LAWS90102 Persuasion and Advocacy

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2017:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start 05-Apr-2017
Teaching Period 03-May-2017 to 09-May-2017
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 09-Dec-2016
Census Date 03-May-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 26-May-2017

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here.
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29-33 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.

Subject Overview:

Lawyers need to persuade many different audiences, including their clients, their opponents, their employers and employees, juries, the courts and others. This subject will help lawyers to persuade more effectively, through a mixture of theoretical and practical approaches. Students will read widely about advocacy, persuasion and influence, including from empirical studies and research from disciplines other than law (such as psychology). Students will also develop their practical skills in both written and oral persuasion, led by a very experienced teaching team: Noah Messing from the Yale Law School (and author of The Art of Advocacy), Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth from the Supreme Court of Victoria and experienced commercial barrister and teacher David O’Callaghan QC.

Principal topics include:

  • Leading theories of persuasion, in the law and generally
  • Empirical research into the persuasion of judges, other lawyers and lay people in a legal context (including juries and clients)
  • Empirical research into other instances of persuasion
  • Cognitive biases and how the law does—and should—react to them
  • The balance between ethics and persuasiveness
  • Developing a generalised theory of persuasiveness and how various actors reach various decisions
  • Different ways to practically apply those theoretical approaches.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Develop an advanced and integrated understanding of the theories of persuasion
  • Be able to critically identify and assess the effectiveness of different techniques of persuasion on different audiences
  • Have developed at an advanced level their oral and written advocacy skills
  • Become more adept at weaving together ethos, pathos, and logos in their oral and written work
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging issues in this area
  • Have acquired skills to be able to build and counter arguments even more quickly by practicing persuasion in mock-crisis situations
  • Gather feedback from the instructors and from peers about what arguments and approaches are effective or ineffective
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Oral individual presentation, on an allocated day during the teaching period (10 - 15 minutes) (15%)
  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (85%) (23 - 26 June 2017)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: law.unimelb.edu.au
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution
Graduate Diploma in Government Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Laws
Master of Private Law
Master of Public and International Law

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