Innovation in Clinical Legal Education - Educating Future Lawyers

Introduction: Clinical legal education and training for the future
Bronwyn Naylor and Ross Hyams

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Lawyers and ethics in practice: The impact of clinical and ethics curricula on lawyers’ ethical decision-making

Adrian Evans and Josephine Palermo

The authors have conducted a longitudinal study exploring the relationships between values and ethical behaviour for early-career legal practitioners. The study comprised a representative Australian cohort of final-year law students and tracked them through their first two years of employment or further study. It examined changes to ethical decision-making by presenting participants with hypothetical scenarios that provided ethical dilemmas. A questionnaire utilising hypothetical situations was presented in 11 scenarios. This chapter examines responses to the scenarios across the three years of the study, particularly exploring changes over time. Of particular interest were the effects of gender and prior ethics education on changing responses. Findings suggested significant differences between males and females in their ethical responses. They also suggested that involvement in clinical practice, in particular during the law degree, may have a positive impact on future willingness to assist access to justice (insofar as such lawyers were more inclined to participate in later pro bono activity).

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The James Hardie case and its implications for the teaching of ethics

Suzanne Le Mire

In 2004 Australia’s corporate scandal involving the James Hardie restructure began to dominate the headlines. As the Special Commission of Inquiry into the restructure was able to gain access to the notes of some of the practitioners involved we have an unusually complete picture of the way the events unfolded. This chapter examines the role of the lawyers in the conception, implementation and defence of the James Hardie scheme. It argues that the lack of enforcement of the rules of conduct and the evident absence of an ethical culture within large firms makes this prominent case vital for the teaching of legal ethics to future legal practitioners in all jurisdictions.

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Human rights as the ordinary work of clinics

Alison Vivian and Anna Copeland

This chapter examines the use of human rights in clinical practice. In doing so it critiques the traditional view of human rights as purely an international framework and instead links it to the social justice work undertaken by legal clinics across the country. Using the experiences and perspectives of clinical students it challenges clinical legal programs to embrace and use human rights in their everyday work.

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Clinical buddies: jumping the fact–law chasm

Ross Hyams

This chapter suggests a way to capitalise on the enthusiasm of students in their first year of law and arrest its decline in later years. It suggests a ‘buddy system’ between first year students and those participating in a clinical program who are usually in the later years of the degree. It argues that such a system has benefits for both the students and staff of introductory legal units, for the clinical programs and for the clients of clinical programs. Such a system would also go some way to ‘humanise’ the legal system for new students, building a bridge across the abyss that divides ‘law as taught in the lecture theatre’ from law as experienced in the profession’, thus enabling students to jump the fact–law chasm.

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Service learning and staff development: a two-way mirror of reflection

Michael Blissenden

Service-learning is a well recognised teaching methodology. It involves encouraging and facilitating students' involvement in settings where they can apply academic knowledge and previous experience to meet community needs and reflect on such placement. For such a program to succeed teaching staff will also need to embrace the teaching pedagogy. This chapter examines this issue in the context of a service-learning program in Australia, namely the Tax Help Program. It focuses on the impact of the program on staff development and argues that it is essential for teaching staff to also be involved in reflective practice.

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Compensating sexual assault victims: the development of a specialist legal clinic

Fay Gertner and Carolyn Worth

The authors discuss the development of a specialist legal clinic, run by law students as part of their clinical legal education subject, and obtaining compensation awards for victims of sexual assault.

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Putting the boot on the other foot: prisoners, law students and theatrical method in clinical community development

Bronwyn Naylor and Sharon Jacobson

This chapter discusses a community development-based program for remand prisoners about preparing for court, and the significance of experiential learning for both individuals and groups. Legal services for the homeless in Adelaide Margaret Castles Adelaide Law School has a thriving clinical legal education program, incorporating law school run clinics and externship placements. As part of this program, Adelaide’s first legal advice service for the homeless was set up by the law school in 2005. This chapter discusses our goals in setting up a legal service for homeless persons, and tracks the successes and challenges experienced so far.

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Legal services for the homeless in Adelaide

Margaret Castles

Adelaide Law School has a thriving clinical legal education program, incorporating law school run clinics and externship placements. As part of this program, Adelaide's first legal advice service for the homeless was set up by the law school in 2005. This chapter discusses our goals in setting up a legal service for homeless persons, and tracks the successes and challenges experienced so far.

Price: $8.80

Training new lawyers: reflections and future directions for training Victorian lawyers

Gaye Lansdell and Rachel Chrapot

This chapter comments and reflects on a report released by the Victorian Attorney-General in September 2006 reviewing legal education in Victoria that relates to pre-admission training for graduates seeking to enter legal practice. It seeks to explain the necessity for the formulation of objectives and outcomes for pre-admission training in order to meet the changing needs of the community and the legal profession. In this respect it draws on the Victorian Law Institute’s articled clerk survey and other training initiatives in other jurisdictions which have been established to meet competency standards. The main objective is to explain how the proposed changes that come into effect from 2008 will impact on key stakeholders: law firms, practical legal training (PLT) providers and students and to express the view that the recommendations should be regarded as a positive step forward in the training of legal professionals. Recognising that employers may not immediately embrace the new system of training, the authors focus on the benefits for employers and students alike.

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A 2020 vision of clinical legal education in Australia

Jeff Giddings

In 1984, the Journal of Legal Education published an article by Anthony Amsterdam entitled ‘Clinical Legal Education — A 21st Century Perspective’ which outlined his vision for clinical legal education in the USA from ‘the enlightened 21st century’. This chapter attempts to provide a similar prediction from an Australian perspective. It considers the significance of a broad range of factors on the sustainability of clinical legal education in Australia. It considers where clinics have come from and where they might go in 13 years between now and 2020, looking at some developments that might happen, some ‘wish-list’ items as well as other changes that clinic teachers may fear will come to pass, such as the closure of some law school clinics, the increasing skills focus of some remaining clinics and attempts to export clinic legal education models without understanding the importance of local conditions.

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