Category Archives: Education

Preparing Law Graduates for Practice in Rural & Regional Australia

Recently the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching has been working on a project entitled ‘Rethinking Law Curriculum: Preparing law graduates for practice in rural and regional Australia’.  This project, a collaboration between staff from six Australian law schools, has produced a substantial curriculum package which may be utilised by law schools to better prepare graduates for employment in rural and regional areas.

Research by the Law Council of Australia in 2009 highlights several concerns with respect to the recruitment and retention of lawyers in rural and regional communities, particularly in attracting young lawyers to long-term positions. The available literature indicates that rural and regional legal practice is characterised by distinct contextual challenges, including professional isolation, high visibility within the community, and limited access to supervision and resources. Graduates not adequately prepared to deal with such environments are unlikely to remain in rural or regional areas, or even seek such opportunities in the first place.

Prompted by research in other disciplines which indicates that the university curriculum can more actively contribute to the preparation of graduates for professional careers in rural and regional Australia, the project team created a curriculum package which aims to sensitise law students to the unique practice environments in rural and regional Australia, and develop the necessary skills for a fulfilling rural or regional legal practice career. The curriculum package is an open-educational resource which may be re-used for free under a creative commons licence, and includes engaging learning materials and activities. It is suitable to be taught as a stand-alone unit on rural and regional legal practice, or may be easily separated into discrete modules which can be incorporated into existing units of study. The curriculum package is available in several formats, and comes with comprehensive user instructions for presenting the materials in online learning management systems.

Further information about the project and the curriculum package can be found in this brochure.  You can also visit the project website at: http://www.rrlen.net.au

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email feedback@rrlen.net.au.

Posted by Jen Mitchell

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