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Plenary speaker profiles

Assistant Professor Tanya Atwill

Director, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Bond University

Tanya is the Director of the Bond University Faculty of Law GDLP (PLT) Program.Tanya completed her LLB at the Queensland University of Technology in 1989 and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1991.She joined the GDLP team at Bond University in 2011 and has teaching experience in Civil Litigation Practice, Ethics and Professional Practice and Wills and Estate Administration. Show more

Director, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Bond University

Tanya is the Director of the Bond University Faculty of Law GDLP (PLT) Program.Tanya completed her LLB at the Queensland University of Technology in 1989 and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1991.She joined the GDLP team at Bond University in 2011 and has teaching experience in Civil Litigation Practice, Ethics and Professional Practice and Wills and Estate Administration. She has recently lead the development and launch of the GDLP using a suite of high quality and practical online learning resources.

Tanya has presented numerous papers including at the Wellness for Law Network in Melbourne in 2019 at the Queensland Law Society Symposium on the Gold Coast in June 2019 and at Bond University for Office of Learning and Teaching Symposiums.

Tanya also consults to private law firms, predominantly in the area of civil litigation and wills and estate administration and litigation.Tanya is a member of the Queensland Law Society, Gold Coast District Law Society and Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc. Show less

Emeritus Professor Sandford Clark

Former Chair, Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC)

Professor Clark is a former Counsel at Ashurst and an Emeritus Professor at The University of Melbourne. He became a member of Law Admissions Consultative Committee in 1984 and served as its Chairman from 2006-2019, and in that role had a significant impact upon the regulation of legal education in Australia. He was the Inaugural Chair of the Admissions Committee of the Legal Services Council.

Ann-Maree David

Executive Director, College of Law

Ann-Maree has worked within the Queensland legal profession for more than 30 years, in public and corporate sector roles and in private practice as a solicitor. She is passionate about life-long learning and has devoted much of her career to the formal education and ongoing professional development of all who work in the legal arena.

Ann-Maree has led the Queensland Law Society’s professional development program, managing the delivery of continuing legal education to a diverse demographic from para-legals and trainees to accredited specialists across the State. Show more

Executive Director, College of Law

Ann-Maree has worked within the Queensland legal profession for more than 30 years, in public and corporate sector roles and in private practice as a solicitor. She is passionate about life-long learning and has devoted much of her career to the formal education and ongoing professional development of all who work in the legal arena.

Ann-Maree has led the Queensland Law Society’s professional development program, managing the delivery of continuing legal education to a diverse demographic from para-legals and trainees to accredited specialists across the State. In 2003 she established the Queensland campus of the Australian College of Law and continue to direct its operations as they expand into new business lines.

Ann-Maree pursues diverse professional interests including fostering new generations of lawyers; highlighting and overcoming barriers to career progression in law faced by women and minority groups; and contributing to programs to build resilience among practising lawyers. Her current research interests include the evolving professional identity of lawyers across the legal career spectrum and the future of legal work.

Ann-Maree has served previously as President of Australian Women Lawyers and Vice President of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland. She is a  Foundation Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council and Chair of the Queensland Law Society's Equity and Diversity Committee, all valuable platforms from which to model leadership among the profession in order to influence change.

Ann-Maree has worked with young guns who have ascended the ranks to become the leaders of our profession. She has been privileged to work alongside some of the most generous individuals – senior practitioners, academics and judges – who have given their time and energy freely to develop others in the profession. That generosity of spirit is a hallmark of our profession. It makes Ann-Maree proud to call herself a lawyer. Show less

Associate Professor Kate Galloway

Griffith University; Editor-in-Chief, Legal Education Review

Kate Galloway is Associate Professor of Law at Griffith University, formerly Associate Professor of law at Bond University and holds an adjunct position at the University of Western Australia. Kate specialises in land law including Indigenous tenures, and property rights in resources and their effect on the environment.

Professor Lesley Hitchens

Dean, Faculty of Law, UTS; Chair, Council of Australasian Law Deans

Professor Lesley Hitchens has been a professor of law at University of Technology Sydney since 2008, and, since 2013, Dean of the Faculty of Law.

She is a member of the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board and the Legal Services Council Admissions Committee. In 2015 was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.  Professor Hitchens is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Show more

Dean, Faculty of Law, UTS; Chair, Council of Australasian Law Deans

Professor Lesley Hitchens has been a professor of law at University of Technology Sydney since 2008, and, since 2013, Dean of the Faculty of Law.

She is a member of the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board and the Legal Services Council Admissions Committee. In 2015 was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.  Professor Hitchens is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to commencing her academic career, she practised as a commercial lawyer for seven years, first in Sydney with Allens and later with Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills) in London. Professor Hitchens' research focus area is in media and communications law and regulation. Show less

Dr Colin James

ANU College of Law

Dr Colin James has been a solicitor since 1989 and an academic and researcher since 2001. He has worked in clinical legal education at Murdoch University, the University of Newcastle and is currently at the ANU College of Law. Colin has qualifications in law, history and psychology and presents at many national and international conferences. His publications contribute to many fields associated with legal practice including legal education, legal history, and the well-being of lawyers, law students and law teachers. Show more

ANU College of Law

Dr Colin James has been a solicitor since 1989 and an academic and researcher since 2001. He has worked in clinical legal education at Murdoch University, the University of Newcastle and is currently at the ANU College of Law. Colin has qualifications in law, history and psychology and presents at many national and international conferences. His publications contribute to many fields associated with legal practice including legal education, legal history, and the well-being of lawyers, law students and law teachers. He has supervised PhDs and DBAs on topics ranging from the wellbeing of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, industrial ethics and worker safety practices, and first-responders’ powers of detention in mental health cases.

Colin led a national study on how experienced lawyers respond to serious domestic violence. In another team he investigated academic integrity policies and practices in Australian universities. Colin’s chapter argues how motivating academic integrity with law students helps develop a positive professional identity. He is a contributing editor (with Associate Professor Rachael Field and James Duffy) of ‘Promoting Law Student and Lawyer Well-Being in Australia and Beyond’ and his research includes the emotional intelligence of law graduates and students on clinical placement, and strategies for thriving in legal education and practice focusing on resilience, habits and psychological strengths.

As a lawyer Colin supervised in general community law and practiced mostly in family law and domestic violence. He chairs the management committee of the Hunter Community Legal Centre, which services Newcastle and the Hunter Valley with a population of almost a million people, and for over twelve years he arranged and convened regular PLE seminars for the Newcastle Law Society. Recently he published a review of research on the move towards trauma-informed legal practice (on which he is currently drafting a book) and has published several chapters (with Rachael Field and Caroline Strevens) on international comparisons of law teacher wellbeing in an ongoing empirical study. Show less

Professor Sally Kift PFHEA FAAL GAICD

President, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows; former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), James Cook University

Sally Kift is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and elected President of the Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows (ALTF). From 2012-2017, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University (JCU). Prior to JCU, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where she also served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001-2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Show more

President, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows; former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), James Cook University

Sally Kift is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and elected President of the Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows (ALTF). From 2012-2017, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University (JCU). Prior to JCU, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where she also served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001-2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Sally is a national Teaching Award winner (2003) and national Program Award winner (2007). She was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) in 2006 to investigate the first year experience and is a Discipline Scholar in Law. In 2017, Sally received an Australian Award for University Teaching Career Achievement Award for her contribution to Australian higher education. Over 2018-2019, she was a member of the Australian Qualifications Framework Review Panel that reported to Government in September 2019. Show less

The Hon Michael Lavarch AO

Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Law, QUT

Michael Lavarch is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the Queensland University of Technology. Professor Lavarch is a former Dean of the QUT Law Faculty and was Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia from 2001-2004. Between 1987-1996, he was a Federal MP and served as the Attorney-General in the Keating Government. As Attorney-General, Professor Lavarch has carriage of the establishment of the National Native Title Tribunal and conduct of negotiations with State and Territory governments for the implementation of the Native Title Act. Show more

Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Law, QUT

Michael Lavarch is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the Queensland University of Technology. Professor Lavarch is a former Dean of the QUT Law Faculty and was Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia from 2001-2004. Between 1987-1996, he was a Federal MP and served as the Attorney-General in the Keating Government. As Attorney-General, Professor Lavarch has carriage of the establishment of the National Native Title Tribunal and conduct of negotiations with State and Territory governments for the implementation of the Native Title Act. He also initiated a wide range of law reform, including:

  • The Human Rights Commission enquiry into the forced removal of Aboriginal children, resulting in the Bringing Them Home report; and
  • Overturning the last Australian law criminalising homosexuality.

In 2012, Professor Lavarch was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for his services to law, education and human rights. Show less

Luke Murphy

President, Queensland Law Society

Luke is an Accredited Specialist (Personal Injuries) and also practises in Succession law. He is Deputy Chair of QLS’s Tort Law/Accident Compensation Committee, and have served on the Practice Management Committee and Personal Injuries Conference Committee.

Luke represented QLS at Parliamentary inquiries and committee hearings, in negotiations with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and WorkCover, CTP reviews, WorkCover Stakeholders’ Reference Groups and QIRC interest groups. He is committed to serving the profession.

Outside the law Luke have held the following positions: Deputy President, Board Member of Royal Life Saving Society (1994-2004), Deputy Chairman, Board Member Holy Spirit Care Services (2007-2014), and Member Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Committee and Chairman Inaugural Young Professionals Committee.

Dr Rajesh K Reddy

Director, Animal Law LLM Program, Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis & Clark Law School

Dr. Rajesh K. Reddy directs the Animal Law LLM Program at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he currently teaches International Animal Law, Animal Legal Philosophy, Introduction to US Animal Legal Studies, and the Graduate Animal Law LLM Seminar. Outside of Lewis & Clark, he chairs the International Issues Subcommittee of the Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association and sits on the boards of Minding Animals InternationalHumane Voters Oregon, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion nonprofit Encompass. Show more

Director, Animal Law LLM Program, Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis & Clark Law School

Dr. Rajesh K. Reddy directs the Animal Law LLM Program at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he currently teaches International Animal Law, Animal Legal Philosophy, Introduction to US Animal Legal Studies, and the Graduate Animal Law LLM Seminar. Outside of Lewis & Clark, he chairs the International Issues Subcommittee of the Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association and sits on the boards of Minding Animals InternationalHumane Voters Oregon, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion nonprofit Encompass. Prior to joining the Center for Animal Law Studies, Raj earned his JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and his PhD from the University of Georgia, where his dissertation scrutinized the representation of human and nonhuman animals in postcolonial literature and discourse. He has served as Co-Editor in Chief of the Animal Law Review and Co-Director of Lewis & Clark’s Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter. He has advanced human and nonhuman animal legal efforts as part of his work for multiple nonprofits, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program and the Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi, India. He is the author of the forthcoming casebook entitled International Animal Law and Policy: Cases and Materials. Show less

Matthew Roach

Director, Parampara

Matt spent over 10 years as a lawyer at Minter Ellison and Uber before the shortfalls in legal practice drove him to start his own company. Parampara helps lawyers and others share knowledge in a more engaging and accountable way.

Professor Alex Steel

Director Teaching Strategy, University of NSW

Alex Steel is Director Teaching Strategy (Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic), and a Professor in the Law Faculty.

In law he researches and teaches in legal education and criminal law. 

Alex is an internationally recognised legal academic with interests in both criminal law and legal education. He has numerous teaching awards including a Commonwealth Government Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Alex was previously Associate Dean in the Law Faculty and co-convenor of the national Legal Education Associate Deans (LEAD) Network. Show more

Director Teaching Strategy, University of NSW

Alex Steel is Director Teaching Strategy (Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic), and a Professor in the Law Faculty.

In law he researches and teaches in legal education and criminal law. 

Alex is an internationally recognised legal academic with interests in both criminal law and legal education. He has numerous teaching awards including a Commonwealth Government Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Alex was previously Associate Dean in the Law Faculty and co-convenor of the national Legal Education Associate Deans (LEAD) Network. He is a foundation member of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy, and former Director. 

Alex has extensive experience in the development of law curriculum regulation as a consultant to the Australian Law School Standards Committee, the Law Admissions Advisory Committee and the Council of Australian Law Deans; and is an Assessor for the NSW Legal Profession Admissions Board.  Alex is an Executive member of the Australasian Legal Academics Association and member of the Editorial Committee of the Legal Education Review

His legal education publications range across the pedagogy and regulation of legal education, curriculum design, assessment practices and student wellbeing. He has particular interests in student assessment and learning strategies.

In the criminal law field he has published widely on property and dishonesty and identity crimes.  Alex has also produced detailed law reform reports for Government and makes regular submissions to law reform bodies. Alex is a member of the Criminal Law Committee of the NSW Bar Association and has been an expert advisor to the NSW Law Reform Commission.  He was previously a Consultant to the NSW Attorney General's Department, Criminal Law Review Division.  Show less

Professor Caroline Strevens

Head, School of Law, University of Portsmouth; Academy Chair, Association of Law Teachers (UK)

Caroline is Head of Department of Portsmouth Law School in the Faculty of Business and Law. She is also a Reader in Legal Education, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Chair of the Association of Law Teachers.

Caroline is investigating how principles of positive psychology may influence the well-being of staff and students in Higher Education and her current interest lies in the link between well-being and ethics and in the recent High Court decision in the Solicitors Regulation Authority v James and its implications. Show more

Head, School of Law, University of Portsmouth; Academy Chair, Association of Law Teachers (UK)

Caroline is Head of Department of Portsmouth Law School in the Faculty of Business and Law. She is also a Reader in Legal Education, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Chair of the Association of Law Teachers.

Caroline is investigating how principles of positive psychology may influence the well-being of staff and students in Higher Education and her current interest lies in the link between well-being and ethics and in the recent High Court decision in the Solicitors Regulation Authority v James and its implications.

Caroline is currently co-leading an international research team that is gathering and analysing the perceptions of well-being of academic staff in Law Schools in order to understand more about the current social contexts in HE and ensure support for improved student well-being can be provided without this being at the expense of staff well-being. 

Caroline is a member of the executive committee for the Legal Education Research Network (LERN), a Member of Advisory Board at the Centre for Professional Legal Education, Bond University, and a Visiting Fellow University of Northumbria. Show less

Conference speakers bios and abstracts

David Barker  AM,  Emeritus Professor of Law at UTS & Pro-Bono Senior Researcher AustLII/UTS Law Faculty. He is Secretary and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.  Has held many other positions, including Secretary, Chair and President of ALTA/ALAA; Former Chair CALD:  Member  NSW Legal Profession  Admission Board; Editor, ALTA Research Series, Legal Education Digest, Australian Student Law Reporter, Cavendish Essential Law Series and Co-editor of Law Asia; Former Dean, Law Faculties of UTS and University of Westminster (UK). Past President of the City of Sydney Law Society. 2019 marked the 30th Successive Year he had presented one or more papers at an ALTA/ALAA Conference.

THE AUSTRALASIAN LEGAL INFORMATION INSTITUTE – AustLII – A CELEBRATION OF TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF FREE LEGAL INFORMATION

2020 will be a special year for AustLII as it marks 25 years, its Silver Jubilee, since the establishment of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) in 1995. Prior that time law academics had been completely dependant on access to an adequately resourced  law library, either located at a law school or within the university library, which however accessed, obviously added to the cost of the operation of a law school and for many small law schools was virtually an unaffordable cost. This paper will trace the development of the major changes created by the internet as to how law schools conducted their research into case-law and legislation. The basis for much of this innovation was provided by AustLII, a joint collaboration between the two Law Faculties of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and University of New South Wales (UNSW)  and as the use of the internet was more cost-effective, it enabled law schools to match their aspirations in providing a relatively cheap and productive range legal materials for their undergraduate and postgraduate students. This paper examines the early origins of AustLII in 1995 under the co-directors of Graham Greenleaf and Andrew Mowbray, with Andrew Mowbray’s development of the exceptional text retrieval search engine ‘Sino’ contributing to its ongoing success until its current expansion, whereby in 2019 its databases recorded total hits exceeding 233 million with an average bits per day of 638,652.
 

Scott is a lawyer and a criminologist, currently the head of the criminology programs at CQ University.   He has also been active in the development of educational technologies such as simulations and digital badges.    Scott's current research is examining the impact of game design theory on educational design, with a particular view to developing a manual to assist those new to the field.    He has previously written on the regulation of online media, creative counterpublics, legal design thinking and the presentation of body in digital media.

Toys in Law's Attic: Simulations in legal education

“One day humanity will play with law just as children play with disused objects, not in order to restore them to their canonical use but to free them from it for good.”
Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception (2005)
Innovation in interactive learning design has opened the frontier for new types of learning games and simulations to engage students. Legal education has its own history of interactive learning traditions including moots, socratic lectures and, at times, deep learning problems that respond to learner decisions and strategies. This presentation examines the history of interactive legal education through the lens of contemporary interactive design and asks where this field may be headed. Drawing on concepts such as flow and adaptive mechanics from game based learning, this presentation suggests that there are new ways to use simulations as a way of interrogating student performance and assessing learning. These concepts also suggest new design paradigms beyond mere ‘simulation as verisimilitude’ that allow for complex decision making, while stylising the representation of everyday authentic activity. This presentation considers technological innovations and the potential for development of low-cost machine-moderated learning games but the ambit is much wider. Simulations also have a great potential for human-moderated simulation activities such as the application of roleplays and ‘mega games’ (such as ‘Watch the Skies’) to deliver complex simulation activities that can be distributed across time and space. Post the ‘Pokemon generation’ students are increasingly games-literate and  this presentation argues that instructors will also need to enhance their own literacy and design capability to engage with leaner need for compelling interactive learning options.Initial suggestions are provided to ease this transition.

