Teaching Law

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Legal education in a digital context

Technology of the past? Or for the future?*

In my last post, I reflected on the future of legal education. I focussed on the importance of learning law in broader contexts and one of those contexts I called digital literacy. It was this idea that attracted the most attention on Twitter, and one that I am starting to work with in our own curriculum.

While I am not an expert in digital technologies, I am interested in thinking progressively about the law and justice, and consequently about legal education. Others are expert in digital pedagogies, e-publishing, legal informatics, information visualisation, altmetrics, coding, e-discovery, intellectual property, e-commerce, e-research and the future of legal practice. I seek to draw together these spheres of thought to develop a coherent discipline-specific and overarching rationale for digital literacies to inform the law curriculum.

In this post I will develop the idea of digital literacy in the law curriculum. I will explain what I think it might mean as a broader context for the study of law: as a lens through which to develop knowledge, skills and attributes central to the discipline.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The future of legal education

Are lawyers prepared for the future?*

At the 2014 Australasian Law Teachers' Association conference, I will be participating in a plenary panel discussing 'Creating a Better Future for Legal Education'. In this post I outline some of my thoughts on this topic, in the hope that readers might share their own views and challenge my own.

My focus here will be on where I would like legal education to go in the next 10 years, and what changes legal academics need to make now to achieve that vision. In short, in my view legal education must challenge the existing silos of doctrinal specialisation and embrace the broader context of the law. This aligns with calls to break down barriers between university disciplines themselves, to deal with the 'big problems'.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Educating the legal profession about gender

'The woman lawyer will bring justice to her profession'*

The recently released NARS Report is the latest in a long list of studies of the pervasive sexism in the legal profession. It makes a number of excellent and practical recommendations to facilitate women's engagement in legal practice and consequently their retention and advancement.

There are various arguments for the retention and advancement of women practitioners - from gender equality, to sustainability of the profession, to the administration of justice. Despite this, and the decades of recommendations on equality, the legal profession remains as sexist as ever.

This period of mounting awareness of sexism as a problem has coincided with what Thornton regards as a prevalence of the corporatized law school. This has accompanied the scaling back of the critical project as a feature of legal education, including gender perspectives in law. At the same time in higher education more broadly, women's studies as a discipline have been wound back.

In light of what seems to be an urgent issue for the profession, is it now time for legal education to integrate gender into the curriculum?