The Australian Academy of Law and The Australian Law Journal presents
The Future of Australian Legal Education Conference 2017
The opening plenary session held in the Federal Court of Questions from the audience during the opening plenary session
Australia’s Ceremonial Court Room
The keynote speaker was Professor Martha C. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed to the Law School and Philosophy Department, University of Chicago. She spoke of the need for law students to have a broad based education, in areas ranging through political science, economics, sociology, and political philosophy in order to be lawyers who could think critically about society and guide it productively, particularly in an era of threatening populism.
The conference provided a forum for an informed and often vigorous debate on the future of legal study and practice in Australia. Topics included the impact of digital technology on teaching, learning and legal practice, the elements of a ‘good’ lawyer, what are the purposes and goals of legal education, pedagogy and its outcomes, Professor Martha C. Nussbaum providing her keynote address
enhancing access to, and indigenous engagement in, legal education; experiential learning; and the interaction of law across disciplines and international borders.
President of the Australian Academy of Law, Participants during a break Emeritus Dennis Pearce AO addressing
the Hon Kevin Lindgren AM QC, addressing the audience conference participants
Speakers eminent in the law and legal education included Emeritus Professors Dennis Pearce AO, Sandford Clark AM, David Barker AM, John Farrar, and Rosalind Croucher AM, the new Chair of the Australian Human Rights Commission; the Hon Michael Black AC QC; the Hon Nicholas Hasluck AM QC; Justin Gleeson SC and Alan Cameron AO.
The Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC spoke insightfully, and entertainingly, at the conference dinner held at NSW Parliament House, including accounts of her early student days at the University of Queensland.
A closing session on the future of legal education was chaired by the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG with speakers including Justice Alan Robertson, Fiona McLeod SC, Professor William MacNeil, Chair, Council of Australian Law Deans, Dan Trevanion, the President of the Australian Law Students Association and Professor Nussbaum.
The Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC speaking at the Conference Top row: the Hon Kevin Lindren AM QC, Wendy Lindgren, Bran
Gala Dinner in NSW Parliament House Black, Stuart Clark AM, Narelle Clark; Bottom row: the Hon Chief
Justice Diana Bryant AO, the Hon Justice Francois Kunc, the Hon
Justice Virginia Bell AC, Professor Martha C. Nussbaum, the Hon
Michael Kirby AC CMG
The conference was sponsored by the AAL and by the ALJ publisher Thomson Reuters, and supported by the Law Council of Australia.
A detailed report on the issues raised at the conference is being prepared for publication in the ALJ, under the editorship of Justice Francois Kunc.