Narelle is a proud descendent of the Yuin people from South Coast NSW, but grew up on Tharawal land where her mother, Jackie, was a board member of Tharawal Aboriginal Local Land Council. Jackie previously worked for Link-Up (NSW) to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families separated under the Stolen Generation policies. Narelle was the first person in her extended family to complete high school and then tertiary studies. Prior to taking up her current position at Bond University, Narelle was a Judge’s Associate, Australian Diplomat and held several legal positions in the Commonwealth Public Service, including on Tribunals. Narelle joined Bond University in 2012, where she is now an Assistant Professor teaching administrative law. Narelle is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy on a part time at the Australian National University.

Innovation in clinical legal education: Designing an Indigenous immersion experience for non‑Indigenous law students to develop awareness and transformative learning

The presentation brings an Indigenous cultural competency lens to clinical legal education. It describes the innovation of a new legal clinic in Brisbane called the Culturally Safe Criminal Law Practice.  The clinic has run for two years and is a three-way collaboration between the University of Queensland Law School (through its Pro Bono Centre), Bond University Faculty of Law and Youth & Family Services Inc., a community legal centre located in Woodridge in the city of Logan, roughly equidistant between UQ and Bond University campuses.  The innovation was inspired by Australian academics Burns and Nielsen call to counter the silence on race and whiteness in legal education and by the recommendations of the Final Report of the Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program (ICCLAP). In an international context, the innovation is in harmony with recent developments in British Columbia, Canada to introduce compulsory Indigenous cultural competency training for all legal practitioners. The presentation describes the establishment of the clinic, clinic activities, student and staff reflections and traverses the strengths and challenges of the clinic’s operation and the opportunities for experiential and transformative learning. Fundamentally, any such clinic must be designed in an ethical manner ensuring cultural safety and be adequately supported so as not to burden communities or organisations. The presentation offers suggestions for other university law schools who wish to establish a similar clinic, noting that more work needs to be done to embed Indigenous learnings throughout legal education to optimally prepare students for such a clinical experience. 

Dr. Kerstin Braun is a senior lecturer at the School of Law and Justice at USQ where she is involved in the teaching of criminal law and procedure and criminology. Kerstin completed her Ph.D. and LL.M at The University of Queensland. Her research interests lie in the area of criminal law and procedure, comparative law, human rights law, foreign law and criminology. In her PhD research, Kerstin focused on the role of victims in criminal procedure in Germany and Australia. She has published widely in Australian and international journals on issues relating to human rights law and German and Australian criminal law. Kerstin has practiced law as an Associate at the Berlin office of Baker & McKenzie Germany. Kerstin has guest-lectured in constitutional history at the University of Reggio Calabria in Italy (2006) and is a visiting lecturer in the foreign law program at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Transitioning Outsiders to Insiders

The first stage in the journey of a lawyer is, of course, first year law.  Many first year law students struggle to successfully navigate the first year of university due to varying levels of academic readiness - resulting in a negative student experience. This is evidenced by the high attrition rate for first year law students at a number of universities. In an Australian law school context, ALTC Research Fellow, Sally Kift, developed “Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and to enhance the first year student learning experience in Australian higher education”, (Australian Learning and Teaching Council, 2009).  This research found, inter alia, that there is a need to design the curriculum to carefully scaffold and mediate the first year learning experience.  Skills learnt (or not learnt) in the first year impact on students’ learning journey for the rest of the law degree, and beyond. The challenge recognised by the authors was to increase innovative and creative approaches to assist students in successfully navigating the academic space as well as academic assessment tasks, in an ethical manner.  They selected two first-year core law courses in the LLB and JD program and introduced two Moodle tutorial and quizzes that laid the foundations for successful study. One tutorial and quiz focused on academic integrity and plagiarism, an area many students struggle with throughout the degree. The second tutorial and quiz focused on ‘learning the ropes’ of being a university student. It including assessment planning, reviewing university policies and appropriate standards of professional communication. The interventions were evaluated to understand whether they assisted students in transitioning to university.  The results achieved, and lessons learned, will be shared in order to suggest a model for instilling these lifelong skills: ethical practice and standards of professionalism, in the first year of study.

Jack is a Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong. After working as a solicitor in Sydney, Jack Burke has been lecturing in practical legal training for around 24 years, including 14 years in Hong Kong. Jack has been actively involved in the creation of cutting-edge teaching and learning tools such as the the provision of on-line electronic feedback to students as an adjunct to oral feedback in advocacy courses and the production of a number of DVDs of advocacy demonstrations which have been placed on the university intra-net. Jack is currently involved in the introduction of software which will both film students’ advocacy performances and provide written feedback to them in respect to those performances in real time. He has received five CityU Teaching and Development Grant Applications. Jack was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Australasian Pacific Legal Education Council in 2015.

The Best of Both Worlds. Working Toward a Hybrid System of Practical Legal Training in the CityU Post-graduate Certificate in Laws Programme

The Post-graduate Certificate in Laws Programme (PCLL) in the School of Law at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is a one of three providers of the practical legal training (PLT) requirements for those seeking admission as solicitors or barristers in Hong Kong. Due to the sudden onset of the COVID-19 virus, the PCLL had to move, in a very short time frame, from an essentially face-to-face delivery of PLT, to a wholly online delivery of it, including the use of remotely based assessment. Although it is anticipated that the CityU PCLL will discontinue its current fully online mode, once the dangers posed by COVID-19 are behind us, it is expected it will retain aspects of its online learning methodologies that appear to provide an optimum “blended learning” approach. As a result, those teaching in the CityU PCLL will make decisions as to which of these current online teaching approaches should be absorbed into its future teaching practices. This presentation will examine the experience of the CityU PCLL in its rapid movement from a generally face-to-face learning experience to a wholly online teaching format. Following on from this, the presenter will consider what elements of this recent mode of learning will be utilized into later hybrid teaching approaches, so as enhance the skills of our future PLT graduates.

Dr Kelley Burton is an Associate Professor for the School of Law and Criminology, University of the Sunshine Coast. Kelley is a Co-convenor of LEAD, General Member for the Legal Education Review’s Editorial Board and Senior Fellow for the Higher Education Academy. Kelley’s research interests include criterion-referenced assessment, reflective practice and wellbeing.

Harmonising Student Evaluations of Teaching in the Neo-Liberal University: Empowering Law Academics to Advocate for other Measures of Teaching Quality

The arbitrator’s decision in Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association [2018] CanLII 58446  (ON LA) rejected Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) for confirmation and promotion purposes. This decision should trigger Australian universities to question SETs as the primary form of evaluating teaching quality in the neo-liberal university with increasing student expectations. SETs provide quantitative data in response to set discipline-generic questions that are applied to all teaching modes (e.g. face-to-face, online and remote); and qualitative student comments. SETs may be efficient and enable comparison between individual academics at division and university levels, but commonly low response rates mean the data is statistically invalid. Studies of SETs suggest gender, age, race, and other biases are widespread. Some institutions that value staff wellbeing screen student comments before providing them to academics to minimise the recognised harm caused by demeaning and disparaging remarks. Furthermore, this form of evaluation actively discourages teaching innovation because academics fear student backlash in SET scores will jeopardise confirmation or promotion opportunities.  Moves to amend the questions on SETs can face huge barriers, and the questions have not evolved to allow for teaching and learning developments such as blended and online learning. Consequently, SETs are of little, if any, value to academics for their professional development, confirmation, promotion or lifelong learning. In this paper, the Co-convenors and Project Officer for the Legal Education Associate Deans Network analyse the strengths and weaknesses of SETs; and empower law academics to advocate for other measures of teaching quality that better reflect their contribution to student learning.

Sher Campbell is a committed legal educator at the Newcastle Law School, an executive member of the Women Lawyers Association of NSW with a passion for social justice. She more than a decade of experience encouraging young women to succeed in the legal profession and develop positive professional identities. She has done this through teaching and curriculum innovation, her service to the legal profession in New South Wales, and her research and outreach work. Sher understands that internationalisation is having an increasingly significant impact on legal education and practice. To this end, Sher has brought students to multiple areas including Northern Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia Kenya and Myanmar under the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant. Sher is active in the Newcastle community, well respected within the profession, and well regarded by her students for her nurturing approach to the first-year experience in the law degree at the Newcastle University.  

justiceINjustice: Identity and Reflection through Art and Law

justiceINjustice, an art exhibition responding to miscarriages of justice, provided a collaborative platform for first year law students, lawyers, academics and artists to examine injustice and marginalisation through the prisms of legal analysis and visual response. This innovative curriculum allowed students to participate in a community-based dialogue on justice. Students shared ideas about their perceptions of justice within the legal system and gained an understanding of the diverse personal responses of artists, lawyers and affected families. Drawing on research by Professor Krieger, Dr Field, and Dr James on why reflective practice is valuable for lawyers throughout their professional lives, students examined their own personal responses to the art exhibition, the cases and what the exhibition meant for their future professional identity. In one reflection an Indigenous student wrote, ‘The exhibition, ‘justiceINjustice’ breaks barriers and illuminates injustice in a way that speaks to the deep humanity of all these cases. I intend to use this reflection as an opportunity to dissect my feelings about the exhibition and more importantly how it reaffirmed my passion to continue into Law.’ The exhibition, curated by Dr Carolyn McKay in conjunction with the University of Newcastle Law School offered outstanding professional development and learning opportunities for law students. justiceINjustice explored issues of injustice and marginalisation: miscarriages of justice, corruption, wrongful detention and investigative failures. Students’ reflections were assessed, and they will be interviewed in 2021/22 to gauge the value of this creative form of legal education and its meaning for students’ professional development.

Dr Francina Cantatore is a practising lawyer and Associate Professor of Law at Bond University. She teaches in the area of Property Law and Media and Communications Law, has published widely on intellectual property law and legal education (including clinical legal education (CLE) and legal technology), and is currently engaged in international collaborative research projects in the field of CLE and law and technology. Francina is the editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of Clinical Education, Director of the Bond Law Clinic Program, and the recipient of a Citation from the National Office of Learning and Teaching.

Educating Lawyers for Tradition and Change: Using Applied Technologies to Teach Foundation Property Principles

The professional literature of the legal services industry has for some time been deeply concerned with the effect of digital technologies on the law and legal practice. In law schools, where future practitioners are educated, there has also been a movement to embrace technologies—not least to prepare future graduates for the work they are likely to encounter. Despite what appears to be existing widespread practices of learning, applying, and developing technology-based solutions to legal problems, the reality is different. The spread of technology in the legal profession and legal education is uneven and cannot be said—yet—to represent disruption in the true sense (Christensen, 1997). The legal profession faces the challenge of what some regard as a wholesale updating of knowledge, skills, and practices. At the same time, graduate lawyers need to comprehend the traditions of the law embedded within legal reasoning and the law itself. But it is graduate lawyers who are best placed also to bring new knowledge, skills, and thinking into the profession. The question is how legal education might harness the best of both tradition and change, to achieve this outcome. This paper suggests that without jettisoning the traditions of legal thought or the doctrinal foundation of legal education, it is possible to facilitate law students’ engagement with new and emergent technologies. It uses a case study of a proposal involving a blockchain application in the Torrens system, to illustrate how new technologies might be used as a lens through which to understand theoretical and doctrinal principles. We suggest that rather than detracting from the tradition of core doctrinal knowledge, incorporating technologies into doctrinal subjects embraces the skill of adapting to new technologies. Not only will students be introduced to doctrine and new technologies, but we suggest that the capacity to adapt to new contexts is the sort of disposition at the heart of lifelong learning.

Rob has had a wide background in innovation across three decades: as a lawyer in the public and private sectors, as a commercial manager, company director and academic. He has assisted and managed high technology development with applications in defence, agriculture and health amongst other fields, with a special focus on intellectual property and contract aspects. He also has extensive experience in delivering and leading professional development training, in addition to his academic teaching. He currently lectures in law at Flinders University. He has taught innovation topics to both law and non-law students since 2018, and has designed innovation topics for first, second and third year students. Those topics cover aspects ranging from innovative mindsets and behaviours to design thinking and business model innovation. His key research interest in the interaction between technology, society and regulation. Linkedin: https://au.linkedin.com/in/rob-chalmers-081a354a

Innovating the Law

In recent years Law Schools have introduced innovation and design thinking electives, options or hackathons into their offerings, to train students in the application of human centred design thinking to legal issues. The new law degree that started this year at Flinders University includes a series of three such topics in the core of the program, rather than as electives or options. These build on designs developed for general application across many disciplines that have been run since 2017, but with the first two topics being new in 2020 and tailored specifically for the law degree. After three weeks of face to face delivery of this program, in March the first of these topics was forced overnight into online delivery, as were most University programs. This was a challenging situation that academics confronted everywhere, but one that was particularly interesting to manage for a topic structured as an experiential program using 3 hour weekly workshop blocks and being taught for the first time to the law cohort. This presentation will cover the key elements of the design and delivery of the program, including:

  • Why teach design thinking as a core part of the program? Is this appropriate preparation for the future of legal work or is it a distraction in a crowded curriculum where black letter concepts need more space?
  • Did the experiential workshop design survive translation to an online environment?
  • How did law students react and were the learning outcomes achieved?
  • What lessons have been drawn, and how has the second level topic been adapted in response for teaching in Semester 2?

Jane Ching is a qualified solicitor, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Professor of Professional Legal Education at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, UK and a co-director of its Centre for Legal Education. Jane joined the Law School in 1993 and was instrumental in the initial design of its Legal Practice Course (PLT-equivalent). Her PhD was on the learning of early career litigation solicitors. Jane has worked on projects for legal and educational regulators and professional bodies in Armenia, Canada, England and Wales, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Mongolia, the Republic of Ireland and the CARICOM nations. This includes the influential Legal Education and Training Review in 2011-2013, the most comprehensive review of legal education in England and Wales since 1971. She has presented at conferences in Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

Responsibility rights and capability as a combined unifying value for the legal education journey

The challenge of legal education is to identify one value on which all - educators, employers, regulators - agree. Each element of the sequential process - university, practice-related course, work experience, CPD and specialist accreditations - has different stakeholders, purposes and approaches.  Later stages can work to undo earlier learning by, for example, impugning its practice validity. This paper proposes a twofold candidate for such a unifying value: responsibility rights and capability. Together, these can provide an integrating core for the legal education journey, both for practitioners and those who take other paths.  A responsibility right unites in one concept a privileged right to act with a societal duty to do so in a particular way and to be protected, to some extent, from the repercussions of so doing. Legal practice has been characterised as such a right. Treating it as a foundation of the curriculum involves acknowledging and critically appraising the decisions and motivations of lawyers as change-actors in the legal system, influencing what the law is and how it is interpreted and changed. Using this as a focus can, it will be proposed, bring academic study alive, making it real, relevant and engaging. Practice-oriented study can then build on this to emphasise the significance of the responsibility for practitioners and its relationship with society and the rule of law.  Coupling this concept with capability reinforces responsibility, by treating change and the need to respond differently to different circumstances as a necessary graduate and practitioner attribute and fundamental to the responsibility right. Disjuncts between stages on the journey or between classroom and workplace become a catalyst for learning. This paper concludes that the result would be a unifying common value that provides the rigour and coherence, but also the flexibility and responsiveness that legal education, and legal practice, requires. 

 

Dr Cristy Clark is a senior lecturer with the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, neoliberalism, activism and the environment. She has been teaching law online since 2014.

From the Periphery to….where? The Journey of Online Legal Education in Australia

Historically, online legal education was delivered by a minority of Universities in Australia and was arguably considered of lesser quality than face-to-face learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for dramatic transformations in the uptake of online learning, including major shifts in legal education. This paper asks to what extent has the perception of quality in online learning viz-a-viz face-to-face shifted, and how might this resonate with accreditation bodies and the legal profession? We outline narratives of online legal education, as evidenced by the literature and official discourse of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee. We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to recognise ‘esteem’ in online legal education and attract teaching and learning scholarship that can better recognise the quality contribution of online legal education to access to justice and legal practice.

Stephen has been teaching at Bangor University Law School since 2011. He has research interests in constitutional and administrative law, as well as legal education. In 2016 he was appointed Senior Tutor for the School and has held various student experience and employability roles. His work has included an empirical investigation into law students’ perceptions as to the effects of Brexit on legal education in Wales (which included surveying students at every HEI within Wales). The findings were presented to the UK House of Common’s Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, as well as the UK Government’s BEIS Department. Stephen’s other research has focussed on employability, managing student expectations, internationalisation, and mooting. His work has been published in the international Law Teacher journal; the Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education, as well as presented at Higher Education Academy Conferences and the National Association of Law Teachers Annual Conferences. 

The Future Is Now: Community Building and Narrowing the Expectation-Reality Gap Between Legal Education and Legal Practice

In Online Courts and the Future of Justice, Richard Susskind’s invited us to reflect upon the extent to which there has been the ‘beginnings of’ a digital transformation in relation to ‘online judging,’ and how we can use the remarkable reach of the internet to help people understand and enforce their legal rights, whilst working more efficiently. Susskind argues that despite these changes and opportunities, Legal Education, particularly within the UK, still largely mirrors the approaches utilised decades ago. However, in recent years UK Law Schools have had an unparalleled opportunity to reimagine their traditional ways of working, and consider new approaches towards delivering the ‘academic stage’ of training to become a barrister or solicitor in England and Wales.  The development of the new  Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE); a refocussing (and indeed revaluing) of skills and interpersonal development alongside substantive academic knowledge; as well as the opportunity to experiment with new technological innovations, via hybrid learning platforms, have afforded lawyers (both academics and professionals alike) an opportunity to: i) rethink the future; ii) make better use of technology; and iii) use technology to further increase the dialogue between those in academia with legal professionals.  This paper reflects upon evidence-based interventions for promoting dialogue, so as to better cast curriculum design around what the profession is looking for from law graduates of the future. With increasingly bleak statistics surrounding competition for securing training contracts or pupillage, this paper discusses ideas for creating a sense of collegiate community between practitioners (alumni) and those still completing their education/training as part of their Legal Skills development, at the academic stage of training. This paper details the author’s experiences of leading a community strategy that purposefully puts meaningful skills development at the centre of the student experience, whilst embedding employability within the curriculum. 

