More to law than practise: ANU’s Thornton calls for diversity in courses

Less than half law graduates work in private practice, so why do all of Australia’s 40 law schools teach the Priestley Eleven subjects admission authorities require, ANU’s Margaret Thornton asks.

“A liberal legal education that focuses on critical thinking, values, principles and ethics in the context of diverse curricula offerings undoubtedly provides a superior education for law students, as well as constituting better preparation for a range of positions in a context of dynamic and uncertain social change,” she argues in a new essay in a collection on law reform from the excellent ANU Press.*

And she suggests separating admission and academic requirements, with a national exam for graduates who want to practise.

This might not be the easiest sell to all legal academics. One of the criticisms Deakin law school staff made of their former dean’s broad approach to curricula was whether all the international academics he hired could teach the Priestley Eleven (CMM January 20).

*Ron Levy, Molly O’Brien, Simon Rice, Pauline Ridge and Margaret Thornton (eds) New Directions for Law in Australia: Essays in Contemporary Law Reform (ANU Press @ )


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