Bridging the Skill Gap: The Professional Legal Practice Certificate at the Judicial and Legal Studies Institute


Asking the right questions, negotiating, and effectively resolving disputes are just a few of the many takeaways the graduating class of the Professional Legal Practice Certificate (PLPC) Course have had over the last six months. For the twenty-three law graduates, the training programme has bridged the gap between their university courses and the real-life applications of legal skills.

The Judicial & Legal Studies Institute (JLSI) was established in 2005 to provide specialised training for practising legal professionals in Bahrain.

With nearly 600 law graduates entering the field every year in the Kingdom, not more than twenty-three find their way into the programme after a rigorous selection process. Over the course of six months, they develop real-world skills, learn from industry practitioners, and access employment opportunities. The training comprises 15 modules designed and delivered by Bahrain’s top lawyers entirely in English. The modules cover topics such as legal ethics, corporate law, financial law, anti-money laundering, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation skills, and real estate law, among others.

“Since 2019, the institute has been addressing the lack of employability skills among fresh University graduates through the PLPC programme. The programme was conceived to empower law graduates into the industry on a solid footing, particularly in the areas of corporate, commercial, and financial law.”

Dr Khaled Serry Seyam, Chairman, JLSI.

“The PLPC is considered one of the leading legal training programs provided by JLSI in the Kingdom. It covers various modern legal topics and aims to qualify fresh graduates to enter the market, bearing in mind that the legal market has become very competitive and requires a high level of knowledge about the contemporary challenges in law such as technology, AI and blockchain, which were successfully covered in the PLPC.”

Dr Reyadh Seyadi, Director, JLSI

PLPC is a collaborative model driven by the Judicial & Legal Studies Institute in partnership with Bahrain-based law firms. The programme is supported by Hassan Radhi & Associates, JLSI’s Legal Training Partner for 2022-2023, as well as Al Tamimi & Co., Ali Al Aradi & Associates, Newton Legal Group, Zeenat Al Mansoori & Associates, DLA Piper, MENA Chambers, and independent trainers Dr Aseel Zimmo, and Ms Yasmin Sebah.

Gulf Insider spoke with these partners to find out more about the programme, the field, and their reasons to support the PLPC.

Alsayed Jaffer Mohammed, Partner / CEO, Hassan Radhi & Associates

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

The development of lawyers and the creation of qualified legal cadres with a high degree of professionalism is an essential part of our professional mission in our company to participate in making Bahrain a leader in the field of the legal sector in addition to our sincere belief in the role of community partnership to service this beloved country.

  • What advice do you have for budding legal professionals wanting to chart a career in this field?

One of the most important advice that we may give to this generation and to our young and promising colleagues in the profession is the ability to adhere to a high level of integrity, independence and high professionalism, be honest and trustworthy, continue learning & training and the constant pursuit of achieving the ultimate goal, which is nothing but justice.

Noor Al Rayes, Partner, Head of Litigation – Bahrain, Al Tamimi & Company

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

At Al Tamimi & Co, we believe in setting ourselves high professional and ethical standards and acting responsibly in our dealings with our clients, our people, and the wider community, as this makes us a better law firm, a better employer, and a better global citizen. As such, Al Tamimi & Co has been leading the CSR initiatives within Bahrain and the regional market, given our size, presence and practice coverage. This would include supporting the PLPC program to assist in developing the next generation of lawyers.

  • What went behind creating the modules for the program?

The modules focused on what we believe are the up-to-date developments and needs within the legal and commercial markets using our practical insight into the global and regional markets. The modules have also been an opportunity for us as practitioners to guide the new generation of lawyers on what would be expected from future employers and clients in terms of legal skills or knowledge.

Ali AlAradi, Founder & Senior Lawyer, Ali Al Aradi & Associates

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

To begin with, introducing Ali Al Aradi Attorneys & Legal Consultants, we are convinced that professionalism, effectiveness, and legal training are the core principles of the fundamental pillars of success. Meanwhile, sharing Legal experience with Junior/Senior associates is a major investment in the legal sector which embraces the exchange of legal skills and practice that enhances the confidentiality of the candidates and prepares them to apply the core skills in their legal career. Therefore, we assure you that the PLPC program stipulates such training skills.

As a lawyer, being accredited before the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court of the Kingdom of Bahrain, I believe that I have the responsibility to educate and train junior lawyers to tackle all the challenges during their practical life, and the PLPC aids my accountability towards such a mission.

  • What differentiates a program like the PLPC from other graduate training programs?

The PLPC course summarizes the academic courses into a practical scheme where it offers candidates the advantage to benefit from the technical and practical comprehensive legal knowledge of different areas of law. Furthermore, one of the goals of the PLPC program is to facilitate the fundamental skills that are required for each individual to be critically successful, and it reinforces the skills that each legal associate shall retain that other courses are not focusing on.

Mohamed Toorani, Partner and Head of Bahrain Office, DLA Piper

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

CSR and pro bono initiatives will always be at the heart of what we do at DLA Piper. Our firm is deeply committed to maintaining a leading pro bono practice. We employ a dedicated team of lawyers who are recognized as experts in their fields, and all lawyers at DLA Piper are supported and encouraged to undertake pro bono work.​​​​​​​​​​​​​ This is evident in our efforts to elevate access to law, whether through our “LAW” initiative to support female lawyers or our “New Perimeter” programme that allows support to law students entering the legal field in underdeveloped countries in an effort to better prepare the lawyers of the future. The PLPC programme reflects all the aims and values that we believe are essential for this. In all instances, we seek to make our work as high-impact and strategic as possible, and our pro bono practice is an integral part of our credentials as a firm.