Professor Stephen Colbran is the Head of the CQUniversity College of Law, Criminology and Justice (CQU Law). He is the recipient of an OLT Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and an OLT Award for Teaching Excellence.

The COVID-19 factor? An analysis of students’ reasons for ‘dropping out’ of an online introductory law unit.

For more than a decade, CQU Law has offered an LLB program online and its staff are well acquainted with the distinctive pedagogical design required to meet the needs and expectations of students in the online space. Online tertiary students are known to be 2.5 times more likely to ‘drop out’ of tertiary study than their face-to-face counterparts.  In response, we have worked consistently to strengthen strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled. Enter the great disruptor, COVID-19… ! Like many other Australian universities, we responded quickly (scrambled) to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. Despite our best efforts, in March 2020 we witnessed significant withdrawals from some of our undergraduate law units. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 so that we could mitigate any effect in the future, as well as identifying whether any other aspects of course design or teaching practice influenced their decision to withdraw, we surveyed students in an introductory law unit (N = 80) (respondents N = 58) to find out their reasons for withdrawal. Eight themes were explored: expectations, time and commitment, support and connection, finance and work, unit factors, study and skills, technology and health and well-being. For the entire cohort, none of the eight themes produced any significant effect associated with attrition. However, there were significant gender-based effects impacting on attrition. Factors such as preschool childcare issues, reduction in income, and the amount of reading negatively impacted more on female students. The research indicates while many of the themes impacting on attrition are beyond the scope of universities to influence, structuring units to better suit the needs of females and child-rearing age groups may help reduce attrition. The timing of interventions is crucial, as the relative importance of factors change over time leading up to census date.

Dr Nichola Corbett-Jarvis is Teaching and Learning Coordinator for CQU Law.  Her research in legal education is focused on attrition, transition pedagogy, and skills development.

The COVID-19 factor? An analysis of students’ reasons for ‘dropping out’ of an online introductory law unit.

For more than a decade, CQU Law has offered an LLB program online and its staff are well acquainted with the distinctive pedagogical design required to meet the needs and expectations of students in the online space. Online tertiary students are known to be 2.5 times more likely to ‘drop out’ of tertiary study than their face-to-face counterparts.  In response, we have worked consistently to strengthen strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled. Enter the great disruptor, COVID-19… ! Like many other Australian universities, we responded quickly (scrambled) to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. Despite our best efforts, in March 2020 we witnessed significant withdrawals from some of our undergraduate law units. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 so that we could mitigate any effect in the future, as well as identifying whether any other aspects of course design or teaching practice influenced their decision to withdraw, we surveyed students in an introductory law unit (N = 80) (respondents N = 58) to find out their reasons for withdrawal. Eight themes were explored: expectations, time and commitment, support and connection, finance and work, unit factors, study and skills, technology and health and well-being. For the entire cohort, none of the eight themes produced any significant effect associated with attrition. However, there were significant gender-based effects impacting on attrition. Factors such as preschool childcare issues, reduction in income, and the amount of reading negatively impacted more on female students. The research indicates while many of the themes impacting on attrition are beyond the scope of universities to influence, structuring units to better suit the needs of females and child-rearing age groups may help reduce attrition. The timing of interventions is crucial, as the relative importance of factors change over time leading up to census date.

Dr Nichola Corbett-Jarvis is the Teaching and Learning Coordinator and a Senior Lecturer in the College of Law, Criminology and Justice at CQ University.  Her research interests in legal education include attrition, transition pedagogy, and whole-of course initiatives focused on developing students’ skills, attributes and professional identity.

Mind the (Ethics) Gap: Tackling Contract Cheating in Business Law

The prevalence of contract cheating in higher education prompted the Federal Government to introduce the Tertiary Education and Quality Standard Agency Amendment (Prohibiting Academic Cheating) Bill in 2019 and more recently announce plans for an Education Integrity Unit that will focus on plagiarism and contract cheating.  While the latter focuses on deterring, detecting and punishing such conduct, the Act includes both punitive sanctions for those who advertise commercial contract cheating services and a broader framework of responsibilities for TEQSA that include preventing and tackling the use of those services.  However, these measures fail to pay sufficient attention to the role that universities can and should play in preventing plagiarism.  Many law programs integrate explicit teaching practices focused on academic misconduct, and in particular plagiarism, into the law curriculum.  This is in part because findings of academic misconduct may have a significant impact on a law graduate’s application for admission as a lawyer.  This explicit teaching practice is often confined to law students.  What practices should we adopt in law subjects taught to business students, and more generally across business programs, to tackle contract cheating and plagiarism?  Developing high ethical standards in business graduates is not only important to prevent contract cheating and other forms of academic misconduct but also to reflect the fact that many professions, businesses and industries have codes of conduct that regulate ethical standards.  Many of these codes have been revised in response to the recent recommendations by Hayne Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sectors.  What steps can we take to prepare future business for their obligations under these codes?  This paper will explore embedding explicit teaching practices focused on ethical professional behaviour into undergraduate and postgraduate business degrees. 

Jonathan Crowe is Professor of Law at Bond University. His research examines the philosophical relationship between law and ethics. He has also produced significant bodies of work on constitutional law, rape and sexual assault law, international humanitarian law and dispute resolution. Jonathan is author or editor of nine books and more than ninety peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles. His recent books include Mediation Ethics: From Theory to Practice (Edward Elgar, 2020) (with Rachael Field) and Natural Law and the Nature of Law (CUP, 2019). He is a founding Co-Director of Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, an Australiawide initiative working to shape community responses to sexual violence. He is also an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy, having served as its President from 2014 to 2018, and a former President of the Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network.

Well-being, human flourishing and legal professional identity

Significant numbers of lawyers in Australia and elsewhere report concerningly high levels of psychological distress. Recent work by Spearing and Field has explored the potential role of a positive professional identity in promoting well-being among legal practitioners. The study found that many United Kingdom barristers identify robustly with their profession, but are unable to articulate exactly what this identity means. The present paper builds on this research to propose a substantive theory of well-being in a legal professional context capable of grounding a positive professional identity. We argue that well-being in professional settings is not best understood either as the absence of psychological distress or as the presence of life satisfaction or positive affect. Rather, we build on Crowe’s work in ethical theory to suggest that well-being consists in participating in the various dimensions of human flourishing in a balanced and integrated way. This framework indicates three necessary conditions for a sustainable professional identity for lawyers. First, legal professionals must be able to meaningfully connect their work with underlying human values. Second, lawyers’ work environments must afford them opportunities to pursue these values in their lives in a balanced and integrated manner. And, third, legal workplaces must foster an ethically grounded sense of community with others. We conclude by reflecting on the challenge these requirements pose to some elements of legal professional culture, including its competitive, hierarchical and ethically compartmentalised nature.

Dr Curran - Principal of Curran Consulting: Enhancing Justice and Human Rights; a practicing solicitor; ‘in-house adviser’ to Consumer Action Law Centre (pro bono), Senior Fellow, Nottingham Trent University and Honorary Associate Professor Dr Liz Curran - ANU School of Legal Practice (8.5 years). Formerly the Associate Director International ANU Centre for the Profession, Education and Regulation in Law; member of the Australian Restorative Justice Association and the Australian Society of Evaluation. She has a forthcoming book (Routledge UK) entitled Better Law for a Better World: New Approaches to Law Practice & Legal Education. Previously: clinical legal educator; solicitor; Director West Heidelberg Legal Service; Director human rights NGO; team leader advocacy in a humanitarian agency and Policy Director.

Giving Voice to Value: Applied Ethics that Positions Future Graduates to Have the Difficult Ethical Conversations

Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is a pedagogy so people to feel empowered to have difficult conversations when their ethics, values, or something wrong is being urged.  It is an applied ethics approach predicated on preparation, research, analysis and action. It is relevant in any profession (e.g. lawyers, regulators, nurses, doctors, accountants, psychologist and for an array of other professions) when a course of action might risk error, breach of ethics and responsibilities, regulations or patient/client harm. GVV works on the premise that the more (when armed with a process to step through and develop our skills + tools) we rehearse and practice difficult conversations, not with a script, but with adaptability and flexibility and a thought out process (especially when personal and professional stakes are high) the better able to we to handle situations when they arise. This paper will look at the different ways that Liz has been teaching GVV over the years in ways that can be adapted for different professions to develop their capability to respond ethically in tricky situations. She examines scenario and simulation approaches to learning she has used with legal practitioner, law students, legal academics and nursing students. She looks at GVV coaching and peer to peer learning and the place for debrief and critical reflection not just at an individual leave but at an organisation and systemic level.

Dr Curran - Principal of Curran Consulting: Enhancing Justice and Human Rights; a practicing solicitor; ‘in-house adviser’ to Consumer Action Law Centre (pro bono), Senior Fellow, Nottingham Trent University and Honorary Associate Professor Dr Liz Curran - ANU School of Legal Practice (8.5 years). Formerly the Associate Director International ANU Centre for the Profession, Education and Regulation in Law; member of the Australian Restorative Justice Association and the Australian Society of Evaluation. She has a forthcoming book (Routledge UK) entitled Better Law for a Better World: New Approaches to Law Practice & Legal Education. Previously: clinical legal educator; solicitor; Director West Heidelberg Legal Service; Director human rights NGO; team leader advocacy in a humanitarian agency and Policy Director.

Measuring Impact: Operationalising evaluation to action effectiveness and quality in clinical work for clients, communities, students and the profession’ within an evidence based framework

This session will briefly outline Liz’s experience in evaluating clinics and new emerging ways in which they can have/and are having an impact for access to justice and the development of future professionals. This includes the measuring work of clinics and their students in the provision of advice, community development, interdisciplinary engagement and policy research. In an interactive space, questions will have a format where, each questioner will introduce themselves and explain a little bit about the nature of their clinic or practical legal skills work so that Dr Curran can tailor her responses on evaluation to the diverse clinics in the room, also enabling participants to share their work and for the session to have practical utility. Dr Curran will also canvas some simple approaches/techniques for evaluation and methods of gathering evidence that can be embedded in clinics and participants can share their own experiences on effective evaluation in a context of few resources. Dr Curran through this interactive phase, will also flag some ideas so clinics might branch out and garner the growing evidence base on effectiveness, impact and what works well, when, where and why and in what circumstances to diversify responses to position them to advance the public good. This session has value for clinics, those teaching practical skills and who are keen to measure their actual impact on the public good. This can help in convincing funders, universities and local community of the worth of the clinical and practical legal skills mode of education in a changing and challenging world.

B.Ec (Hons), GradCertHigherEd, M.B.A, Ph.D. Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor of Accounting Melbourne Institute of Technology. Michael is an experienced CPA with several years’ experience advising corporate entities on auditing and accounting principles. He is currently Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor of Accounting Melbourne Institute of Technology where he has the position of Deputy Head of School and Course Coordinator, Post Graduate Programs (GDAcc and MPA).

Rethinking Curriculum Design: the efficacy of Experiential Learning Theory in the Teaching and Practice of Law in the Digital Era

Technology has revolutionised the way information is accessed as well as how tertiary courses are delivered. The exponential growth of tertiary education in Australia and the diversity of courses offered has necessitated a reconceptualisation of course delivery methods. Nowadays students must be equipped with both substantive content, theoretical and practical knowledge as well as generic and discipline specific skills.  This in turn has drawn attention to how institutions teach and assess students. What is lacking is research on the delivery of educational outcomes and their effectiveness to meet the demands of academia and industry. The traditional Socratic method adopted by law schools has drawn some criticism for its focus on teaching theory at the expense of practical skills that can be adapted in the workplace. This has seen a more practical focus on the delivery of courses through the introduction of clinical placements but failed to ameliorate the skill deficit. Accordingly, it is the central contention of this paper that Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) offers a robust approach to curriculum design and implementation that holistically integrates theory and practice. This means moving beyond the mere addition of a clinical placement in a course to a rethink of the role of the law school in the 21st Century from a disseminator of knowledge to an inclusive experiential environment that utilises modern pedagogies for the effective preparation of the modern day legal practitioner.

Professor Emeritus Nigel Duncan: Until recently teaching Bar students at City, University of London, and supervising their clinical learning with the Free Representation Unit, Nigel is a Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies, a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His teaching has concentrated on employment law, advocacy, case analysis and opinion writing. He was Programme Director of a research-based LLM and supervises student dissertation. He recently served on the Education & Training Committee of the Bar Standards Board. His Employment Law in Practice is in its 13th edition. He maintains an editorial role on The Law Teacher and The European Journal of Legal Education.  His research has focussed on the preparation of ethical professional lawyers and, more recently, on law student and lawyer well-being.

Ethical Imperatives for Legal Educators to Promote Law Student Wellbeing

Why should legal educators be motivated to work to promote law student wellbeing? Why is it our responsibility to intentionally design curricula, pedagogical approaches and extra-curricular initiatives, to seek to prevent a decline in the psychological health of our students and to support their wellbeing? There are many possible justifications for such a responsibility falling on legal academics, although some (if not many) in the legal academy still consider this sort of work as ‘outside the boundaries of our competence’ or ‘non-core business’. In this paper we argue that our responsibility to our students to create learning environments conducive to successful learning creates an ethical duty to ensure that those environments are purposely designed to promote law student wellbeing and to prevent a decline in their psychological health. First, we consider a range of ethical viewpoints, each of which support the ethical imperative to act. Second, we explore positive psychology’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a conceptual framework that can assist with the achievement of curriculum design that can promote the wellbeing of individual students as well as guide the nature of constructive structural and cultural reform in law schools.  Finally, we provide some practical examples of what academics can do in enacting SDT in their law school for the promotion of law student wellbeing and explore with our audience how recent initiatives might be implemented in their own law schools. We consider how we might most effectively be agents for change in our own institutions and for the profession as a whole.   

Dr Ronán Feehily’s research interests include international commercial dispute resolution, corporate governance, international trade and legal education. He is the author of 19 peer reviewed journal articles in leading law journals in the USA, UK, Africa, Australasia and Ireland. An award winning researcher, he has published three books on contract, company and commercial law. His fourth book, 'International Commercial Mediation: Law and Regulation in Comparative Context', will be published by Cambridge University Press when completed. He has delivered 15 conference papers at leading conferences in the USA, UK, Africa, Australasia and Ireland. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). With a background in legal practice, Dr Feehily has practiced as a commercial lawyer and as in-house legal counsel. He is also a Fellow of the Charted Institute of Arbitrators and is a CEDR Accredited Mediator, and has practiced as a commercial arbitrator and mediator.

The Limits of Arbitral Jurisdiction

The doctrine of separability in international commercial arbitration recognises that an arbitration clause in a main or matrix contract is presumptively a separate and autonomous agreement, reflecting contractual commitments that are independent and distinct from the matrix contract. The primary consequence of the separability doctrine is that the illegality of the main contract need not necessarily negate the agreement to arbitrate comprised within it. In most cases relating to illegality issues, arbitral tribunals have rejected contentions that allegations of defects relating to the matrix contract also nullified the arbitration clause comprised within it and have applied the separability principle. Indeed, the focus has moved from right to obligation, as arbitrators now appear to have a duty to actively address illegality issues during arbitral proceedings as they are in the best position to determine if contracts are invalid due to bonos mores or violations of international public policy. However, the question of whether the illegality of the matrix contract affects the legal status of the arbitration agreement is contingent upon the nature of the illegality. There may be circumstances where an agreement to arbitrate disputes is not completely separate or independent from the matrix  contract within which it is comprised, and the validity of the matrix contract will have an impact upon the status of the arbitration agreement. In such instances the agreement to arbitrate will itself be contrary to public policy or illegal, and this raises fundamental issues of public policy that the courts must consider. This paper analyses these issues, and discusses the approach of the courts, legislature and arbitral institutions in various jurisdictions to resolving them. It concludes with a number of recommendations to find the appropriate balance between the competing policy goals of encouraging private dispute resolution through arbitration, and ensuring judicial intervention in appropriate cases.

 

Rachael is a Professor in the Bond Law School, Co-Director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and Co-Director of Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence, lawyer and law student well-being and legal education (particularly foundations of law and transition in, through and out of law school). Rachael is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, the winner of a National Teaching Citation as well as an Australian Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She founded the Australian Wellness Network for Law in 2010 and co-founded the ADR Research Network (in 2012) as well as the annual STARS conference (2015).

The importance of mentoring to law student and early career graduate success and well-being.

This paper discusses the importance of mentoring to success and well-being for students at Law School and for early career graduates navigating the first years of their career. Mentoring is commonly recognised in a range of professional contexts as assisting with professional identity and skill development. However, at most Law Schools the importance of mentoring is generally not explicitly discussed, and students are not taught how to be good mentees. Mentees need to know how to find a mentor, what can be expected of them, and how to communicate with their mentors.  What does a young professional do if their mentor is in their chain of command?  Is there anything that should not be discussed with a mentor?  At Law School can later year students effectively mentor earlier year students or should students be connected to members of the profession? In this paper we discuss these issues in order to encourage Law Schools to implement effective mentoring programs that support effective learning success and well-being, and equip early career lawyers with the skills to cope with the rigours of the legal profession.

Rachael is a Professor in the Bond Law School, Co-Director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and Co-Director of Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence, lawyer and law student well-being and legal education (particularly foundations of law and transition in, through and out of law school). Rachael is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, the winner of a National Teaching Citation as well as an Australian Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She founded the Australian Wellness Network for Law in 2010 and co-founded the ADR Research Network (in 2012) as well as the annual STARS conference (2015).

