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Legal Systems & Skills

Learn, Develop, Apply

Fourth Edition

Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard
Consultant Editor Scott Slorach

11 June 2020

ISBN: 9780198834328

704 pages

In Stock

Price: £37.99

The only text that fully combines systems and skills, providing an academic and practical foundation for the study of law and beyond


The only text that fully combines coverage of legal systems with academic and professional legal skills. Coupled with the focus on employability and commercial awareness, Legal Systems & Skills is the essential contemporary toolkit for law students.

  • Legal Systems & Skills speaks directly to students: it is accessible, with an engaging writing style and a wide range of pedagogical features to help students to apply their knowledge practically
  • Supports students to become more confident with new concepts: clear, no-nonsense explanation is supported by annotated documents, real-life examples, flowcharts and diagrams that provide a visual representation of concepts and processes
  • Encourages students to think critically about the law: 'essential debate' boxes and 'practical exercises' throughout challenge students' thinking about law and the legal system; great for exam and interview preparation
  • Helps students understand how law operates in practice, and develops their professional skills and commercial awareness: the practical focus throughout is enhanced by features such as 'what the professionals say', which brings in voices from across the world of legal services and other professions
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Legal skills: each skill is now explained in the context of its development and application, first during legal studies, and then in legal practice
  • New skills of negotiation and mediation are included, with increased coverage of interviews and presentations
  • Analysis and guidance on each of the skills proposed to be assessed in SQE2, including case and matter analysis, persuasive oral communication, and negotiation
  • Downloadable flowcharts and diagrams for each of the key skills: - for academia, including how to write case summaries, answer problem questions, plan and write essays which succeed against assessment criteria, and communicate with confidence in class. - for practice, showing with consistency how to develop these academic skills into new practical skills such as taking effective notes, structure a successful interview and negotiation, present and conduct advocacy with influence.
  • New contemporary case studies and further recommended reading to develop commercial awareness
  • Consideration of the impact of technology and AI on business and legal services, and the increasing changes in the legal services environment
  • Additional material on professional conduct and ethics
  • Updated Brexit coverage

About the Author(s)

Judith Embley, Associate Professor, University of Law, Peter Goodchild, is Associate Professor and Programme & Student Lead for the GDL and MA Law at the University of Law (Bloomsbury), and Catherine Shephard, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University

Consultant Editor Scott Slorach, Professor and Director of Learning & Teaching, York Law School, University of York

Scott Slorach is a Professor and Director of Teaching & Learning at York Law School at the University of York. He holds Visiting roles at the University of Strathclyde and the College of Law Australia. A qualified solicitor with City experience, he was author of Corporate Finance (OUP) and is currently co-author of Business Law (OUP). Scott now specializes in the design, delivery and assessment of legal education at all levels; he has held various roles with the SRA, including membership of the SQE working group, Chief External Examiner for business law, LPC assessor, and training committee member. He was recently part of a team reporting to the Irish LSRA as part of its statutory review of legal practitioner education.

Judith Embley is Associate Professor at the University of Law. She qualified as a solicitor in 1980, practising in a Lincoln's Inn firm and began teaching law in 1999 as a Visiting Lecturer at Bellerby's College and then Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. She joined the University of Law in 2001, where she has taught contract, commercial and business financial law. She is now Module Lead for the LPC commercial law and practice module, the LLB 'companies, governance, tax and insolvency' module, and the LLB transactions module. She is joint author of Commercial and Intellectual Property Law and Practice and Legal Foundations, two of the University of Law's Legal Practice Guides.

Peter Goodchild is an Associate Professor at the University of Law. He read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St. Anne's College, Oxford, then attended the University of Law and qualified as a solicitor in 1997, into commercial practice. He joined the University of Law in 2000, where he has taught the English legal system, contract, tort, ethics, commercial, IP and business structures law. In addition to over nineteen years of teaching experience, he has wide experience of designing programmes and has been an author of texts on tort, commercial law, IP law and the English legal system.

Catherine Shephard is Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader of corporate practice, company law, and professional skills in practice at Manchester Law School. She read law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and practised as a solicitor in corporate finance. Catherine has extensive experience of designing, teaching, leading and assessing law, skills and management programmes across academia and practice. Catherine is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a qualified civil and commercial mediator, and a resilience trainer for the Social Mobility Business Partnership charity.

Table of Contents

    Part I Legal Systems
    1:Introduction to law
    2:Legal systems and sources of law
    3:The court system of England & Wales
    5:Case law
    6:Legal services and ethics
    Part II Legal Skills
    7:Reading cases and legislation
    9:Problem solving and case/matter analysis
    10:Persuasive oral communication and presentations
    11:Client interviews and meetings
    12:Negotiation and mediation
    13:Advocacy and mooting
    14:Writing and drafting
    Part III Employability and Commercial Awareness
    15:Making yourself more employable
    16:CVs, applications, and interviews
    17:Understanding clients: individuals and businesses
    18:Businesses and the business environment
    19:Essential economics and finance
    20:Law firms as businesses


"Students will actually enjoy reading this book. It is comprehensive in its coverage and addresses areas that most books in this field omit. …this book has got it right in terms of 'commercial awareness'." - Pamela Henderson, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

"An interesting and accessible introduction to the legal system and legal skills." - Claire Bessant, Associate Professor, Northumbria University School of Law

"Clear, accessible and easy to read. I particularly like the illustrations. The coverage of practical legal skills such as professional communication, writing and drafting is very welcome." - Joanne Urmston, Senior Lecturer, University of Chester

"Uses excellent diagrams to support text and aid understanding. It prepares students for all that they will do in the legal profession." - Fayokemi Olorundami, Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

"The text is clearly laid out and engaging for students with good use of diagrams and charts." - Vince Pescod, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield

"The book covers a good range of foundation knowledge every law student needs. It includes interdisciplinary content that is essential for law, including from politics, economics and general employability skills. " - Alicia Danielsson, Lecturer in Law, University of Bolton

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources
This fourth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is suppported by online resources.

  • The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks
  • This text is accompanied by online resources offering:
    - Self-test multiple choice questions
    - A library of web links that direct students to useful websites and relevant media
    - The authors' guidance to answering the practical exercises in each chapter
    - Sample interview questions to help students identify which areas of commercial awareness they need to focus on

    Download the student case study (pdf) for Legal Systems & Skills

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