  • What is next for the program and how will it continue to stay relevant for the graduates enrolling in it?

The PLPC has the potential to grow and develop into a course that matches the standards of the SQE or NY Bar Exam, particularly if developed into a mandatory professional qualification that is required to enter the legal profession. In light of this, DLA Piper hopes to work alongside the JLSI to help develop the curriculum to achieve this goal. We will continue to lend support to the development of the PLPC program.

Aamal Al Abbasi, Managing Partner, Newton Legal Group

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

Since our inception, Newton Legal has been committed to supporting and training young Bahraini lawyers. We believe that the PLPC program focuses on the practical aspects of the legal profession which is crucial to enable law graduates to thrive in a short period of time. We supported the PLPC program as we believe that the said program would have a positive impact on law graduates’ careers.

  • What are the key elements of the program that enhance the learning experience of the trainees?

The PLPC program is taught by key law practitioners which provides the trainees with an in-depth practical insight into the topics being taught; resulting in the trainees being better equipped to deliver the required legal services to their clients.

Aysha Abdulla Mutaywea, Partner at MENA Chambers Bahrain Law Firm

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

We support programs that are aimed at elevating the level of skills and knowledge of lawyers and young professionals. This program is designed very well and is very comprehensive. We are delighted and honoured to be a part of it and to support the growth and development of lawyers and the overall legal profession.

  • What are the different opportunities available to graduates of legal studies after going through the training program?

One of the things that the graduates will learn from this program is the available opportunities for lawyers. They will be armed with the knowledge and skills to explore the legal landscape in and outside Bahrain and secure a position that speaks to their skills and talents. It is important for young professionals to be aware of the various potential routes they can take in the legal field. This program will introduce them to the possibilities.

Amel AlAseeri, Partner, Zeenat Al Mansoori & Associates

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

Zeenat Al Mansoori & Associates is committed to the Bahrain community in which we work and live and principal among our contributions is supporting education and training opportunities for the legal profession. As such, we made an authentic commitment to the Judicial and Legal Studies Institute (JLSI) many years ago, whether it is by our Partners participating in training courses by the JLSI for Bahraini young lawyers or by playing a small supporting role in programs such as the PLPC. The PLPC has identified the needs of young Bahraini law graduates and trainees working in the legal profession and strategized a solution to help better equip them for the challenges ahead and we are grateful for the opportunity to support them.

  • How does PLPC equip young graduates with employability skills?

The PLPC is an innovative program in Bahrain as the range of topics it covers focuses on commercial, corporate, finance and alternative dispute resolution areas of practice as well as on the development of soft skills for lawyers, such as legal ethics, legal research, negotiation skills and critical thinking. The topics are delivered by partners in leading law firms and are designed to bridge the gap between academic study and professional practice. The fact that the PLPC is delivered in the English language is also critical for strengthening the skills of Bahraini graduates or trainees who studied law primarily in Arabic and supporting them in seeking employment opportunities in full practice firms or international firms or in-house.

Dr. Aseel Zimmo, Advisor to the Minister of Justice

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

The PLPC is an important program that develops the legal knowledge and skills that lawyers need in practice. It is an excellent bridge between university and legal practice. As a legal practitioner and educator, I consider it my duty to support young lawyers and help them develop their skills and knowledge in order to enable them to support their clients effectively and play a role in the development of the legal and judicial system.

  • In your opinion, what are the most important skills law graduates need to thrive in today’s professional environment?

Law graduates of the day need to be proficient in English as it is the language of commerce and almost all business transactions are conducted in English. In recognising that Bahrain introduced commercial courts which adjudicate cases in English. They need to be technically competent as all civil and commercial courts are paperless and soon it will be all courts in Bahrain. Lawyers also need to have negotiation skills which assist them when representing their clients as well as agreeing to their fees. I also believe that lawyers need to be lifelong learners as the law is constantly changing with the demands of technology, commerce and society. Of course, they also need to be problem solvers with excellent analytical, drafting and communication skills. 

Ms. Yasmin Sebah, Senior Lecturer in Law (Middlesex University) & Legal Consultant for the MENA Region

  • What made you support the PLPC program?

The PLPC program has been a work in progress for very long. Through my research with the JLSI over the years, it was clear that there was a gap in the market for such a program that contributes to the development of a robust and skilled legal profession in Bahrain. I strongly believe that by supporting the PLPC, individuals and organizations can help to promote the development of the legal profession that is capable of providing quality legal services to all members of society. The course provides practical training in legal practice skills such as drafting legal documents, negotiating, and advocacy. These skills are essential for individuals who want to succeed in the legal profession and can give graduates a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

  • What is the impact of a program like PLPC on graduates of legal studies?

In addition to the practical training in legal practice, the PLPC program supports graduates to become qualified and skilful lawyers in Bahrain. This professional qualification is essential for individuals who want to practice law in Bahrain and opens up career opportunities in the legal profession. The program also provides excellent opportunities to network with other legal professionals in Bahrain and internationally. This can be beneficial for individuals who want to build their professional network.

Overall,  I believe the PLPC program can have a significant impact on graduates’ personal development as it challenges individuals to think critically, develop problem-solving skills, and work effectively in teams, which can be beneficial for personal growth and development.

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