The impact of Covid-19 on Law Teacher Wellbeing in the UK and Australia

Challenges to the psychological wellbeing of law students and lawyers in the US, Australia and more recently in the UK are now well documented. Law teachers have now been added to this research and an empirical project in the UK and Australia has established that the wellbeing of legal academics is also compromised. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of a recent survey of Australian and UK law teachers asking about the impact of Covid-19 on law teacher wellbeing and effective ways in which Universities can support the wellbeing of staff during the pandemic.  It builds on that research through a series of surveys of law teachers in the UK and Australia on the presumption that law teachers are in a strong position to influence their students not only in relation the development of a clear understanding of the law, but also in terms of supporting the growth of attitudes and practices that will help them to survive and thrive as lawyers. The comparative analysis reveals several differences, but also many similarities, with law teachers in both countries reporting negative effects from neoliberal pressures on legal education programs that impact their wellbeing, performance as teachers and ability to adequately respond to student concerns.

Rachael is a Professor in the Bond Law School, Co-Director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and Co-Director of Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence, lawyer and law student well-being and legal education (particularly foundations of law and transition in, through and out of law school). Rachael is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, the winner of a National Teaching Citation as well as an Australian Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She founded the Australian Wellness Network for Law in 2010 and co-founded the ADR Research Network (in 2012) as well as the annual STARS conference (2015).

Ethical Imperatives for Legal Educators to Promote Law Student Wellbeing

Why should legal educators be motivated to work to promote law student wellbeing? Why is it our responsibility to intentionally design curricula, pedagogical approaches and extra-curricular initiatives, to seek to prevent a decline in the psychological health of our students and to support their wellbeing? There are many possible justifications for such a responsibility falling on legal academics, although some (if not many) in the legal academy still consider this sort of work as ‘outside the boundaries of our competence’ or ‘non-core business’. In this paper we argue that our responsibility to our students to create learning environments conducive to successful learning creates an ethical duty to ensure that those environments are purposely designed to promote law student wellbeing and to prevent a decline in their psychological health. First, we consider a range of ethical viewpoints, each of which support the ethical imperative to act. Second, we explore positive psychology’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a conceptual framework that can assist with the achievement of curriculum design that can promote the wellbeing of individual students as well as guide the nature of constructive structural and cultural reform in law schools.  Finally, we provide some practical examples of what academics can do in enacting SDT in their law school for the promotion of law student wellbeing and explore with our audience how recent initiatives might be implemented in their own law schools. We consider how we might most effectively be agents for change in our own institutions and for the profession as a whole.   

Rachael Field is a Professor in the Bond Law School, Co-Director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and Co-Director of Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence, lawyer and law student well-being and legal education (particularly foundations of law and transition in, through and out of law school). Rachael is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, the winner of a National Teaching Citation as well as an Australian Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She founded the Australian Wellness Network for Law in 2010 and co-founded the ADR Research Network (in 2012) as well as the annual STARS conference (2015).

Well-being, human flourishing and legal professional identity

Significant numbers of lawyers in Australia and elsewhere report concerningly high levels of psychological distress. Recent work by Spearing and Field has explored the potential role of a positive professional identity in promoting well-being among legal practitioners. The study found that many United Kingdom barristers identify robustly with their profession, but are unable to articulate exactly what this identity means. The present paper builds on this research to propose a substantive theory of well-being in a legal professional context capable of grounding a positive professional identity. We argue that well-being in professional settings is not best understood either as the absence of psychological distress or as the presence of life satisfaction or positive affect. Rather, we build on Crowe’s work in ethical theory to suggest that well-being consists in participating in the various dimensions of human flourishing in a balanced and integrated way. This framework indicates three necessary conditions for a sustainable professional identity for lawyers. First, legal professionals must be able to meaningfully connect their work with underlying human values. Second, lawyers’ work environments must afford them opportunities to pursue these values in their lives in a balanced and integrated manner. And, third, legal workplaces must foster an ethically grounded sense of community with others. We conclude by reflecting on the challenge these requirements pose to some elements of legal professional culture, including its competitive, hierarchical and ethically compartmentalised nature.

Ilana Finefter-Rosenbluh is a Lecturer in in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. A former Research Affiliate with the Justice in Schools project and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her research interests lie in the intersection between educational assessment, ethics, policy, and teaching. A sociologist and school counsellor by training, Dr Finefter-Rosenbluh draws upon scholarship from multiple disciplines as well as her experience teaching and counselling in diverse international educational environments. Her research expertise aims to help teachers, educational leaders, and policymakers to make just and informed decisions in their practice. She has published in leading research journals, including Journal of Education Policy, Teaching and Teacher EducationYouth & SocietyCambridge Journal of Education, Educational Psychology, and the International Journal of Qualitative Methods. She has also contributed to prominent scholarly works such that are published in Harvard Education Press. Her research was also featured in various media outlets, including The Conversation and SBS World News.

Mock Trials as a Method to Improve Practical and Ethical Skills in Legal Education

Are mock trials effective as a learning and assessment method in legal education? Do they enhance students’ learning and engagement? In what ways do they develop learners’ communities and ethical reasoning? Are there differences in the efficacy of face-to-face and online mock trial simulations? This work sheds light on the efficacy of mock trial simulations in legal education, and evaluates the benefits of this learning method in both online and face-to-face pedagogical modes. Recent years have brought many new challenges to traditional face-to-face lecturing in higher education, including in law. In particular, it has become more and more challenging to engender a culture of participation and engagement, and to attract students’ attendance, and enhance their complex ethical thinking and attention in the classroom. The development of online learning environments did not resolve the participation and engagement problem, and introduced additional challenges, including concerns over students’ sense of belonging to a learners’ community. In legal education, this disengagement process has led to reduction in students’ preparedness for joining the profession and acquiring practical lawyering skills.  A growing literature in education have identified active and experiential learning as one of the most effective methods to enhance the learning experience and improve learning outcomes in higher education. However, to date there is very limited data available about the actual effects of mock trials on students’ engagement, satisfaction, ethical reasoning, and learning outcomes in legal education, and no study thus far have compared the impact of mock trial simulations on students’ satisfaction and learning outcomes in online versus traditional face-to-face settings. Using surveys and interviews with students who participated in Deakin Law School’s mock trial assessment in a large, Priestley 11 unit (Evidence), this work fills this gap in the literature, providing nuanced data on the efficacy of this important teaching and learning method.  

Prior to taking up her current position at Bond University, Kylie was employed in the legal profession for a decade. She commenced her legal career in 1998 and was soon working as a member of a well-regarded commercial law team. In 2001, Kylie accepted a position at a National top-tier firm where she was promoted to the position of Senior Associate. Kylie also worked as an in-house legal counsel at a Queensland gas and electricity distributor. Kylie’s focus as a practicing lawyer was on the areas of corporate, commercial, finance and energy law. Kylie joined Bond University in 2008, where she is an Assistant Professor teaching contract law. As one of the Faculty’s Transition Coordinators, she also works to assist first-semester students transition into law school. Kylie is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy in legal education.

Preparing law students for the future: Adaptive vocationalism in legal education

Many Australian law schools embrace ‘vocationalism’ as a discourse informing curriculum design. This reflects the generally held view that law schools ought to prioritise the preparation of law students for future employment. However, the legal profession is currently rallying to identify and prepare for its own future, and various legal industry bodies have commissioned high-profile reports to this end. Some of these reports call for a review of legal education. Among other things, the legal profession seeks to initiate research on curriculum change. Curriculum change may be appropriate, but one should resist making such a change in isolation. Reform is best addressed with the complexity of the legal education system in mind. A multi-faceted approach ought to be considered. This approach should include attempts to ensure that certain conditions – supporting ongoing adaption – are present within the system. The presenter will explore vocationalism within the legal education system through the lens of complexity theory and recommend conditions that aim to steer that system towards ‘adaptive vocationalism’. The presence of these conditions will enable the legal education system to better prepare students for future employment. This topic is currently being explored under the presenter’s Doctor of Philosophy. Consequently, this research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Dr Kate Galloway is Associate Professor at Griffith Law School. She teaches and researches in property law and theory and lawyering in contemporary global contexts. Kate writes about the way in which the dominant conception of property law affects women, Indigenous Australians, and the environment, as well as the intersection between law and technology. Her research in legal education focuses on the law curriculum. She is an award-winning teacher and leader in legal education: she is the editor-in-chief of the Legal Education Review, serves on the executive committee of the Australasian Law Academics Association, and was the inaugural co-convenor of the national Legal Education Associate Deans (LEAD) Network.

Educating Lawyers for Tradition and Change: Using Applied Technologies to Teach Foundation Property Principles

The professional literature of the legal services industry has for some time been deeply concerned with the effect of digital technologies on the law and legal practice. In law schools, where future practitioners are educated, there has also been a movement to embrace technologies—not least to prepare future graduates for the work they are likely to encounter. Despite what appears to be existing widespread practices of learning, applying, and developing technology-based solutions to legal problems, the reality is different. The spread of technology in the legal profession and legal education is uneven and cannot be said—yet—to represent disruption in the true sense (Christensen, 1997). The legal profession faces the challenge of what some regard as a wholesale updating of knowledge, skills, and practices. At the same time, graduate lawyers need to comprehend the traditions of the law embedded within legal reasoning and the law itself. But it is graduate lawyers who are best placed also to bring new knowledge, skills, and thinking into the profession. The question is how legal education might harness the best of both tradition and change, to achieve this outcome. This paper suggests that without jettisoning the traditions of legal thought or the doctrinal foundation of legal education, it is possible to facilitate law students’ engagement with new and emergent technologies. It uses a case study of a proposal involving a blockchain application in the Torrens system, to illustrate how new technologies might be used as a lens through which to understand theoretical and doctrinal principles. We suggest that rather than detracting from the tradition of core doctrinal knowledge, incorporating technologies into doctrinal subjects embraces the skill of adapting to new technologies. Not only will students be introduced to doctrine and new technologies, but we suggest that the capacity to adapt to new contexts is the sort of disposition at the heart of lifelong learning.

Dr Amanda Jane George is Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate Research Coordinator for the School for Business and Law.

The COVID-19 factor? An analysis of students’ reasons for ‘dropping out’ of an online introductory law unit.

For more than a decade, CQU Law has offered an LLB program online and its staff are well acquainted with the distinctive pedagogical design required to meet the needs and expectations of students in the online space. Online tertiary students are known to be 2.5 times more likely to ‘drop out’ of tertiary study than their face-to-face counterparts.  In response, we have worked consistently to strengthen strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled. Enter the great disruptor, COVID-19… ! Like many other Australian universities, we responded quickly (scrambled) to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. Despite our best efforts, in March 2020 we witnessed significant withdrawals from some of our undergraduate law units. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 so that we could mitigate any effect in the future, as well as identifying whether any other aspects of course design or teaching practice influenced their decision to withdraw, we surveyed students in an introductory law unit (N = 80) (respondents N = 58) to find out their reasons for withdrawal. Eight themes were explored: expectations, time and commitment, support and connection, finance and work, unit factors, study and skills, technology and health and well-being. For the entire cohort, none of the eight themes produced any significant effect associated with attrition. However, there were significant gender-based effects impacting on attrition. Factors such as preschool childcare issues, reduction in income, and the amount of reading negatively impacted more on female students. The research indicates while many of the themes impacting on attrition are beyond the scope of universities to influence, structuring units to better suit the needs of females and child-rearing age groups may help reduce attrition. The timing of interventions is crucial, as the relative importance of factors change over time leading up to census date.

Professor Alison Gerard is Head of the Canberra Law School and former Foundation head of Charles Sturt Universities online LLB. Alison's research focuses on social justice issues and has been published in leading international and Australian journals. Her sixth book, which focuses on the criminalisation of young people in Out-of-Home Care, will be published by Routledge in 2021. Alison is on the Executive of the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) and the Australasian Law Academics Association (ALAA) as Treasurer. Alison has developed an emerging research program with CSU Indigenous Academic Fellow, Annette Gainsford, on the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives in law and criminology curriculum. Alison founded Charles Sturt University's law program and the Centre for Law and Justice prior to coming to the University of Canberra.

From the Periphery to….where? The Journey of Online Legal Education in Australia

Historically, online legal education was delivered by a minority of Universities in Australia and was arguably considered of lesser quality than face-to-face learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for dramatic transformations in the uptake of online learning, including major shifts in legal education. This paper asks to what extent has the perception of quality in online learning viz-a-viz face-to-face shifted, and how might this resonate with accreditation bodies and the legal profession? We outline narratives of online legal education, as evidenced by the literature and official discourse of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee. We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to recognise ‘esteem’ in online legal education and attract teaching and learning scholarship that can better recognise the quality contribution of online legal education to access to justice and legal practice.

Charles Giacco is a lecturer in law and course coordinator at Federation Business School, Federation University Australia. Charles has been involved in the teaching and coordination of tertiary law subjects in Australia and overseas since 1993. He has held a number of academic roles at several universities and TAFE institutes. Charles has worked as a legal practitioner in Victoria and in South Australia. He is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Courts of Vic., SA. & NT., and in all Commonwealth courts in Australia. He is a Graduate Fellow of the College of Law Ltd. Charles has a strong interest in aviation law, and in civil aviation domestically and abroad. He is presently pursuing doctoral research within an area involving a comparative law analysis of civil aviation governance and sustainability between Australia and China.

Onwards and upwards: challenges and opportunities for the next generation of aviation law professionals

Aviation is one of the most highly regulated areas of human activity. The domestic and international  aviation industry, especially the airline industry, has for many years had to operate in highly competitive and oftentimes difficult market conditions. With the advent of the global covid-19 pandemic, the aviation sector in Australia and across the globe has encountered unprecedented difficulties, with an economic outlook which continues to remain uncertain.  Aviation law is a specialised field of legal practice. This paper will examine the current challenges and likely future trends facing the domestic and international aviation sectors, as well as possible opportunities that may present for professionals involved in aviation legal practice. This paper will also examine the particular skillsets and knowledge areas which the next generation of aviation law professionals are likely to require, and particularly as a consequence of the current and ongoing difficult domestic and international aviation market. The role of aviation, business, and law schools in ensuring appropriate legal knowledge and employability skills for students aspiring to work in aviation law will also be explored.      

Bernadette Healy is a registered psychologist and member of the Australian Psychological Society and holds Masters Degrees in both psychology and in Creative Arts Therapies.  Bernadette is the director and principal psychologist of a private practice, The Re-Vision Group and has become known for her expertise working with members of the legal profession.  Bernadette currently manages the independent health and wellbeing counselling service provided to members of The Victorian Bar and has been doing so for more than ten years. Bernadette is a regular contributor to a range of forums about wellbeing and the law and has developed a professional development course on this topic which has been undertaken by over 750 lawyers. Bernadette is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne.

Accessing deeply-held wisdom using the creative arts therapies: A model for reflective practice in the legal profession

The use of arts-based approaches to reflective practice is common in many profession. However, despite the recognition in the law that reflection can help practitioners make sense of ‘rich and unpredictable experiences’, there is almost no evidence of the inclusion of arts-based ways of facilitating such reflection. This presentation will report on the status of a current PhD study which is utilising concepts and practices from Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) and the field of professional reflective practice, and applying them in new ways to the legal profession. Key questions that the project seeks to answer include: How do lawyer participants describe and represent their experience of reflecting on challenging professional moments using creative arts? And how do lawyer’s reflections prompt them in terms of consideration of broader issues such as personal values, ethics and any future imaginings they have around how they want to be as a lawyer?  

Dr Rachael Hession (B.Comm, LLB, LLM, ITI, MA, EdD) qualified as a solicitor in 1997. She is a course manager on the Law Society of Ireland’s Professional Practice Courses (PPC), a programme manager with Law Society of Ireland Professional Training and secretary to the Law of Ireland’s Taxation Committee. She lectures and tutors on the PPC. She is co-editor and co-author of the Law Society Complex Conveyancing Manual and is co-author of the Law Society Capital Taxation for Solicitors Manual and Conveyancing Manual.  She was previously in practice with Ronan Daly Jermyn solicitors and Henry P.F. Donegan solicitors. She holds a MA in Higher Education, Professional Legal Education and Skills (DIT) and a Doctorate in Education (University of Sheffield). Her thesis is entitled “Professionalism – can you teach it? “

Professionalism – can you teach it?

Findings from a phenomenographic study of the training firms, trainee solicitors and educators in the professional legal education sector in Ireland.  The Law Society of Ireland is currently the sole provider of legal professional training in Ireland resulting in qualification as a solicitor. Its educational policy provides that it must ensure students are prepared for professional practice and instil in them a lifelong commitment to high professional standards and behaviour. The notion of professionalism is considered by many legal commentators to be in crises. It is in this context that I carried out a study on the teaching of legal professionalism in Ireland. Data was collected from the principal stakeholders in the legal profession education system. The data was phenomenographically analysed in order to determine if there was a variance in perceptions among these stakeholders as to what professionalism is and how best to teach or instil professionalism. The findings indicate diverse perceptions among stakeholders that reflect a lack of shared understanding of professionalism and how to teach or instil the notion. The study critically discusses the findings in light of relevant literature. My presentation will discuss the context of this study and analysis of my findings. I will briefly discuss how any variance might affect the quality of teaching of professionalism and how a co-ordinated approach to understanding and fostering professionalism will help bridge a gap in perceptions and raise professional standards.

Claire is a conflict management and resolution expert, with extensive experience in practice, education, and training. Claire is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the James Cook University (JCU) Conflict Management and Resolution Program, and a PhD candidate at JCU researching Hope Theory, measuring hope in law students. Her work and research interests include interfaith dialogue, coaching, leadership development, postgraduate education and positive psychology.

Will ‘hopeful thinking’ get you ahead in law school?

