Educating law students for rural and regional legal practice: embedding place consciousness in law curricula

Article


Kennedy, Amanda, Mundy, Trish, Nielsen, Jennifer, Hart, Caroline, Coverdale, Richard, Mortensen, Reid, Smith-Ruig, Theresa and Macken, Claire. 2014. "Educating law students for rural and regional legal practice: embedding place consciousness in law curricula." Legal Education Review. 24 (1), pp. 7-28. https://doi.org/10.53300/001c.6282
Article Title

Educating law students for rural and regional legal practice: embedding place consciousness in law curricula

ERA Journal ID17315
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsKennedy, Amanda (Author), Mundy, Trish (Author), Nielsen, Jennifer (Author), Hart, Caroline (Author), Coverdale, Richard (Author), Mortensen, Reid (Author), Smith-Ruig, Theresa (Author) and Macken, Claire (Author)
Journal TitleLegal Education Review
Journal Citation24 (1), pp. 7-28
Number of Pages22
Year2014
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
ISSN1033-2839
1839-3713
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.53300/001c.6282
Web Address (URL)https://ler.scholasticahq.com/article/6282-educating-law-students-for-rural-and-regional-legal-practice-embedding-place-consciousness-in-law-curricula
Abstract

As with other professions, the declining rates of recruitment and retention of lawyers in rural and regional Australia is of significant concern. Whilst the causes
of this vary between communities, common depictions of the rural and regional lawyer’s role indicate that employment as a lawyer in such areas is characterized by unique personal and professional challenges. Nonetheless, employment as a rural and regional lawyer also offers practitioners rewarding opportunities and
lifestyle benefits. Research from other disciplines indicates that the challenges inherent in rural and regional professional practice may be alleviated, and benefits more easily harnessed, via place conscious discipline-specific curriculum that sensitises tertiary students to, and prepares them for, the rural and regional career context.

Largely oriented towards substantive content to satisfy external accrediting bodies, undergraduate legal education does not typically acknowledge the ‘places’ in which graduates will practice as professionals. This article argues however that there is scope to incorporate place within legal education, and documents an innovative curriculum development project which embeds place consciousness to better prepare law students for employment in rural and regional legal practice. Drawing upon methods from other disciplines, the project team designed a
curriculum package which aims to sensitise students to the rural and regional legal practice context, and equip them with the skills to overcome challenges and take
advantage of the opportunities available in a rural or regional professional career.

Keywordslegal education, rural and regional legal practice
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480505. Legal practice, lawyering and the legal profession
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

Copyright in each article remains with each author and the Review. The authors of articles appearing in the Review have granted permission for copies of articles to be made for classroom use provided that copies are distributed at or below cost, the author and journals are identified, notice of ownership of the copyright is affixed and the Review is notified of the use.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of New England
University of Wollongong
Southern Cross University
School of Law and Justice
Deakin University
La Trobe University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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