Centre for Legal Education

In June this year, as a Nottingham Trent University Senior Fellow, I facilitated three workshops/roundtables at Nottingham Law School. The overarching themes for the three workshops was around the imperatives for ‘New Approaches to Lawyering’, to better meet the needs of community into the future. Each session had a very different focus and participant group.

The first session examined health justice partnerships and multidisciplinary practice and law clinics, the second looked at alternatives to the sometimes-problematic adversarial system and the final workshop/roundtable examined the future of legal education.  Using a deliberative, democratic style, the sessions were designed to facilitate conversations so that participants could share insights, expertise, experience and ideas by way of facilitated conversation points and positioning in the most recent research and commissions of inquiry.

The workshops explored ways forward and canvassed problem-solving approaches and restorative practice and holistic and responsive client centred approaches. The impact of each workshop included actioning ideas for future action in the UK, including new cross sector collaborations and plans for change. These were recorded and have been shared amongst participants who formed the groups and they will no doubt come together in future exploring some of the initiatives that were suggested.

Many thanks to the Nottingham Law School (NLS), Centre for Legal Education and Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families who hosted the event. To Professor Jane Ching and the NLS team who helped formulate and coordinate and note take the sessions and the Events Team.

Dr Liz Curran, Associate Professor, ANU School of Legal Practice, ANU College of Law

13 July 2018

Building collaborations locally -Applying a health justice partnerships model to law clinics (20th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to those involved in clinical legal education but also to those in the advice, health and justice sectors.  Dr Curran will lead dialogue around the concept of multidisciplinary clinics to enhance student learning and to reach the socially excluded who trust community workers by allowing them to access legal advice through the health sector.  The objective of the event is to advance and build relationships and identify some actions with a view to broadening and operationalising relationships and modes of clinic interventions that might be useful.

The event is hosted by the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available.  Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

 

 

Alternative ways to approach legal problem solving and disputes to the adversarial process to seek justice (25th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to academics and practitioners in the justice and conflict resolution sectors and particularly in family and domestic violence support, as well as those with a particular interest in problem-solving and restorative justice. Dr Curran will lead dialogue around alternative approaches to lawyering, including therapeutic, problem solving courts; neighbourhood justice centres, conflict conferencing, round table dialogue and facilitation; inquisitorial. It will focus on family law and areas of law that intersect with family law problems,  such as care and protection of children, family violence, self-representation, poverty flowing from separation and abuse that often emerge.

The objective of the event is to bring together a range of academics, professionals and practitioners to look at alternative options given recent universal acknowledgement of the harms, costs and complex processes of the adversarial system.  New approaches will be shared by experts in academia and practitioners that might be less problematic and traumatic for participants in the process. e.g. family law, institutional abuse, family violence and so on

The event is jointly hosted by the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families; and the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available. Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

 

New approaches to lawyering and the implications for legal education: equipping our students to meet the changing world (27th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to students, academics, employers, regulators and professional bodies and careers advisors in the legal sector and in sectors where a legal background is an advantage. Dr Curran will encourage participants to share teaching experiences and innovations that meet the needs of students and move them into employability in the modern age.

The event is hosted by the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available. Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

Our 2020 conference was long in the planning, and we were devastated in the spring of 2020 when it became obvious that a face to face event was not going to be possible.  By then, however, we had gathered together a fascinating group of papers and participants from around the world.  So, with the support of the school and our supporters, we reconvened on a more intimate basis, with papers delivered in shorter morning and afternoon sessions across the week of 22nd to 26th June 2020.  Despite the challenges, discussion was vigorous and ongoing links have been made.

Opening and closing remarks were given by Associate Professor Graham Ferris and Associate Professor Jane Jarman, and an inspiring keynote on Measuring Impact through Research into Access to Justice Service Delivery and Legal Education Initiatives was delivered by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University.

UK participants came from Nottingham Law School and from NTU’s School of Social Sciences as well as Birmingham, Hertfordshire, Leeds, OU and Sheffield. International participants – often braving differences in time zones to join us – represented Australia, Egypt, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the USA.  Our group included people at all stages of their careers, and with interests in both academic and vocational education.

It was clear that both impact and wellbeing are concerns across the globe in legal education, and that people are pushing forward in their practice in both making and measuring impact and in incorporating wellbeing into the curriculum and communal life of law schools.  The challenges vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the drive to improve is shared, as is an urgent concern with the consequences of heavier reliance upon information technology for educational delivery.