Wellbeing is a distinct area of research falling under the positive psychology banner, and is now a focus across academic settings. Hope is a distinct wellbeing measure, and has a recognised theory that includes a validated and reliable hope survey used to measure a person’s level of hope. According to the hope survey measure, a person can be classified as high hope or low hope. High hope people tend to have a greater number of goals, will enjoy the prospect of undertaking a new goal, are more likely to engage in affirming self-talk, and are less likely to see barriers to achieving their goals - for example by viewing setbacks as challenges rather than the end of the line. In comparison, a low hope person is likely to have less goals, view goal attainment with apprehensions, feel negative emotions associated with the tasks required to purse their goals, and engage in negative self-talk – such as I’m not doing very well, or this is a hard or impossible task. A low hope person would view a stressor as an obstacle to reaching their desired goal, and may consider any challenge too hard to overcome. According to hope theory, hope is a way of thinking, and therefore hope can be taught! An important consideration in legal education curriculum is student wellbeing – and teaching ‘hopeful thinking’ could assist students develop greater resilience and experience increased feelings of wellbeing. It is thought that hope provides the cognitive foundation that assists individuals in being successful in achieving their goals, and as such hope is increasingly recognised as an important psychological resource for academic achievement, career development and job performance. This presentation will discuss the current literature on hope theory in academia, and share preliminary results of hope surveys in a law school in North Queensland.

Judge Eugene M Hyman is retired from the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (San Jose) where, for 20 years, he presided over cases in the criminal, civil, probate, family, and delinquency divisions of the court. He has presided over an adult domestic violence court and in 1999 presided over the first juvenile domestic violence and family violence court in the United States. Judge Hyman has published articles on issues surrounding domestic violence in the criminal and family courts--especially with co-occurring issues of substance abuse and mental health. He has a special interest in domestic violence as it affects children in the home and in the family court setting. He has special understanding of sexual abuse, stalking, and strangulation, as they intersect with domestic violence. Judge Hyman taught as a Lecturer in Law at the Santa Clara University School of Law for 21 years. In 2008, Judge Hyman was honored with the United Nations Public Service Award.

The importance of mentoring to law student and early career graduate success and well-being.

This paper discusses the importance of mentoring to success and well-being for students at Law School and for early career graduates navigating the first years of their career. Mentoring is commonly recognised in a range of professional contexts as assisting with professional identity and skill development. However, at most Law Schools the importance of mentoring is generally not explicitly discussed, and students are not taught how to be good mentees. Mentees need to know how to find a mentor, what can be expected of them, and how to communicate with their mentors.  What does a young professional do if their mentor is in their chain of command?  Is there anything that should not be discussed with a mentor?  At Law School can later year students effectively mentor earlier year students or should students be connected to members of the profession? In this paper we discuss these issues in order to encourage Law Schools to implement effective mentoring programs that support effective learning success and well-being, and equip early career lawyers with the skills to cope with the rigours of the legal profession.

Dr Colin James has been a solicitor since 1989 and an academic and researcher since 2001. He has worked in clinical legal education at Murdoch University, the University of Newcastle and is currently at the ANU College of Law. Colin has qualifications in law, history and psychology and presents at many national and international conferences. His publications contribute to fields associated with legal practice including legal education, legal history, and the well-being of lawyers, law students and law teachers. He has supervised PhDs and DBAs on diverse topics including the wellbeing of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, industrial ethics, first-responder and worker safety practices. As a lawyer Colin chairs the management committee of the Hunter Community Legal Centre, which services Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and for over twelve years he convened PLE seminars for the Newcastle Law Society.

The impact of Covid-19 on Law Teacher Wellbeing in the UK and Australia

Challenges to the psychological wellbeing of law students and lawyers in the US, Australia and more recently in the UK are now well documented. Law teachers have now been added to this research and an empirical project in the UK and Australia has established that the wellbeing of legal academics is also compromised. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of a recent survey of Australian and UK law teachers asking about the impact of Covid-19 on law teacher wellbeing and effective ways in which Universities can support the wellbeing of staff during the pandemic.  It builds on that research through a series of surveys of law teachers in the UK and Australia on the presumption that law teachers are in a strong position to influence their students not only in relation the development of a clear understanding of the law, but also in terms of supporting the growth of attitudes and practices that will help them to survive and thrive as lawyers. The comparative analysis reveals several differences, but also many similarities, with law teachers in both countries reporting negative effects from neoliberal pressures on legal education programs that impact their wellbeing, performance as teachers and ability to adequately respond to student concerns.

Professor Nick James is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University. He is a former commercial lawyer and has been practising as an academic since 1996. He is passionate about legal education and the role of law schools in modern society. His areas of teaching expertise include law in context, legal theory, animal law, business law, and company law. He has won numerous awards for his teaching including a National Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, he is the author of three textbooks, and he has written numerous journal articles, book chapters and conference papers in the areas of legal education, critical legal theory, and disruption of the legal services sector. Professor James is Executive Director of the Bond University Centre for Professional Legal Education, Executive Editor of the Legal Education Review, Vice Chair Legal Education of the Council of Australian Law Deans, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

'MORE THAN LAWYER FACTORIES’: THE SOCIAL OBLIGATION OF LAW SCHOOLS

The contemporary dominance of vocationalism within higher education, as evidenced by the frequent assertion that universities’ principal responsibly is to produce ‘job ready’ graduates, is understandable if not inevitable given the cultural predominance of neoliberalism. But as many critics of this dominance have pointed out, the contemporary emphasis upon graduate employability comes at a cost. This article examines one of those costs: the de-emphasis of the obligation of universities to contribute to the public good in other ways. The focus is upon the status of this obligation within the discipline of law. It examines the social role that law schools can and should play, including preserving and enhancing disciplinary knowledge, using the talent and expertise amongst its students, scholars and professional partners to assist the community, and inspiring law students and law graduates to develop an ethics of care. It identifies the social and political contingencies that motivate law schools to disregard this role, and presents examples of law schools that remain nevertheless committed to serving the public good. It concludes by offering law school leaders some rationales and strategies for recognising and operationalising that commitment in the current climate.

Tammy Johnson is an Assistant Professor at Bond University. A sole practitioner for several years, Tammy eventually sold her practice to pursue her academic interests. Tammy practiced in the areas of property law, commercial law and succession and estate administration. At Bond, Tammy teaches several subjects including Property Law, Contract Law, Legal Profession, Legal Drafting & Conveyancing and the Law of Succession and Administration of Estates. Tammy is now completing her doctoral studies at Queensland University of Technology. Her research is in health law, specifically the regulation of commercial surrogacy in Australia, and she anticipates completing her PhD this year.

GAMIFYING THE TEACHING OF PROPERTY LAW

Engaging property law students and keeping them engaged in learning is a constant challenge for property law teachers. Many students complain that property law is not the most interesting of subjects so, with what has been described as “beige content” the challenge to engage students is even greater for property law teachers. This challenge of student engagement lies in not only designing learning and revision tasks that will encourage the students to connect with the learning process, but to allow that process to be enjoyable and relevant to contemporary law students so that they remain engaged in learning. The concept of gamification in education is nothing new but introducing gamification into the teaching of law is just starting to gain traction.  Bringing innovation into the law classroom is not for the faint-hearted.  Law students, by their very nature, are suspicious of and resistant to change. They need to be convinced that what they are being asked to do has value. But law students are also highly competitive, and this is the “hook” that can be used to introduce gamification into the classroom. Gamification does not have to be high-tech and it can be introduced in a low-key and non-threatening way that is designed to pique students’ interest rather than arouse their suspicion. One method of introducing gamification into teaching is to implement it as a tool for in-class revision. Gamification is designed to be a fun and interactive exercise and, when used as a revision tool, it allows students to engage in an opportunity to revise content and identify gaps in their knowledge in a fun and non-threatening environment where there is nothing to lose and everything (prizes) to gain.

Paraskevi is an early career teaching academic at the University of South Australia’s Law School and is a HEA Fellow. She is also one of the supervising solicitor's in the UniSA Legal Advice Clinic. Prior to this she worked in private practice for approximately ten years. She is the author of a book entitled 'Music and the Law'.  Paraskevi has taught and continues to teach across a variety of courses since commencing employment with UniSA and is an active researcher in Education. She is particularly interested in innovation and interactivity in legal education using active learning strategies such as Work Integrated Learning, peer to peer teaching, students as co-creators (partners) and the flipped classroom. As part of her research, she has entirely redesigned courses, such as Dispute Resolution & Civil Litigation to place a focus on Work Integrated Learning with authentic problem solving and preparing students for work upon graduating. Paraskevi also conducts ongoing research into the effectiveness of preparing upcoming students for their law studies. She facilitates student lead Focus Groups that consists of law students providing mentoring to junior law students as well as developing resources and materials for 1st Year students.

Harmonising Legal Education using Contemporary Work Integrated Learning Approaches in the Legal Classroom

The study of law has traditionally adopted a Socratic method of teaching. Whilst there are benefits to this approach, it does not teach law students to become graduate ready critical thinkers, negotiators, and effective communicators. Using work integrated learning (WIL) strategies, coursework is connected to professional practice, motivating students to participate in active and authentic learning, to transition into legal practice (Christensen and Kift, 2000). WIL has been used in clinical legal education in Australia (Cantatore et al., 2016; Giddings, 2016), however this study demonstrates that it can be interwoven into the entire law curriculum. This case study was based on a course in ‘Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation’,  which was completely redesigned using principles of Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) (Sweller, 2010) and WIL. Content was delivered to minimise cognitive overload (inherent in law theory) and motivate students to understand the application of theory into legal practice. In the newly designed course, students work in ‘legal firms’ on a course-long, scaffolded legal problem. Students work in simulated legal firms to represent a client. They are provided with facts/materials regarding the dispute and facts confidential to their client. Related case documents are delivered in a spaced and paced format. Email interactions and face-to-face discussions with their client mirror real world occurrences, following timelines, deadlines and, processes and procedures found in civil disputes. These processes are scaffolded weekly to minimise cognitive load, allowing students to master one skill/process before moving to the next. Data collected through qualitative course evaluations focused on the experience of the students’ response to the course design, learning and assessment outcomes. The results of this case study cover an 18-month period across three cohorts of around 170 students. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of adopting WIL approaches using CLT. Students reported feeling enthused and motivated to learn and better prepared for the workforce. Students who have since graduated commented on how useful and helpful the course has been to their graduate positions.

Shiri Krebs is a Senior Lecturer and HDR Director at Deakin Law School, and Chair of the Law, Regulation, and Strategic Policy at Deakin’s Cyber Security Research and Innovation Centre. She is an affiliated scholar at the Stanford Center for International Security and cooperation (CISAC). Dr Krebs’ research focuses on legal fact-finding processes and their impact on attitudes and beliefs about controversial social issues, including migration, military operations, and police violence, at the intersection of law, psychology, and political science. To explore these issues, Dr. Krebs utilizes empirical research methods, including surveys, experiments, and interviews. Her scholarship has been published at leading international law journals (eg the Harvard National Security Journal), and she has taught in a number of top law schools, such as Stanford Law School. Her publications granted her several awards, including the Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Award for Career Excellence (Deakin University, 2019), the 2016 American Society of International Law (ASIL) ‘New Voices’ Award, the Lucinda Jordan Research Award (2017), the Franklin Award in International Law (2015), the Goldsmith Award in Dispute Resolution (2012), and the Steven Block Civil Liberties Award (2011). Krebs earned her Doctorate and Master Degrees from Stanford Law School with Honours, as well as LL.B. and M.A., both magna cum laude, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mock Trials as a Method to Improve Practical and Ethical Skills in Legal Education

Are mock trials effective as a learning and assessment method in legal education? Do they enhance students’ learning and engagement? In what ways do they develop learners’ communities and ethical reasoning? Are there differences in the efficacy of face-to-face and online mock trial simulations? This work sheds light on the efficacy of mock trial simulations in legal education, and evaluates the benefits of this learning method in both online and face-to-face pedagogical modes. Recent years have brought many new challenges to traditional face-to-face lecturing in higher education, including in law. In particular, it has become more and more challenging to engender a culture of participation and engagement, and to attract students’ attendance, and enhance their complex ethical thinking and attention in the classroom. The development of online learning environments did not resolve the participation and engagement problem, and introduced additional challenges, including concerns over students’ sense of belonging to a learners’ community. In legal education, this disengagement process has led to reduction in students’ preparedness for joining the profession and acquiring practical lawyering skills.  A growing literature in education have identified active and experiential learning as one of the most effective methods to enhance the learning experience and improve learning outcomes in higher education. However, to date there is very limited data available about the actual effects of mock trials on students’ engagement, satisfaction, ethical reasoning, and learning outcomes in legal education, and no study thus far have compared the impact of mock trial simulations on students’ satisfaction and learning outcomes in online versus traditional face-to-face settings. Using surveys and interviews with students who participated in Deakin Law School’s mock trial assessment in a large, Priestley 11 unit (Evidence), this work fills this gap in the literature, providing nuanced data on the efficacy of this important teaching and learning method.   

Dr Victoria Lambropoulos, Head of Law and Barrister (Victorian Bar), has a passionate research interest in student engagement and retention.

The COVID-19 factor? An analysis of students’ reasons for ‘dropping out’ of an online introductory law unit.

For more than a decade, CQU Law has offered an LLB program online and its staff are well acquainted with the distinctive pedagogical design required to meet the needs and expectations of students in the online space. Online tertiary students are known to be 2.5 times more likely to ‘drop out’ of tertiary study than their face-to-face counterparts.  In response, we have worked consistently to strengthen strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled. Enter the great disruptor, COVID-19… ! Like many other Australian universities, we responded quickly (scrambled) to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. Despite our best efforts, in March 2020 we witnessed significant withdrawals from some of our undergraduate law units. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 so that we could mitigate any effect in the future, as well as identifying whether any other aspects of course design or teaching practice influenced their decision to withdraw, we surveyed students in an introductory law unit (N = 80) (respondents N = 58) to find out their reasons for withdrawal. Eight themes were explored: expectations, time and commitment, support and connection, finance and work, unit factors, study and skills, technology and health and well-being. For the entire cohort, none of the eight themes produced any significant effect associated with attrition. However, there were significant gender-based effects impacting on attrition. Factors such as preschool childcare issues, reduction in income, and the amount of reading negatively impacted more on female students. The research indicates while many of the themes impacting on attrition are beyond the scope of universities to influence, structuring units to better suit the needs of females and child-rearing age groups may help reduce attrition. The timing of interventions is crucial, as the relative importance of factors change over time leading up to census date.

Julian Laurens is a Senior Project Officer with the Legal Education Associate Deans Network. He has co authored a number of articles on Legal Education, and has previously tutored and lectured at UNSW Law and the Nura Gili Centre for Indigenous Programs.

Harmonising Student Evaluations of Teaching in the Neo-Liberal University: Empowering Law Academics to Advocate for other Measures of Teaching Quality

The arbitrator’s decision in Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association [2018] CanLII 58446  (ON LA) rejected Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) for confirmation and promotion purposes. This decision should trigger Australian universities to question SETs as the primary form of evaluating teaching quality in the neo-liberal university with increasing student expectations. SETs provide quantitative data in response to set discipline-generic questions that are applied to all teaching modes (e.g. face-to-face, online and remote); and qualitative student comments. SETs may be efficient and enable comparison between individual academics at division and university levels, but commonly low response rates mean the data is statistically invalid. Studies of SETs suggest gender, age, race, and other biases are widespread. Some institutions that value staff wellbeing screen student comments before providing them to academics to minimise the recognised harm caused by demeaning and disparaging remarks. Furthermore, this form of evaluation actively discourages teaching innovation because academics fear student backlash in SET scores will jeopardise confirmation or promotion opportunities.  Moves to amend the questions on SETs can face huge barriers, and the questions have not evolved to allow for teaching and learning developments such as blended and online learning. Consequently, SETs are of little, if any, value to academics for their professional development, confirmation, promotion or lifelong learning. In this paper, the Co-convenors and Project Officer for the Legal Education Associate Deans Network analyse the strengths and weaknesses of SETs; and empower law academics to advocate for other measures of teaching quality that better reflect their contribution to student learning.

Associate Professor Tania Leiman is Dean of Law and Flinders University. In 2020 she led the introduction of a pioneering new law curriculum that embeds innovation, coding and clinical legal practice as core. She is the SA representative on the National Advisory Board of the Australian Society for Computers & Law (NSW) Inc. She sits on the Legal Practitioners Education & Admission Council SA, The Law Society of SA Council, The Law Foundation of SA Inc., and the Law Society of SA’s Legal Technology Committee and the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council. She also serves as a member of the National Transport Commission’s Automated Vehicles Industry Insights Group and the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicles Initiative Policy & Risk Group. She recently participated in a Courts Administration Authority of SA review of Covid19 measures in the SA Courts.

Making the most of a crisis: Covid19 as a catalyst for lifelong legal skills development

Covid19 has presented the legal profession and legal education with unanticipated opportunities in unexpected ways. Necessity has resulted in the rapid embrace of technology in ways many in the legal profession would not have dreamt of. Virtual court hearings, public livestreaming of appellate arguments, video-conferencing, working from home and supervision of junior practitioners have changed how and where lawyers work. The importance of verification of identity, electronic signatures, and other Know- Your-Client measures have been highlighted as critical. Data ownership and cyber security have come under increased scrutiny as justice systems and legal practitioners have moved online. Some of these changes have been occurring gradually for some time; others have been stymied to date by regulatory frameworks, aversion to perceived risk, or reliance on traditionally accepted processes. These changes pose both risks and opportunities. The skills required to successfully negotiate virtual hearings, conference and interviews have been new to many, and an obstacle to some. Some have thrived in this new environment; others have found themselves overwhelmed. New skills and competencies are required, not just from law students and graduates but from more senior practitioners and members of the judiciary. What does this mean for clients and other users of the justice system? This presentation will explore how law schools and other legal education providers might and should respond to this rapidly evolving environment. How can we ensure that innovations catalysed by Covid19 are not wasted, and that further opportunities for development are not overlooked by returning too quickly to the way it used to be pre-pandemic.

