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The delivery of legal services is undergoing rapid and deep change. Technology, client expectations, service delivery models outside the conventional law firm approach and generational change have all transformed the legal profession. There is increasing recognition of the ways in which Australia’s legal systems have been built on a foundation that systematically erases Indigenous Law and perspectives. Future lawyers need to be able to understand and respond to these challenges and to develop new understanding, skills and approaches to their work.
This subject will examine current and future changes in the delivery of legal services and legal work and identify and develop key skills and approaches that graduates will require to succeed professionally and personally in their future working lives and to achieve justice for clients and communities. Students will critically examine the structural barriers to access to justice and legal empowerment that are created by both traditional legal service provision models and lawyers’ skillsets.
Students will engage with current literature on the future of legal work, the changing role of the lawyer, navigating complexity, building creativity, empathy and emotional intelligence, indigenous cultural competency and safety, intercultural understanding, unconscious bias and personal and professional wellbeing and resilience. Underpinning this approach is the recognition that students need to understand and articulate their own standpoint and develop their awareness and capacity to engage respectfully, effectively and safely with others.
This subject will have a substantial experiential learning focus. Students will develop a deeper appreciation of the need for and process of professional identity formation, the role of reflective practice, giving and receiving feedback and peer support in enhancing personal wellbeing and as part of a sustainable practice in the law.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject students will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of current and future trends in legal practice and the changing role of the lawyer and to be able to critically analyse, reflect on and synthesise approaches to the delivery of legal services, access to justice and legal empowerment
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the key skills and approaches that graduates will require to succeed professionally and personally in their future working lives as key members of the legal system including the development of empathy and emotional intelligence, indigenous cultural competency and safety, intercultural understanding and the positive development of professional identity
- Understand and be able to practice enquiry of self and others as a means to explore diverse points of view and produce optimal outcomes
- Understand and be able to navigate complexity, develop creativity, practise peer support, give and receive feedback and implement reflective practice and to understand its role in supporting professional competence and personal wellbeing and resilience in the practice in the law
- Thinking skills, including the ability to gather information, understand interests and context (including interpersonal), apply knowledge and engage creatively and thoughtfully with complex concepts;
- Applied research skills, including the ability to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues in a complex and dynamic environment;
- Legal practice skills, including a sophisticated understanding of new modes of legal practice and the role and capacity of lawyers to serve the community, and cognitive and technical skills relating to the generation and provision of legal advice and information attuned to client needs;
- Presentation skills, including being able to present arguments and claims that are clear, appropriately structured, developed, supported and referenced;
- Personal, interpersonal and professional skills, including empathy, emotional intelligence, collaboration, learning autonomously, being accountable for one's work and reflective practice;
- Skills required for effective workplace performance, such as communication, time management, co-worker collaboration and organisation;
- The ability to learn from encountering different perspectives, and to recognise the extent to which their own beliefs, values and experiences inform their understanding of legal practice;
- The ability to listen respectfully to, and read about, Indigenous accounts of Indigenous law and settler law, and to reflect on one's own assumptions and experiences of law in light of Indigenous knowledge and methodologies.
Last updated: 31 January 2024