obtained from the Teaching & Learning Fund.

Too many students leave University with little idea of what the workplace is really like. This technology is being used to develop a virtual learning environment for law students to learn what it means to manage a “real” legal case.


 The software incorporates a series of ‘real life’ case studies provided by the Law School’s Partners in Law;
 In the classroom, students are taught using interactive methods, within the progression of transactional case studies;
 With Penfield, students will progress a legal case in a virtual environment over a period of time, additional to or as an alternative to traditional classroom methods;
 They advise the client; go to court; draft legal documents; negotiate on the client’s behalf and, hopefully, avoid a negligence claim!
 Information is set to timed release for prior consultation by students before a teaching session or after the students have completed and submitted a virtual learning activity.

Learning Benefit to Students

 Gain valuable relevant context based learning – real case studies prepare them for professional life;
 Enculturalisation – students understand legal jargon before they get into practice;
 Encourages student engagement and participation;
 Equips them with the skills necessary for practice;
 Works in partnership with “work based learning”.

Teaching Benefit to Tutors

 Case study tasks can be regularly changed to suit teaching requirements;
 Greater student engagement increases retention and progression;
 Greater flexibility to design innovative e-learning courses within the Law School;
 Increases accessibility into the legal profession.

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