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

Kennedy, Amanda and Mundy, Trish and Nielsen, Jennifer and Hart, Caroline and Coverdale, Richard and Mortensen, Reid and Smith-Ruig, Theresa and Macken, Claire (2015) Educating law students for rural and regional legal practice: embedding place consciousness in law curricula. Legal Education Review, 24 (1-Feb). pp. 7-28. ISSN 1033-2839


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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: 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.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 05:09
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2016 02:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: legal education, rural and regional legal practice
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180121 Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

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