Legal Education Digest
In This Issue
Professor David Barker AM
(2006) 14(Spec Ed) Legal Education Digest 2
Readers will have noticed that there have been a number of changes with regard to this issue of the Legal Education Digest.
The most important difference is that there is the first change of Editor since 1994. Dr John Nelson the Foundation Editor has decided to lay down what previously would have been his pen but what is now his keyboard!
John has guided the Digest through the first fourteen years of its publication and has been responsible for the establishment of the high standards of presentation for which the Digest has become renowned.
Subscribers will also be aware that it has been many years since there has been any increase in the cost of the Digest. The Co-Directors of the Centre for Legal Education, when faced with the decision of dealing with the inevitable increase of costs of publication to which all journals are subject, decided to reduce the number of issues for each volume from four to three. This has meant that the subscription will remain the same for at least the duration of 2007. Future issues will be published therefore in March, July and October of each year, with volumes in the future being numbered on a calendar year basis.
And so to the contents of this Special Edition of the Digest, which is only included in the Vol. 14 subscription.
Clinical Legal Education continues to feature prominently in the Digest. Weigold has focused on a major hindrance relating to the enforcement of the attorney-client privilege rules which has arisen in respect to the hands-on training of law students in the United States. On a more positive note under this subject heading, De Brennan re-visits the involvement of law students on a pro-bono basis in the delivery of legal services, whilst Millemann and Schwinn examine the way in which legal research and writing can be incorporated into the practical development of students’ skills in the first year of the law degree.
Under Evaluation, Christudason examines student feedback in order to improve the quality of teaching law to non-law students. Christudason discusses the methods employed to ensure optimal participation rates from students in the feedback exercises.
Suffering from post-tenure blues, Cassidy provides readers with an exposé of teaching law, under Legal Education Generally, and lists the reasons why they love teaching.
Teaching Methods and Media is also covered extensively in this edition of the Digest. Using experience in the use of technology in undergraduate LLB Programs at the City University of Hong Kong, Chui outlines the benefits of a virtual learning environment. In contrast, Christensen provides an analysis of how law students learn in the context of case analysis. Having set up a peer mentoring program at the University of Newcastle Law School, Finlay-Jones and Ross detail both the positive outcomes achieved as well as some of the more difficult aspects of the program. Finlay-Jones and Ross note that the peer mentoring scheme was of great assistance to first-year law students who often find their first year isolating. Finally, under Teaching Methods and Media, Glennon guides the reader through the methods adopted during the thirty years of teaching National Security Law.
Under Criticism and Context, Franklin, as a teacher of law, argues that the role of theorising at every level of legal pedagogy must be considered seriously. For some time law schools have looked at the question of why some students thrive under standard law school teaching while others have struggled. A method adopted by Franklin and some law schools is to offer supplementary teaching for developing effective techniques required by law students. Also under Criticism and Context, Twining, one of the United Kingdom’s most distinguished law educators and jurists, restates the argument espoused in ‘Taking Facts Seriously’ that the subject of evidence, proof and fact-finding deserves more prominence in the discipline of law.
Under Skills, Conley Tyler and Cukier outline research which is demonstrating new and innovative ways for teaching negotiation skills to law students. Conley Tyler and Cukier have devised nine key lessons for this. Formulating these nine lessons from an array of authors, Conley Tyler and Cukier examine each lesson, indicating how those practices best promote student learning.
Margolis and DeJarnatt examine the issues surrounding the growth of Legal Writing and Research under Learning Styles. Solutions to some of the problems constraining the growth of Legal Writing and Research can be found in their comments regarding the successful Legal Writing and Research Program at Temple University. The study traces the progress of the first-year students here from the allocation of their first assignment in the very first orientation week to their final assessment.
As always it is hoped that the experiences of these authors will give readers an insight into the various contexts in which legal education can operate.