Pnina is a first class honours law graduate from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and is currently a PhD candidate at Curtin University with her research being in the areas of academic discipline and academic freedom.  Prior to joining Curtin as an academic staff member, she was a senior associate in a top tier firm.Pnina currently co-ordinates and teaches the Trusts Law unit and is also involved in the teaching of Contract Law in the Curtin Law School.  She also co-ordinates the Curtin Law School's Legal Internships unit.

Can I criticise with impunity the practices of the University that employs me?

The recent case of Gerd Schroder-Turk v Murdoch University has thrown up questions in relation to the extent to which an academic is allowed to criticise the university at which they are employed. What right, if any does an academic have to criticise the practices of their Australian university? Are there any limits to this right? What can an academic do if their university ‘punishes’ them for such criticism by acting adversely towards them? These questions in turn raise questions as to the existence and nature of any right that an academic has to exercise academic freedom in Australia and the extent to which this right may provide an academic with more protection to criticise their university employers than under whistleblowing legislation and whether this may have undesirable consequences. This presentation explores these questions with particular reference to the effect of the proposed Model Code for the Protection of Free Speech and Academic Freedom recommended by former High Court Chief Justice Robert French as well as Australian whistleblowing laws in protecting academics who speak out against their universities.

Dr Yongqiang Li is a senior lecturer in law and subject convener at the College of Law and Justice, Victoria University, Melbourne. Yongqiang is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia, as well as a Registered Migration Agent and Accredited Education Agent Counsellor. He has consulting experience on corporate and university governance and is College Chair of International Committee, promoting law programs and maintaining collaborations with law specialised universities in China and Asia. Yongqiang’s current research project investigates the interaction between law and disruptive technology, taxation law, Intellectual Property Law, Governance, ESG, and Belt and Road Initiative. He is a Principal PhD supervisor and of his PhD students, three have obtained their PhD degree. Yongqiang has received two grants from the Australia-China Council and a number of industry grants.

Onwards and upwards: challenges and opportunities for the next generation of aviation law professionals

Aviation is one of the most highly regulated areas of human activity. The domestic and international  aviation industry, especially the airline industry, has for many years had to operate in highly competitive and oftentimes difficult market conditions. With the advent of the global covid-19 pandemic, the aviation sector in Australia and across the globe has encountered unprecedented difficulties, with an economic outlook which continues to remain uncertain.  Aviation law is a specialised field of legal practice. This paper will examine the current challenges and likely future trends facing the domestic and international aviation sectors, as well as possible opportunities that may present for professionals involved in aviation legal practice. This paper will also examine the particular skillsets and knowledge areas which the next generation of aviation law professionals are likely to require, and particularly as a consequence of the current and ongoing difficult domestic and international aviation market. The role of aviation, business, and law schools in ensuring appropriate legal knowledge and employability skills for students aspiring to work in aviation law will also be explored.     

Dr Anita Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in the La Trobe Law School who specialises in first year law teaching and providing students with a smooth induction into law school. Dr Mackay coordinates two core foundational subjects: Legal Institutions and Methods for the LLB degree and Legal Method, Process and Institutions for the JD degree.  She holds a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education. Dr Mackay has published nationally and internationally on how human rights law may be used to protect vulnerable and marginalised members of the community, with a particular emphasis on protections for people in closed environments (such as prisons). The differential impact of law on groups in the community is something she introduces her students to in the two aforementioned subjects. 

Emphasising Wellness from the Outset: Drawing on Reflections on Students’ Experiences Visiting Court for a First Semester Subject Assessment

Studies document that law students’ psychological distress emerges during the first year of law studies and literature about transition to law school suggests that the first year is when students’ sense of ‘professional legal identity’ begins to be shaped. This paper will present an example that addresses both of these matters.  It involves aligning emphasis on wellbeing and self-care as priorities for students during their law studies - and beyond into their careers as legal professionals - with an assessment in first semester. In the La Trobe University core subject Legal Institutions and Methods students attend a Victorian court to observe proceedings for the purposes of a court report assessment.  Students have been completing this assessment for many years, but since 2018 it has been used as a launching pad for a broader in-class discussion.  Students begin by reflecting on their experiences visiting court, sharing experiences of confronting and upsetting subject-matter or behaviour encountered during these visits.  The discussion introduces practical strategies for prioritising their well-being (e.g. debriefing), with seminar leaders sharing their own self-care practice and examples of how this has helped them in their professional legal careers.  Seminar leaders emphasise the importance of students developing their own routine of self-care practice (e.g. yoga/mindfulness).  This discussion includes ensuring students are directed to support services at the university, such as the counselling service.  

Judith Marychurch is the Assistant Dean – Teaching and Learning at Melbourne Law School and a Co-convenor of LEAD. Judith’s interests include legal education, particularly student wellbeing and innovation in assessment. She is a specialist in the law of evidence, and a co-author of Uniform Evidence in Australia (3rd edition, 2020, Lexis Nexis).

Harmonising Student Evaluations of Teaching in the Neo-Liberal University: Empowering Law Academics to Advocate for other Measures of Teaching Quality

The arbitrator’s decision in Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association [2018] CanLII 58446  (ON LA) rejected Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) for confirmation and promotion purposes. This decision should trigger Australian universities to question SETs as the primary form of evaluating teaching quality in the neo-liberal university with increasing student expectations. SETs provide quantitative data in response to set discipline-generic questions that are applied to all teaching modes (e.g. face-to-face, online and remote); and qualitative student comments. SETs may be efficient and enable comparison between individual academics at division and university levels, but commonly low response rates mean the data is statistically invalid. Studies of SETs suggest gender, age, race, and other biases are widespread. Some institutions that value staff wellbeing screen student comments before providing them to academics to minimise the recognised harm caused by demeaning and disparaging remarks. Furthermore, this form of evaluation actively discourages teaching innovation because academics fear student backlash in SET scores will jeopardise confirmation or promotion opportunities.  Moves to amend the questions on SETs can face huge barriers, and the questions have not evolved to allow for teaching and learning developments such as blended and online learning. Consequently, SETs are of little, if any, value to academics for their professional development, confirmation, promotion or lifelong learning. In this paper, the Co-convenors and Project Officer for the Legal Education Associate Deans Network analyse the strengths and weaknesses of SETs; and empower law academics to advocate for other measures of teaching quality that better reflect their contribution to student learning.

Bernadette is a solicitor and managing partner of a legal practice in the UK. Bernadette lecturers land law on an undergraduate degree and property law and practice, commercial property and interviewing and advising skills on the postgraduate legal practice course and legal practice master’s degree at Liverpool John Moores University.  Bernadette is currently completing her PhD in legal education, specifically the teaching and assessment of reflective practice within a post graduate law clinic. Her research interests are the professionalization of law students, reflective practice as a form of informal learning and adapted action learning methodologies.

Reflective Practice Within Professional Legal Education: Program Design Considerations

Engagement in reflective practice within professional and legal education is well documented yet there is a distinct focus on the form of reflection and not necessarily its function. Like the concept of reflection itself, the approach taken to reflection as a form of learning is multifaceted but does not explicitly address purpose at the forefront of its design.  This presentation will consider the state of art in reflective teaching and assessment. It is suggested that within the context of professional legal education, the underlying purpose of reflectivity is to facilitate the professionalization and development of students. Using a systematic methodology, the literature was reviewed to consider how law schools currently engage students in reflection, whether by explicit teaching or tacitly by providing learning opportunities.  Innovative approaches from disciplines outside of the law school are considered. The review found that approaches to reflection can be seen to be broadly written or oral with either an individual or collective approach. The presentation will discuss a typology of reflective engagement format which suggests the presence of an underlying philosophical perspective in course design. Drawing upon my earlier research with qualified lawyers I will consider why engaging students in a form of lifelong reflective practice is a key professional skill and make suggestions as to how reflectivity can be embedded into both doctrinal and practical legal skills courses and the factors that need consideration in such course design. 

Dr Alexandra McEwan is a Lecturer in Law. Drs George and McEwan have published on the use of social media in student engagement (JALTA, 2018) and on attrition in online legal education (Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (in press). 

The COVID-19 factor? An analysis of students’ reasons for ‘dropping out’ of an online introductory law unit.

For more than a decade, CQU Law has offered an LLB program online and its staff are well acquainted with the distinctive pedagogical design required to meet the needs and expectations of students in the online space. Online tertiary students are known to be 2.5 times more likely to ‘drop out’ of tertiary study than their face-to-face counterparts.  In response, we have worked consistently to strengthen strategies to keep students engaged and enrolled. Enter the great disruptor, COVID-19… ! Like many other Australian universities, we responded quickly (scrambled) to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. Despite our best efforts, in March 2020 we witnessed significant withdrawals from some of our undergraduate law units. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 so that we could mitigate any effect in the future, as well as identifying whether any other aspects of course design or teaching practice influenced their decision to withdraw, we surveyed students in an introductory law unit (N = 80) (respondents N = 58) to find out their reasons for withdrawal. Eight themes were explored: expectations, time and commitment, support and connection, finance and work, unit factors, study and skills, technology and health and well-being. For the entire cohort, none of the eight themes produced any significant effect associated with attrition. However, there were significant gender-based effects impacting on attrition. Factors such as preschool childcare issues, reduction in income, and the amount of reading negatively impacted more on female students. The research indicates while many of the themes impacting on attrition are beyond the scope of universities to influence, structuring units to better suit the needs of females and child-rearing age groups may help reduce attrition. The timing of interventions is crucial, as the relative importance of factors change over time leading up to census date.

Dr Noeleen McNamara is an Associate Professor in the School of Law and Justice at the University of Southern Queensland.  Her areas of research interest include environmental law/ natural resources law, education law, and a developing interest in wine law.  Noeleen completed my PhD on the environmental regulation of mining at USQ.  As well as research in substantive areas of law, Noeleen is interested in the scholarship of learning and teaching.  She has been teaching Civil Obligations to first year law students for many years, both at USQ and previously at UQ, and this experience has developed her interest in students’ experience in transitioning to studying law.  Prior to her career in academia, Noeleen worked with Arthur Andersen and Ernst and Young in Sydney and Hong Kong in their insolvency/ litigation support sections, and then as a Solicitor with Baker & McKenzie, Sydney.

Transitioning Outsiders to Insiders

The first stage in the journey of a lawyer is, of course, first year law.  Many first year law students struggle to successfully navigate the first year of university due to varying levels of academic readiness - resulting in a negative student experience. This is evidenced by the high attrition rate for first year law students at a number of universities. In an Australian law school context, ALTC Research Fellow, Sally Kift, developed “Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and to enhance the first year student learning experience in Australian higher education”, (Australian Learning and Teaching Council, 2009).  This research found, inter alia, that there is a need to design the curriculum to carefully scaffold and mediate the first year learning experience.  Skills learnt (or not learnt) in the first year impact on students’ learning journey for the rest of the law degree, and beyond. The challenge recognised by the authors was to increase innovative and creative approaches to assist students in successfully navigating the academic space as well as academic assessment tasks, in an ethical manner.  They selected two first-year core law courses in the LLB and JD program and introduced two Moodle tutorial and quizzes that laid the foundations for successful study. One tutorial and quiz focused on academic integrity and plagiarism, an area many students struggle with throughout the degree. The second tutorial and quiz focused on ‘learning the ropes’ of being a university student. It including assessment planning, reviewing university policies and appropriate standards of professional communication. The interventions were evaluated to understand whether they assisted students in transitioning to university.  The results achieved, and lessons learned, will be shared in order to suggest a model for instilling these lifelong skills: ethical practice and standards of professionalism, in the first year of study.

Dr Michael Nancarrow was Learning and Scholarship Co-ordinator (CQU College of Law, Criminology and Justice) and Co-convenor (LEAD) until July 2020. Michael’s research includes legal learning and technology, social housing law and regulation and applied professional ethics. He is the lead author of Property Law: Principles to Practice (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Harmonising Student Evaluations of Teaching in the Neo-Liberal University: Empowering Law Academics to Advocate for other Measures of Teaching Quality

The arbitrator’s decision in Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association [2018] CanLII 58446  (ON LA) rejected Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) for confirmation and promotion purposes. This decision should trigger Australian universities to question SETs as the primary form of evaluating teaching quality in the neo-liberal university with increasing student expectations. SETs provide quantitative data in response to set discipline-generic questions that are applied to all teaching modes (e.g. face-to-face, online and remote); and qualitative student comments. SETs may be efficient and enable comparison between individual academics at division and university levels, but commonly low response rates mean the data is statistically invalid. Studies of SETs suggest gender, age, race, and other biases are widespread. Some institutions that value staff wellbeing screen student comments before providing them to academics to minimise the recognised harm caused by demeaning and disparaging remarks. Furthermore, this form of evaluation actively discourages teaching innovation because academics fear student backlash in SET scores will jeopardise confirmation or promotion opportunities.  Moves to amend the questions on SETs can face huge barriers, and the questions have not evolved to allow for teaching and learning developments such as blended and online learning. Consequently, SETs are of little, if any, value to academics for their professional development, confirmation, promotion or lifelong learning. In this paper, the Co-convenors and Project Officer for the Legal Education Associate Deans Network analyse the strengths and weaknesses of SETs; and empower law academics to advocate for other measures of teaching quality that better reflect their contribution to student learning.

Joelene Nel is an Associate Director of McLaughlins Lawyers and practises as a family lawyer and a mediator on the Gold Coast, Queensland.  As an advocate for wellness both at work, and in her personal life, Joelene sits on the Queensland Law Society Wellbeing Working Committee. Joelene is also closely connected with the local legal profession and is a committee member on the Gold Coast District Law Association (GCDLA) . She mentors other lawyers through the GCDLA mentoring program, GLAD, which she co-ordinates with fellow committee members.       Joelene was pleased to be a finalist in the 2019 Lawyer Weekly Mentor of the Year category and included in the 2020 Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Inspiration List. Joelene’s willingness to give back to community sees her volunteer at My Community Legal and, the Women’s Legal Service Queensland.

Mentoring Matters

My proposal is to discuss the importance and value of mentoring at all stages of your legal journey as a student, PLT/traineeship and in legal practice. I am a coordinator of GCDLA Gold Coast District Law Association Mentoring Program [GCDLA] called Gold Coast Lawyers Achieving Development [GLAD]. The program began in 2016 and has seen nearly 100 participants involved since it began. My proposal is that the presentation looks at the different forms that mentoring can take (i.e. structured/formal, informal and creating or building your own community for mentoring).
I will also discuss the various ways that both mentors and mentees can benefit from being involved in mentoring, with consideration to the following:
1. sharing support and knowledge about legal skills;
2. the importance of emotional support from colleagues, who understand the stresses which are unique to life in the law;
3. how mentoring opportunities may change as your career progresses;

4. the value of having a network of people within your legal community;
5. the variety of issues that can be covered in a mentoring relationship, such as:
(a) appropriate workplace etiquette and expectations;
(b) how to deal with difficult clients or colleagues;
(c) options about a legal career and the steps need to achieve that;
(d) prioritizing wellness in your legal career.
I believe that mentoring is an ongoing part of the lifelong learning for lawyers and is a critical part of creating the wellness and resilience needed for a career in law.

Dr Matt Nichol is a Business Law Lecturer in the College of Business at CQ University.  For over ten years, he has taught law to business students in Australia and Asia.  Matt’s research focus is on the application of regulatory theory and approaches to employment law to sports law.  The research is comparative in nature and examines Australia, Japan and the United States. 

Mind the (Ethics) Gap: Tackling Contract Cheating in Business Law

The prevalence of contract cheating in higher education prompted the Federal Government to introduce the Tertiary Education and Quality Standard Agency Amendment (Prohibiting Academic Cheating) Bill in 2019 and more recently announce plans for an Education Integrity Unit that will focus on plagiarism and contract cheating.  While the latter focuses on deterring, detecting and punishing such conduct, the Act includes both punitive sanctions for those who advertise commercial contract cheating services and a broader framework of responsibilities for TEQSA that include preventing and tackling the use of those services.  However, these measures fail to pay sufficient attention to the role that universities can and should play in preventing plagiarism.  Many law programs integrate explicit teaching practices focused on academic misconduct, and in particular plagiarism, into the law curriculum.  This is in part because findings of academic misconduct may have a significant impact on a law graduate’s application for admission as a lawyer.  This explicit teaching practice is often confined to law students.  What practices should we adopt in law subjects taught to business students, and more generally across business programs, to tackle contract cheating and plagiarism?  Developing high ethical standards in business graduates is not only important to prevent contract cheating and other forms of academic misconduct but also to reflect the fact that many professions, businesses and industries have codes of conduct that regulate ethical standards.  Many of these codes have been revised in response to the recent recommendations by Hayne Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sectors.  What steps can we take to prepare future business for their obligations under these codes?  This paper will explore embedding explicit teaching practices focused on ethical professional behaviour into undergraduate and postgraduate business degrees. 

Rachael is a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Leeds, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in international tax law and domestic employment law. She is part of the Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education, the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence and is also the School of Law’s Director of Student Support, responsible for management and oversight of various support mechanisms within the School including academic personal tutoring. Rachael has a strong interest in equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as the internalisation of higher education, reflected in her current scholarship focusing on staff/student relationships. Prior to academia, Rachael was a corporate tax solicitor within a large law firm and is interested in the relationship and links between legal education and practice, including the professional identity and wellbeing implications of career choices and specialisms within legal practice.

