If you are studying ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course or a Single Subject Foundation course, you will need to complete practical assessments in respect of your coursework. These assessments are designed to help you develop the practical skills of a Legal Secretary in various legal departments. Students need to successfully complete their practical assessments to gain a qualification. You will see that some of the assessments are straightforward, whilst others may need extra attention. Luckily for our students, our Course Assessor, Maria Richards, is always on hand to offer help and guidance whenever it is needed.
We recently asked Maria what the common mistakes are when she marks students’ coursework. By sharing these, we hope that you can avoid making these errors.
Paragraph spacing and line spacing
You need to check that the spacing before and after each paragraph is set to 0pt in MS Word. You can do this by right-clicking on the page. Then click Paragraph, choose the Indents and Spacing tab and ensure it is set to 0 pt for before and after. Sometimes it is defaulted to 6 pt or 10 pt before and after. This means that when you press the return key twice at the end of a paragraph the gap will be too large and you will lose marks for incorrect formatting. Also ensure that it is set to single line spacing or the correct spacing required for the specific document you are working on.
Line spacing in deeds
Following on from point 1, students do not always realise that the format for a deed differs from other documents. This is explained in the course material and assessment instructions but is sometimes overlooked. So please remember to read the instructions carefully and use 1.5 line spacing, not single or double, for deeds. It is also important to remember that a draft deed is printed single-sided and engrossed deeds are printed double-sided.
Missing off “Your Ref” on letters
Most firms will have this pre-printed on their letterhead or as part of their template and it should always show even if the other party doesn’t have a reference or you don’t know it yet (for example, if you are sending the first correspondence). There is an example of a letter included in your course material so you can see exactly how a standard letter is set out. All letters should follow this format. So if you are unsure, always check the example.
The Lease table
Within the Land Law and Conveyancing coursework, you will be asked to complete an assessment regarding a Lease table. You must leave the small print in the same format as downloaded. An example is included in the course material if you are unsure as to how this should look.
OS1 and OS2 forms
Also in the Land Law and Conveyancing unit, you will find the OS1 and OS2 forms. Students are often caught out when putting in the registered proprietor. Please keep in mind that this is the seller, and the applicant should be the purchaser’s lender (if there is one).
When completing the Family Law assessments, students are asked to create a Divorce Petition. This document includes information about the applicant and the respondent. You will need to fill out details about their Marriage Certificate. When you do this, remember that the wife’s name on the Marriage Certificate should be her maiden name rather than her married name.
Last but by no means least, a sure way to lose marks that can easily be avoided is to check your punctuation. It is all too common for students to add in full stops and commas where they aren’t required; for example, in salutations, in names and when signing off on correspondence. Make sure that you follow the instructions you are given carefully.
So, now you know the common mistakes that occur when students submit their portfolios. Please remember, if you need any help with your coursework, you can contact Maria using the details given to you upon enrolment.