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Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

Our Diploma is acknowledged by the profession as providing excellent, rigorous preparation for a legal career in Scotland. This recognition is reflected in exceptional employability prospects for our graduates, who go on to a wide range of professional roles within the law.

Start date: September

Full-time study duration: Nine months (two semesters)

Part-time-time study duration: 18 months over two years

Students in a seminar

As a practical, professionally-focused programme the Diploma satisfies the requirements of Professional Education and Training Stage 1 (PEAT 1) as required by the Law Society of Scotland. Our Diploma is much more than a qualification - it represents the commencement of your continuous professional development as a legal professional and serves as a bridge between your law degree and practice, providing a solid grounding in all of the key skills you need to enter the legal profession.

Alison, Diploma in Professional Legal Practice Graduate, 2021
The diploma at Edinburgh prepared me for life as a trainee and has provided me with the skills necessary to be entrusted with a lot of responsibilities from an early stage in my career.
Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, 2021

The Diploma teaching team have substantial experience as solicitors and advocates, meaning that you benefit from exceptionally practical teaching and learning based on real-world legal work.

Opportunities on the diploma include:

  • a unique chance to deliver a plea in mitigation before a Sheriff in Edinburgh Sheriff Court;
  • participation in a team presentation exercise, working collaboratively to research and present on a legal technology product or idea; and
  • hands-on experience through working with our Free Legal Advice Centre - finalist in the Scottish Legal Awards 2020 (Community Contribution Award); and
  • a variety of competitions to further develop the professional skills which are central to the Diploma: a Mediation Competition, a Client Consultation Competition and a Negotiation Competition. In addition, the Edinburgh University Mooting Society runs a series of mooting competitions which Diploma students are welcome to participate in.

By providing these opportunities, along with a broader range of support from our University careers team, we are able to support your career ambitions.

Though the programme can be challenging, with a high number of contact hours each week, at Edinburgh Law School you will be supported by a strong community, in a dedicated teaching space, providing you with a strong foundation upon which to make a smooth transition into practice.

You will be studying in the heart of Scotland’s capital city and financial and legal centre, only a few minutes from the Sheriff Court, the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, as well as the Scottish Parliament. As a Diploma student at Edinburgh Law School you will also form connections and friendships which will provide an invaluable network when you join the profession.

After completing the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice most of our graduates go onto start their traineeship. The traineeship is the 2nd part of the Law Society of Scotland's Professional Education and Training (PEAT) programme.

The traineeship takes two years in which you will complete your workplace training under the supervision of a Scottish-qualified solicitor. During the traineeship you will be required to fulfil certain obligations to demonstrate that you are ready to qualify as a solicitor.

Visit the Law Society of Scotland's website to find out more about the traineeship


Edinburgh Law School works closely with a number of leading law firms through membership of the Programme for the Future of the Law and the Legal Profession to provide skills development and career opportunities for Edinburgh Law School students. 

Find out more about these career opportunities

Graduate destinations

  • 95% of those available and who responded to the survey were working or studying 6 months after completing the programme.
  • Of those, 95% were in highly skilled employment or further study.
  • Of those working, 91% were in highly skilled employment.

The definition of highly skilled employment is any occupation within categories 1-3 of the Standard Occupational Classification, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The category headings are: 1. Managers, directors and senior officials; 2. Professional occupations; 3. Associate professionals and technical occupations. Further information on categories can be found on the ONS website.

Visit the ONS website

Further support from the university can be found on our Careers Service website.

Visit the Careers Service website

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice please don't hesitate to contact us.