The Power of Law Schools to Shape Legal Futures: An Antipo-Dean View

The Power of Law Schools to Shape Legal Futures: An Antipo-Dean View
The Power of Law Schools to Shape Legal Futures: An Antipo-Dean View

Principal speaker

Professor Kim Economides

All professions, according to Abel, struggle to control the market for their services, and in the case of law through controlling the production of lawyers as well as the work carried out by lawyers. Australian law schools currently exist in a knowledge economy subject to regulation by diverse stakeholder interests (TEQSA, AQF, LACC etc) that, in different ways, purport to maintain ‘quality’ yet constrain both the freedom of academic lawyers to imagine and determine choices for their own, and their students', futures.

In this seminar I argue that professionals inside the legal academy, particularly in Australia, fail to check a ‘creeping core’ curriculum, or educate their stakeholders to see that legal skills and knowledge are best nurtured in the context of an educational continuum. While Australia is leading the way in establishing new and relevant standards for modern law schools (ALSSC), arguably too much academic autonomy and judgment has been surrendered when it comes to monitoring those standards.

If self-regulation is jealously guarded by legal professions, who rightly claim independent lawyers and judges are vital for the preservation of the rule of law and a free society; I argue that academic autonomy – that tolerates experimentation, failure and innovation in both law teaching and research - is no less important for the future of both the academic and practising branches of legal profession, and the society they claim to serve.

About the speaker - Professor Kim Economides

Previously, Professor of Legal Ethics (2000-09) and Head of Law (1999-2004); Director, Exeter University Centre for Legal Interdisciplinary Development (EUCLID) (1989-93) and Acting Director, Centre for Legal Practice, (2005-06), University of Exeter, Devon, UK; Professor of Law and Founding Director, Legal Issues Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2009-12). Before arriving in Exeter in 1979 Kim studied law in London and was one of the first researchers at the European University Institute in Italy where he worked on the Florence Access to Justice Project (1976-79).

His subsequent career has focused on access to justice and policy-oriented law reform in which he applies socio-legal, interdisciplinary and comparative methods to explain legal behaviour, with particular reference to civil disputes, professional regulation, rural legal services, legal education/skills and legal technology. Apart from the academic study of legal ethics, he has pioneered novel collaborations between law and management studies, and law and geography

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