Reverse mentoring in legal education and the legal profession: breaking down hierarchies

The presentation will discuss findings from a pilot reverse mentoring study undertaken between staff and undergraduate international students in a law school setting, reflecting on its potential impact on staff and student wellbeing and what it tells us about how studying law socialises students for legal practice. Reverse mentoring is trialled in this study in an attempt to address challenges associated in particular with international student experiences such as isolation, lack of voice, negative labelling etc., as well as challenges for those teaching and supporting international students. Reverse mentoring flips traditional roles on their heads with the student acting as mentor and staff member as mentee with the intention of educating and empowering both sides and acting as a catalyst for positive change through a transformational learning experience. The project aims to explore the importance of the relationships we build with students as academics and the impact of those relationships on student/staff wellbeing but also to reflect on how building strong relationships with staff may help and support students’ in future legal careers. The presentation will consider some of the data gathered from the project to consider the impact of participation in a reverse mentoring relationship on themes related to wellbeing and community, drawing particularly on issues of hierarchy and identity. Given the increasing use of reverse mentoring within international legal practice, the presentation will also consider how findings and themes from the pilot project may be applied and extended to the wider profession, building a bridge between attempts to promote diversity and inclusion in the university and the reality of the workplace.

Dr Louise Parsons is Associate Professor of Law at Bond University, and Associate Dean (Student Affairs and Service Quality) in the Faculty of law. She teaches Banking and Finance Law and Contract Law, and has published in the areas banking and finance law, legal remedies and legal education (including clinical legal education (CLE) and mooting). Louise is the Director of Mooting at Bond University and has coached and managed many successful moot teams. Louise is also the Deputy Chairperson of the Banking and Financial Services Law Association Academic Committee, and an editor of the Australian Journal of Clinical Education. Louise has received a number of teaching awards, including a Citation from the National Office of Learning and Teaching.

Educating Lawyers for Tradition and Change: Using Applied Technologies to Teach Foundation Property Principles

The professional literature of the legal services industry has for some time been deeply concerned with the effect of digital technologies on the law and legal practice. In law schools, where future practitioners are educated, there has also been a movement to embrace technologies—not least to prepare future graduates for the work they are likely to encounter. Despite what appears to be existing widespread practices of learning, applying, and developing technology-based solutions to legal problems, the reality is different. The spread of technology in the legal profession and legal education is uneven and cannot be said—yet—to represent disruption in the true sense (Christensen, 1997). The legal profession faces the challenge of what some regard as a wholesale updating of knowledge, skills, and practices. At the same time, graduate lawyers need to comprehend the traditions of the law embedded within legal reasoning and the law itself. But it is graduate lawyers who are best placed also to bring new knowledge, skills, and thinking into the profession. The question is how legal education might harness the best of both tradition and change, to achieve this outcome. This paper suggests that without jettisoning the traditions of legal thought or the doctrinal foundation of legal education, it is possible to facilitate law students’ engagement with new and emergent technologies. It uses a case study of a proposal involving a blockchain application in the Torrens system, to illustrate how new technologies might be used as a lens through which to understand theoretical and doctrinal principles. We suggest that rather than detracting from the tradition of core doctrinal knowledge, incorporating technologies into doctrinal subjects embraces the skill of adapting to new technologies. Not only will students be introduced to doctrine and new technologies, but we suggest that the capacity to adapt to new contexts is the sort of disposition at the heart of lifelong learning.

Karen E (KE) Powell is a Senior Lecturer (tax law and legal skills) at Deakin Law School. She serves as the JD Director, and has served as Director of Teaching and Learning at the Law School.  Prior to joining Deakin, she taught tax law and clinical law units in the US.  Karen served as a clinical fellow at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, a leader in experiential clinical education for lawyers. She has also taught at Ohio Northern University School of Law in the area of tax and business law. Her interest in teaching lies in developing a curriculum that provides both rigorous legal doctrinal training, as well as practical legal skills.  After receiving her JD from Stanford Law School, Karen spent 15 years in legal practice as a litigator, administrator, and tax judge before moving to academia.

Building an Online Law Clinic: From Classroom to Cloud 

Aligning the legal education journey by bring practical legal skills training into law schools (wellness and resilience, ethics, professionalism, service learning, new technologies and diversification in legal services delivery) The Deakin Law Clinic serves as a Community Legal Centre serving clients with legal problems in the areas of employment, family, civil and commercial, criminal, and new ventures. Our online clinic project is designed to mirror the student experience of the law clinic, an award winning for-credit WIL experience where law students work directly with solicitors in a supervised service-learning environment.  Research shows less work integrated learning opportunities exist for online and rural and remote students, leaving them less employment ready.  Many of our most vulnerable students study online (low SES, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community members, regional and remote students.)  The Deakin Law School online clinic aims to improve the participation and success of LSES law students by providing a WIL opportunity to build and enhance practical legal skills to increase employability and resilience for our cloud-based low SES students through direct service learning. The goal of the online clinic is to bring these online students together in a connected, authentic manner to work on solving real world legal issues in a forum that takes the needs and stressors of this cohort into account, provides lifelong learning and skills, and transitions a student from school to practice.  The design of the clinic is based on five modules of learning: client centred lawyering, ethical considerations in the workplace, working as a legal professional, resilience and mental health, and written and oral communication skills.  Without physical presence, online design requires careful consideration of the digital classroom to foster authentic student engagement with each other and their service learning experience.  To reflect these challenges, we are working with learning designers, student experience specialists, data specialists and students to create a user-centred approach to designing the clinic space.  This discussion will present the challenges and opportunities of design, discuss timeline and resources invested, and demonstrate the project. 

Toni Rempel is Canadian and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies and a Juris Doctor from the University of Saskatchewan. Toni worked as a civil litigator in Saskatchewan and British Columbia for almost ten years. Currently, Toni is obtaining her Master of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Her focus is on well-being and the legal profession and how reforms in legal education can increase well-being among law students and lawyers. She believes that such educational reforms will result in improved competence, ethics, professional identity, and individual overall life satisfaction. 

Authenticity, Emotions and Ethics

One of the main goals of law school is to produce competent, ethical and professional lawyers and leaders. Yet in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK, it seems an unintended side effect is that law students suffer from mental health problems at a disproportionate rate as compared to the general population and, in general, compared with other university students. Mental health problems often manifest in the first few months of law school and from there, bleed into lawyers’ professional lives. It is uncontroverted that society has entrusted the rule of law with the legal profession. In exchange, lawyers pledge to act with integrity and ethical professionalism. However, law schools have struggled teaching the nuances involved with practicing ethical professionalism. Causation for declining mental health appears to be related to environmental factors including practices, beliefs, and attitudes (aka “lawyer culture”) which are often learned in law schools. Such culture transfers into professional life and seriously undermines individual well-being. I will identify these practices, beliefs and attitudes. It is important to review the history, structure, and purpose of legal education. Explaining this culture and education in terms of emotional understanding, authenticity and mindfulness will improve performance and ethics. Through neuroscience, social science, behavioral science and psychology, it is now known that emotion affects decisions, behavior, motivation and values. Mindfulness leads to emotional awareness and authenticity. Authenticity allows us to act with integrity which is a cornerstone of ethics. Further, integrity fosters trust which is necessary for effective lawyering and leadership. Learning about these areas as it relates to emotional intelligence allows for new ways of thinking and interpreting the world. Practicing mindfulness at an individual and institutional level has the potential to greatly improve law student and lawyer well-being, performance, and professional ethics.

Haydn obtained his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia in 1987 and was admitted to practice in 1988 after completing his articles at Kott Gunning. From the early to the mid 1990’s, Haydn undertook legal work at the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department in the Commercial and Major Assets Disposal Units, General Litigation Unit, and the Revenue Recovery Unit conducting customs prosecutions, tax recovery, corporate receiverships and bankruptcy work before returning to private practice and setting up a sole general legal practice.
From 2007 to 2014, Haydn held various full time academic positions as lecturer and associate dean of Notre Dame University and senior lecturer and academic chair at Murdoch University coordinating, lecturing and tutoring in commercial practice, civil procedure, criminal law and ethics and professional responsibility, before returning to private practice to set up his own firm and become a legal director of two other firms. Since 2019, Haydn has been in a full time academic position as a lecturer in the Curtin law school teaching contract law, forensic advocacy and  administrative law.

Can I criticise with impunity the practices of the University that employs me?

The recent case of Gerd Schroder-Turk v Murdoch University has thrown up questions in relation to the extent to which an academic is allowed to criticise the university at which they are employed. What right, if any does an academic have to criticise the practices of their Australian university? Are there any limits to this right? What can an academic do if their university ‘punishes’ them for such criticism by acting adversely towards them? These questions in turn raise questions as to the existence and nature of any right that an academic has to exercise academic freedom in Australia and the extent to which this right may provide an academic with more protection to criticise their university employers than under whistleblowing legislation and whether this may have undesirable consequences. This presentation explores these questions with particular reference to the effect of the proposed Model Code for the Protection of Free Speech and Academic Freedom recommended by former High Court Chief Justice Robert French as well as Australian whistleblowing laws in protecting academics who speak out against their universities.

Associate Professor Trevor Ryan teaches Legal Theory, Constitutional Law and other classes at Canberra Law School. Trevor’s main research interests are elder law, disability, and legal education, with a comparative law interest in Japan. Trevor has published on a range of topics including dementia, guardianship and private law; the right to housing; and the role of stakeholders in shaping legal education.

‘Isn’t this hard enough already?!’: Teaching skills in legal philosophy

Students approach legal philosophy with a degree of trepidation, assuming that it will be dry, difficult, and distant from practice. This paper explores whether students can be proven wrong on each count by using an approach that embeds skills into the subject. The paper asks whether there are different roles here for vocational-type skills such as contract drafting and case research; skills that are not traditionally regarded as ‘legal’ such as coding, job applications, and desktop publishing; and ‘soft’ skills such as critical thinking, argumentation and communication that are at least implicit in the subject matter. Are skills here best used instrumentally for other learning outcomes? Or should they be strictly aligned to curriculum goals and assessed in their own right? Are there ways to reduce the risk that the associated technological and cognitive demands will alienate or overwhelm students in an already demanding subject? Does a focus on skills devalue and detract from the valuable but intangible content of theory and policy-oriented subjects? Does the large-scale shift to online learning compound these risks or does it provide new opportunities for variety and engagement in synchronous and asynchronous learning? The paper attempts to answer these questions by evaluating the implementation of a skills-embedded approach in two ‘theoretical’ classes at the Canberra Law School: Legal Theory, and Law Reform and Social Change. The paper concludes with some observations on the potential applicability of this evaluation for other law subjects.

Dr Mark Seton is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, The University of Sydney, Australia. He is also an Educator and Consultant for Sense Connexion, which he established to teach savvy resilience to actors and other professionals, such as lawyers and health practitioners, whose capacity for empathy and sensitivity is crucial to their effectiveness and success. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2009 to conduct a study tour of actor training healthcare practices in the UK. Arising from this study, the Equity Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, initiated an internationally ground-breaking Actors’ Wellbeing Study (AWS) in 2013. Dr Seton is a co-founder of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare. He has been a presenter and workshop leader for the Law Wellness Network in Australia.

What we profess and how we serve: Are they the same thing?

The values of the legal professions derive much of their power and credibility from the capacity of lawyers to practice as they have been trained and formed by the field of Law. However, that training or formational process, in its well-intended desire to set the highest standards, can also set up aspiring legal professionals for unendurable stress and possible failure. Professional performing artists are similarly formed to aspire to certain professional values and standards of excellence, while being expected to sacrifice their own health so that the “show can go on”. Emerging research on wellbeing and resilience as it relates to members of the Legal community has found it crucial to relocate these particular values into a context of positive motivation and professional identity in the hope that emerging lawyers will carry this practices and values into their professional lives. Yet, what remains under-examined are the subtle and not-so-subtle forms and actions of resistance to these changes in the culture of the legal profession. Lawyers start out with good intentions and yet the ‘world’ in which they must function seems to compel them to doubt and retreat from such aspirations for workplace wellbeing and resilience - and this retreat can also adversely impact their private and personal lives. Drawing on insights from developmental psychology, contemporary educational theory and adult attachment theory, I will identify key factors that may contribute to how well-intentioned legal professionals self-sabotage both themselves and their colleagues, disrupting the positive changes that they would actually welcome. Such patterns of of ‘immunity to change’ as theorised by psychologist Robert Kegan and educator Lisa Lahey can be gently subverted if professionals are willing to take small, incremental practical experiments to test the beliefs they hold about who they are and what the legal profession means for them and their peers.

Benedict Sheehy is an Associate Professor of Law at Canberra Law School. He holds six degrees, from six different universities, in three disciplines. This broader experience informs his approach to teaching and thinking about law and how it can be framed for ease of access to students.

What to teach when teaching law.

This article aims to provide a framework for law academics to think about their teaching and how it can be developed in a more systematic fashion. It lays out a standard framework which helps focus attention on the concepts that are distinctly legal and the core building blocks for any legal system and the core skills for legal practitioners. It also helps law academics distinguish the conceptual core from the substantive focus on a specific area of law. The article develops on the basis of relationships and then expands to discuss teaching as a matter of emphasising a “Categories, Rights, Duties and Test” conceptual framework.  This set of distinctions facilitates student learning as the students are able to transfer the same conceptual framework between different subjects and strengthen their grasp of law as a practice and an intellectual activity. It provides a challenge to the law teacher in how these frameworks can be implemented in the subjects they teach.

Nicole Siller is a Senior Lecturer (criminal law and procedure) and the Faculty of Business and Law Director of Work Integrated Learning at Deakin University. She has experience in supervising and teaching in both doctrinal and clinical law units in the US, Europe, and Australia. As part of an innovative university led project, Nicole transformed her classroom teaching delivery style to a mixed-medium method integrating cloud-based learning and interactive practical exercises to her units. She is interested in the evolution of legal education and the integration of practical legal education in Australia. Nicole received her legal education in the US, after which she was appointed Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nicole left her position in the US to undertake a doctoral fellowship in the Netherlands evaluating the international laws addressing trafficking in persons. After completing her PhD, Nicole joined Deakin Law School.

Building an Online Law Clinic: From Classroom to Cloud 

Aligning the legal education journey by bring practical legal skills training into law schools (wellness and resilience, ethics, professionalism, service learning, new technologies and diversification in legal services delivery) The Deakin Law Clinic serves as a Community Legal Centre serving clients with legal problems in the areas of employment, family, civil and commercial, criminal, and new ventures. Our online clinic project is designed to mirror the student experience of the law clinic, an award winning for-credit WIL experience where law students work directly with solicitors in a supervised service-learning environment.  Research shows less work integrated learning opportunities exist for online and rural and remote students, leaving them less employment ready.  Many of our most vulnerable students study online (low SES, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community members, regional and remote students.)  The Deakin Law School online clinic aims to improve the participation and success of LSES law students by providing a WIL opportunity to build and enhance practical legal skills to increase employability and resilience for our cloud-based low SES students through direct service learning. The goal of the online clinic is to bring these online students together in a connected, authentic manner to work on solving real world legal issues in a forum that takes the needs and stressors of this cohort into account, provides lifelong learning and skills, and transitions a student from school to practice.  The design of the clinic is based on five modules of learning: client centred lawyering, ethical considerations in the workplace, working as a legal professional, resilience and mental health, and written and oral communication skills.  Without physical presence, online design requires careful consideration of the digital classroom to foster authentic student engagement with each other and their service learning experience.  To reflect these challenges, we are working with learning designers, student experience specialists, data specialists and students to create a user-centred approach to designing the clinic space.  This discussion will present the challenges and opportunities of design, discuss timeline and resources invested, and demonstrate the project. 

B.A (Psych) (Macq), Diplaw (USYD), Grad Dip Legal Practice, Cert Corp Governance (ASC), LL.M (UNSW), Grad Cert Higher Ed (GCTE) (Vic Uni), Public Notary, JP, LREA, Academic at La Trobe Law School Sydney and Victoria University Sydney. Carlo Soliman commenced his career in the media industry and gained over 15 years’ experience at a major Sydney television network. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Oxcom Legal, a commercial law firm in Sydney. Carlo has several years’ experience as a senior commercial and property lawyer and has undertaken complex commercial transactions in both sales and acquisitions. Carlo has experience in the vocational and tertiary educational sector advising private colleges and providers of higher education courses in relation to risk management, compliance and governance issues. He has advised many clients on corporate and trade practices issues. Carlo is a university lecturer, publishes in the area of company, property and business law and has over 10 years’ experience working with domestic and international students.

Rethinking Curriculum Design: the efficacy of Experiential Learning Theory in the Teaching and Practice of Law in the Digital Era

Technology has revolutionised the way information is accessed as well as how tertiary courses are delivered. The exponential growth of tertiary education in Australia and the diversity of courses offered has necessitated a reconceptualisation of course delivery methods. Nowadays students must be equipped with both substantive content, theoretical and practical knowledge as well as generic and discipline specific skills.  This in turn has drawn attention to how institutions teach and assess students. What is lacking is research on the delivery of educational outcomes and their effectiveness to meet the demands of academia and industry. The traditional Socratic method adopted by law schools has drawn some criticism for its focus on teaching theory at the expense of practical skills that can be adapted in the workplace. This has seen a more practical focus on the delivery of courses through the introduction of clinical placements but failed to ameliorate the skill deficit. Accordingly, it is the central contention of this paper that Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) offers a robust approach to curriculum design and implementation that holistically integrates theory and practice. This means moving beyond the mere addition of a clinical placement in a course to a rethink of the role of the law school in the 21st Century from a disseminator of knowledge to an inclusive experiential environment that utilises modern pedagogies for the effective preparation of the modern day legal practitioner.

