Title: New Approaches to lawyering – Imperatives for changes in legal education’ – interactive.
Lead Presenter: Elizabeth Sara Curran
Session Abstract: This paper will explore the need for new approaches to teaching would be lawyers. This paper will briefly flag some of the presenter’s recent research on people’s poor experiences of lawyers and the legal process. This research, which provided a voice for those who are rarely heard or asked, reveals an inadequacy in legal education. If subjects are taught in silos and by case law they produce legal technicians and ignore the critical role of problem solving that should be part of a lawyer’s remit. Litigation has its place but is not enough especially given the gaps in legal assistance services. New ways of strategically solving problems not just of individuals but whole communities exist. Multi-disciplinary partnerships, interdisciplinary clinics, problem solving courts, therapeutic, conferencing, empowerment through community development, engagement in decision-making, justice reinvestment, impact on cultures of colonial and adversarial practices, story-telling, restorative justice including conflict are other ways of doing justice but are rarely taught. These are becoming imperative if the rule of law and human rights are to ever override powerful sectional, well-resourced interests that can be at odds with social justice. The introductory discussion will describe some of the actions and activities in courses the presenter has been involved in and explores a pilot interdisciplinary clinic on which the presenter is advising. The paper aims to share ideas but also to garner different experiences of using the models mentioned above in other jurisdictions and how courses can be taught that develop these skills in future lawyers, and community to promote social justice. The session will be interactive as the presenter will facilitate a discussion and will ask delegates to: 1. Share their views on this Abstracts premise 2. Ask participants for their own critical reflections about the power and role of legal education to transform not just students but communities and the potential for future work in all countries with legal educators and non-government agencies to reach those currently excluded and to defend the values of justice. 3. Share any barriers and how these were overcome (each country will have its own issues- resources, class sizes, regulation preventing changes in curriculum or admission requirements). 4. Share ideas of their own experiences in trying to enable new approaches to lawyering in existing curriculum 5. Share any innovations and 6. Share any teaching materials with any links that might be available.
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See full list of abstracts here.