Rachel Spearing is a barrister at Serjeant’s Inn Chambers in London, UK. Prior to a career at the Bar, Rachel worked in Capital Markets in a US investment bank. In 2014 she attended the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology adding a Masters in Global Risk Management and Criminology to support her work with business. In 2017 she founded the Wellness for Law UK Network, a ‘not for profit’ organisation providing a network of research professionals, clinicians and practitioners to support and share positive practice and initiatives to improve health and wellbeing at the Bar. Appointed a Fellow of Higher Education & Academia in 2016, she has developed bespoke executive education and training for boards and business to facilitate regulatory, due-diligence and monitoring requirements. She was appointed a Senior Consultant to the Singapore Academy of Law and Supreme Court in June 2017 and became a Fellow of the Dispute Resolution Centre at Bond University in 2018. In 2019 she became the Assistant Chief Examiner for Ethics for the UK Bar Standards Board.

Well-being, human flourishing and legal professional identity

Significant numbers of lawyers in Australia and elsewhere report concerningly high levels of psychological distress. Recent work by Spearing and Field has explored the potential role of a positive professional identity in promoting well-being among legal practitioners. The study found that many United Kingdom barristers identify robustly with their profession, but are unable to articulate exactly what this identity means. The present paper builds on this research to propose a substantive theory of well-being in a legal professional context capable of grounding a positive professional identity. We argue that well-being in professional settings is not best understood either as the absence of psychological distress or as the presence of life satisfaction or positive affect. Rather, we build on Crowe’s work in ethical theory to suggest that well-being consists in participating in the various dimensions of human flourishing in a balanced and integrated way. This framework indicates three necessary conditions for a sustainable professional identity for lawyers. First, legal professionals must be able to meaningfully connect their work with underlying human values. Second, lawyers’ work environments must afford them opportunities to pursue these values in their lives in a balanced and integrated manner. And, third, legal workplaces must foster an ethically grounded sense of community with others. We conclude by reflecting on the challenge these requirements pose to some elements of legal professional culture, including its competitive, hierarchical and ethically compartmentalised nature.

 

Reader in Legal Education, Head of the Law Department at the University of Portsmouth and Chair of the Association of Law Teachers. Caroline’s academic career was preceded by a career in legal practice as a Solicitor. Caroline’s primary research area is legal education including experiential learning and more recently she has been investigating how principles of positive psychology may influence well-being of staff and students in Higher Education. Her work has recently extended into examining the links between wellbeing and error in the workplace. She is one of a team of four UK academics who have established a new network in the UK entitled Advancing Wellness in Law ( https://advancingwellnessinlaw.wordpress.com/).   Caroline continues to work with international collaborators investigating the well-being law students, legal academics and junior lawyers.

The impact of Covid-19 on Law Teacher Wellbeing in the UK and Australia

Challenges to the psychological wellbeing of law students and lawyers in the US, Australia and more recently in the UK are now well documented. Law teachers have now been added to this research and an empirical project in the UK and Australia has established that the wellbeing of legal academics is also compromised. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of a recent survey of Australian and UK law teachers asking about the impact of Covid-19 on law teacher wellbeing and effective ways in which Universities can support the wellbeing of staff during the pandemic.  It builds on that research through a series of surveys of law teachers in the UK and Australia on the presumption that law teachers are in a strong position to influence their students not only in relation the development of a clear understanding of the law, but also in terms of supporting the growth of attitudes and practices that will help them to survive and thrive as lawyers. The comparative analysis reveals several differences, but also many similarities, with law teachers in both countries reporting negative effects from neoliberal pressures on legal education programs that impact their wellbeing, performance as teachers and ability to adequately respond to student concerns.

Reader in Legal Education, Head of the Law Department at the University of Portsmouth and Chair of the Association of Law Teachers. Caroline’s academic career was preceded by a career in legal practice as a Solicitor. Caroline’s primary research area is legal education including experiential learning and more recently she has been investigating how principles of positive psychology may influence well-being of staff and students in Higher Education. Her work has recently extended into examining the links between wellbeing and error in the workplace. She is one of a team of four UK academics who have established a new network in the UK entitled Advancing Wellness in Law ( https://advancingwellnessinlaw.wordpress.com/).   Caroline continues to work with international collaborators investigating the well-being law students, legal academics and junior lawyers.

Ethical Imperatives for Legal Educators to Promote Law Student Wellbeing

Why should legal educators be motivated to work to promote law student wellbeing? Why is it our responsibility to intentionally design curricula, pedagogical approaches and extra-curricular initiatives, to seek to prevent a decline in the psychological health of our students and to support their wellbeing? There are many possible justifications for such a responsibility falling on legal academics, although some (if not many) in the legal academy still consider this sort of work as ‘outside the boundaries of our competence’ or ‘non-core business’. In this paper we argue that our responsibility to our students to create learning environments conducive to successful learning creates an ethical duty to ensure that those environments are purposely designed to promote law student wellbeing and to prevent a decline in their psychological health. First, we consider a range of ethical viewpoints, each of which support the ethical imperative to act. Second, we explore positive psychology’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a conceptual framework that can assist with the achievement of curriculum design that can promote the wellbeing of individual students as well as guide the nature of constructive structural and cultural reform in law schools.  Finally, we provide some practical examples of what academics can do in enacting SDT in their law school for the promotion of law student wellbeing and explore with our audience how recent initiatives might be implemented in their own law schools. We consider how we might most effectively be agents for change in our own institutions and for the profession as a whole.   

Bill Swannie is a Lecturer at the School of Law at Victoria University, Melbourne. He holds LLB, BA, and LLM degrees. He teaches human rights law, international law and privacy and media law. From 2016-17, Bill held the role of 'First Year Champion' in the College of Law and Justice, which involved responsibility for coordinating support services for students commencing in the College, and embedding those services in first year units of study. Prior to commencing teaching, Bill was Principal Lawyer at the Tenants Union of Victoria.

Intensive learning and student and staff wellbeing

In 2019, Victoria University moved to teaching all undergraduate units of study (including all LLB units) in a compressed format known as ‘block’ mode. In this mode, students study one unit for four weeks, in small groups. This is very different to traditional 12-week semesters in which students study many units simultaneously and most teaching is done in large lecture rooms. This paper examines block teaching from the perspective of student and staff wellness. When students are required to complete complex research tasks, and prepare for and complete an exam, in roughly a third of the time they had in the past – what impact does this have on students? Does it build resilience and excellent time-management skills? Or does it lead to stress and burnout? How are students with work, family and other commitments managing in ‘block’ mode? This paper also examines the impact on law academics of teaching in intensive mode. Does ‘block’ mode allow enough time to examine complex legal principles at any depth? Do law academics have time to provide proper feedback on student’s work, or to assist students who are struggling? Do law academics have time for research while teaching intensively? This paper examines the impacts of ‘block’ teaching in the light of the CALD guidelines on promoting law student well-being and particularly the emphasis placed on evaluating the workload expectations of students. It also examines these impact from the perspective of self-determination theory, which emphasises the importance of personal autonomy, competence and relatedness. This paper argues that intensive ‘block’ teaching may undermine these values, particularly when it is implemented in a rigid and inflexible manner.

 

Kirsty Unger is an Associate Lecturer in Business Law in the College of Business at CQ University.  She currently teaches Taxation Law at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to business students. Before joining CQU, Kirsty worked for the Australian Taxation Office in both compliance and law interpretation roles. Kirsty is also a current PhD student with a research focus on automation in government decision-making.

Mind the (Ethics) Gap: Tackling Contract Cheating in Business Law

The prevalence of contract cheating in higher education prompted the Federal Government to introduce the Tertiary Education and Quality Standard Agency Amendment (Prohibiting Academic Cheating) Bill in 2019 and more recently announce plans for an Education Integrity Unit that will focus on plagiarism and contract cheating.  While the latter focuses on deterring, detecting and punishing such conduct, the Act includes both punitive sanctions for those who advertise commercial contract cheating services and a broader framework of responsibilities for TEQSA that include preventing and tackling the use of those services.  However, these measures fail to pay sufficient attention to the role that universities can and should play in preventing plagiarism.  Many law programs integrate explicit teaching practices focused on academic misconduct, and in particular plagiarism, into the law curriculum.  This is in part because findings of academic misconduct may have a significant impact on a law graduate’s application for admission as a lawyer.  This explicit teaching practice is often confined to law students.  What practices should we adopt in law subjects taught to business students, and more generally across business programs, to tackle contract cheating and plagiarism?  Developing high ethical standards in business graduates is not only important to prevent contract cheating and other forms of academic misconduct but also to reflect the fact that many professions, businesses and industries have codes of conduct that regulate ethical standards.  Many of these codes have been revised in response to the recent recommendations by Hayne Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sectors.  What steps can we take to prepare future business for their obligations under these codes?  This paper will explore embedding explicit teaching practices focused on ethical professional behaviour into undergraduate and postgraduate business degrees. 

Elyse Wakelin is a Principal Lecturer at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, England.  As the Student Experience Manager, she is responsible for the personal tutoring scheme for undergraduate students at Nottingham Law School. Through this role, Elyse has developed a keen interest in research in student wellbeing in legal education, in particular the role that pastoral support and personal tutors play in the student experience and has presented on the topic at a number of UK based conferences, including SLS in September 2019. Elyse is currently finalising a journal article on how to improve personal tutoring for both staff and students.

The raising pressures on pastoral care and support for students in legal education: how to deal with this growing concern to get it right for staff and student.

In highlighting the changes in demands on the support provided by personal tutors as part of the wider university support network, this paper aims to identify how to improve the personal tutor experience for both the personal tutor and the student. Drawing upon the experiences of personal tutoring at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, England, this paper explores the importance of the personal tutor in the student experience and the impact it can have on a student’s wellness, as a strategic tool for student retention, academic support and development, pastoral care and progression. However, there is an increasing pressure on university staff in the role of personal tutors to deal with the increasingly complex support needs of students. The challenges on staff to deliver an effective personal tutorial system and areas for improvement are identified.  An analysis of the data gathered in this project provides context for the actions taken as a result of this research. These actions were taken with the aim of providing guidance to staff that will improve the quality of personal tutoring delivered at Nottingham Law school and the support students receive. The limits to the project are also examined.  The paper concludes with recommendations for personal tutoring in the future and sets outs the scope for future projects on the topic.

Dr Jacqueline Weinberg is the Academic Director of Springvale Monash Legal Service, Lecturer in Law and Clinical Practice Supervisor in Monash Legal Practice Programs, Monash University. Jacqueline has been committed to education and academic pursuits for over 30 years and has attained graduate and post-graduate qualifications in the areas of legal education and clinical legal education. Her PhD explored the teaching alternative dispute resolution in Australian clinical legal education. Her areas of research include dispute resolution, student wellbeing and the links between technology and the law in enhancing access to justice. Jacqueline has presented at numerous conferences both internationally and within Australia, including the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conferences, The National Wellness for Law Forums and the ADR Research Network Roundtables.

The Impact of Invigilated Examinations on the Wellbeing of Law Students

Research has indicated that law students suffer from mental health issues in greater numbers to the general population. For some time, academics have been researching the causes of poor mental health among law students and the consequent impact. As a result of these studies a number of suggestions have been made to address mental health concerns among law students. Invigilated examinations are one of the traditional methods for assessing law students. Anecdotally, invigilated examinations taken over a short period of time ‘the exam period’ have been blamed for heavily contributing to the poor mental health of law students. In 2017, a group of researchers from the Law Faculty at Monash University decided to test this proposition. An empirical study was conducted aimed at testing the mental health of a large group of law students some time before the commencement of the exam period and immediately before this period. This paper presents the findings from this study. The paper concludes that while invigilated examinations may have an influence on law student wellbeing, it is not the only factor. Drawing upon other research in this area, suggestions are made as to various strategies for assessing law students, which may reduce the negative impact on student mental health. It is envisaged that these strategies will result in an improvement in the mental health of law students.

Bree Williams is a Monash University doctoral candidate, researching legal writing education using Therapeutic Jurisprudence. Her research is about connecting the design and application of the law in teaching with concepts of voice, validation and voluntary participation. Her teaching experience areas range from litigation, dispute resolution and foundational legal skills, to Indigenous student success. Bree’s professional experience began with private legal practice in Queensland and Victoria followed by Professional Support Lawyer roles in social justice and litigation practices. Her research is also informed by work as Senior Editor/ Developer of the Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, along with other online legal products. She holds Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Global Communication, Grad Dip Legal Practice and training qualifications.

Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Legal Education: how legal writing education can enable students to adopt an approach to practising the law in a more humanised way.

This presentation will explore the ways that Therapeutic Jurisprudence (‘TJ’) can underpin humanised legal education. A TJ approach enables future lawyers to construct a deep, authentic understanding of how to adapt their legal skills to meet the needs of their clients and the community. A case study of legal writing education will be used in this presentation to show that the anti-therapeutic impact of legal writing can be minimised if future lawyers are aware of what impact their writing can have on their clients and the broader community. An informed teaching approach to legal writing can use a TJ framework to create socially responsive teaching methods that also enhance the range of voices in legal education. TJ offers a framework that examines the design and the application of laws in an interdisciplinary way. Clear, humanised, non-adversarial styles of legal writing can be developed using that framework. This is part of any lifelong prioritisation of the wellbeing of people impacted by the law. 

Barry teaches in the practical legal training online program (GDLP) at the ANU School of Legal Practice.  Barry convenes Commercial Practice and Consumer Law, and blogs on topics drawn from his research project on issues such as attitudes to commercial law, work life balance, resilience, pop culture and legal ethics in corporate culture.  Barry is also a casual sessional at James Cook University, where he teaches first year law students at its Cairns campus.  Barry has also practised as a lawyer in public and private practice.

The (a)synchronous semester: Reflections of asynchronous teaching online, synchronous on-campus teaching, and virtual synchronous teaching, with references to Netflix, theatre and cinema.

Higher education teaching in semester one this year was significantly disrupted due to the outbreak of COVID-19, leading to a major re-alignment of pedagogy.  Drawing on the presenter’s diverse teaching experiences in that tumultuous “(a)synchronous semester”, this presentation will compare asynchronous online teaching in a practical legal training program in one university with lecturing first-year law students at another university, where the synchronous face-to-face teaching rapidly transformed to synchronous online teaching.  With reference to the developing literature on “zoom fatigue”, along with analogies to Netflix, theatre and cinema, the presentation will critique the perceived homogeneity of online teaching in light of the presenter’s expanding connections with students in a rapidly changing online environment.

Ken Yin is a lecturer at the school of business and Law, Edith Cowan University.  He was admitted to practice in 1984 and retired in 2013. He worked primarily from the Western Australia Bar, practising in commercial litigation, and appeared as counsel frequently in the Supreme and District Courts of Western Australia and in the Federal Court of Australia. His research interests are contract law and legal logic. He is the primary author of the legal logic text, Kenneth Yin & Anibeth Desierto Legal problem-solving and syllogistic analysis: a guide for foundation law students (LexisNexis NSW 2016), in use in numerous universities in the common law world, and which has been attracted favourable reviews in England, continental Europe and Australia. His talk today is essentially an insight into some of the underlying pedagogies in his text. Ken is also the author or co-author of numerous journal articles on legal education and contract law, mostly in ‘A’ ranked snf blogs frequently in legal education and contract law. He follows the English Premier League and irrationally supports Tottenham Hotspur.

The teaching of stare decisis in first year legal studies – a pedagogical blind alley?

Translated literally, stare decisis means ‘to stand on what has been decided’.  This translation does little to inform the reader of the underpinnings of the doctrine or the veracity or otherwise of the various approaches to the teaching of the doctrine, particularly to foundation law students. The question in the title to this paper is addressed in the following order: first, by proffering an explanation of the basic concept of stare decisis; second, by exploring the rationalisation for the doctrine; third, by exploring various milestone approaches to the doctrine applied in the course of common law reasoning, including which what is often called the ‘orthodox approach’; fourthly, by exploring challenges to this orthodoxy. Following a discussion to these challenges to the orthodoxy, the paper advances the proposition that the most appropriate approach to stare decisis is that it is a process whereby legal principle evolves via common law argumentation, a concept sometimes described as ‘the arguable character of the law’. The paper accordingly advances the proposition that the orthodox approach to the teaching of stare decisis is deficient, and that the focal point of the doctrine is not a search for principle, but rather is a dynamic process whereby the common law evolves through a process of argumentation. It is suggested that the first-year legal education curriculum be modified to recognise the dynamics of this process.

Brenda Yuen is a first generation Chinese Canadian who was born and raised in a small town in the province of Saskatchewan. She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law, in 2011. She was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2012. Thereafter, Brenda worked in both private practice and in the non-profit sector for CLASSIC Inc. She also serves as a volunteer board member for the Saskatoon Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Brenda’s research interest is in the area of mental health and trauma as it relates to sex assault law. She is currently working towards her LL.M (Master of Laws) at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law. She will complete her thesis under the supervision of Professor Sarah Buhler.

On Trauma and the Law

Most lawyers would agree that the practice of law is a career fraught with stress, immense pressure from various sources, and a sometimes persistent feeling of never having quite done enough in a day’s work. My paper discusses one of the root causes of this issue, that being trauma or vicarious trauma. Trauma is defined as the result of either a singular event that causes the sufferer to feel a threat to life or safety, or the impact of very stressful events that cause one’s sense of security to shatter. Such events can happen repeatedly in childhood, when a child learns that her feelings are not valid to her caregiver, for example. They can also happen in adulthood, such as having experienced the horrors associated with war. Applying this definition to the practice of law, my paper explores the ways that the general public in North America considers trauma, and why our current understanding of it needs to be expanded upon. I explore the history of trauma, the physical health implications of unaddressed trauma, and then consider how this impacts the practice of law, our clients, and a lawyer’s job satisfaction. Further, trauma can negatively compromise a lawyer’s ability to provide objective legal advice to their client. This has the potential to undermine the legal system and the profession as a whole. Trauma affects all of us and is, thus, a public health issue. As law continues to evolve, knowledge about trauma must be a key stepping stone to furthering the profession. This would be in the best interests of lawyers, clients, and our community overall.