Impact is of course a quality assessed in the UK’s REF, but as was clear from Liz Curran’s keynote that it is far more.  It is an aspiration, and can best be both achieved and measured if research is collaborative, engaging with community research partners from the stage of design, through the research investigation and beyond into the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the effects of the research.  There is impact inside and outside the academy and impact through research and through legal education.

The impact of legal education is where the role of impact and the role of welling connect.  Incorporating a concern with wellbeing in the curriculum, whether through attention to “soft skills” or collaborative inquiry, or experiential learning, or through building relationships was one theme.  A second was incorporation of what is known about activities and attitudes and wellbeing into legal education which has sometimes been characterised by an unhealthy individual competitiveness and instrumentalism. However, it was recognised that many of the pressures facing our students are generated outside the academy.

Thus, the concern with wellbeing joined once more the concern with impact both inside and, crucially, outside the academy.  As legal educators we are preparing our students for a life beyond the university.  As legal researchers, we are trying to make sure that world is one that is fit to receive them.

Taher Abouleid: The Impact of Legal Education on the Legal Profession in Egypt

Gabor Andrasi: Expected but not taught? Teaching management at law schools in Hungary and the U.S.

Peter Benbow and Richard Machin: Promoting wellbeing through social work legal education

Jane Ching: Aligning the agenda, the investigatory model and the impact in legal education reviews

Liz Curran (Keynote): Measuring Impact through Research into Access to Justice Service Delivery and Legal Education Initiatives

Carol Edwards and Liz Hardie: The Challenges and Rewards of Setting up a Mentoring Programme in the Virtual Environment

Graham Ferris: Does legal education build or degrade resilience?

Neal Geach and Claudia Carr: The Wellbeing of University Law Students and Staff

Hossam Hassan: The Role of Legal Clinics in Legal Education’s Development in Egypt: the model from Mansoura Law School

Emma Jones: Commonalities and commodities: Reflections on developing a wellbeing resource for legal professionals

Rachael O’Connor: Lawyer Identity and Personal Wellbeing 

Geo Quinot: Legal Education in Community: collaborative legal education, an ethic and pedagogy of care and Ubuntu

M.S. Sharmila: Towards an Integrated Legal Education: a conscious way of strengthening the well being of lawyers and law students in India 

Helena Stoop: The use of Blended Learning to Support Student Wellness: experiences teaching Company Law at the University of Cape Town

Following our post in March, we thought long and hard, but finally came up with a way of allowing all those who had worked hard on the event to participate.  Using a series of Microsoft Teams events, spread across this week, we were able to hear from most of the people who had submitted abstracts, as well as engage in vigorous discussion both orally and through the “chat” function.  We are also indebted to our keynote speaker, Dr Liz Curran, and to all the speakers and other participants.  As we normally then share at least some elements of our conferences on this website, working out how best to do that will be our next challenge.  Stand by!

Online programme and abstracts 18062020

We have a really exciting set of panels and papers for the conference scheduled for 19th-20th June here in Nottingham, with contributions from many parts of the world.  We are delighted to have Rachel Spearing, co-founder and chair of the Wellbeing at the Bar project as one of our keynote speakers and Dr Liz Curran, of Australian National University, as the other.

Draft programme and abstracts 11032020

Places can be booked here.   We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will keep you informed about any effect on the conference.  We are at present investigating possible ways of using IT to allow those who cannot travel to participate remotely.  Please contact us at CLEConference2020@ntu.ac.uk if you have any queries.

 

In 2015, a special edition of the Nottingham Law Journal celebrated the outputs of our 2014 international conference, Value of Legal Education.

We are delighted to continue this tradition in the newly published Volume 27(2).  This is guest edited by Pamela Henderson and our Visiting Professor, Pat Leighton, provided the editorial. Contributions from the UK, Ireland, Australia and the USA drew on our 2015 and 2017 international conferences, Access to Justice and Legal Education and Legal Education, Legal Practice and Technology.

Simao Paxi-Cato and Yvonne McDermott set the ball rolling with Simao’s stirring keynote speech from 2015 on the links between legal education and access to justice for the disadvantaged.  Liz Heffernan, Jennifer Spreng, NLS Visiting Senior Fellow Liz Curran and Jenny Gibbons then provide a fascinating range of insights into those links across four different jurisdictions.

From the technology perspective, Ann Thanaraj considers how law schools can prepare students to work in an increasingly technological environment and Jenny Kemp considers how linguistic corpora can be used to enhance law students’ learning.

A link to this edition is available here: https://www4.ntu.ac.uk/nls/document_uploads/nlj-vol-27-2-2018.pdf

Look out for announcements about our next international conference, scheduled for summer 2020.  With the REF in our sights, we will be focussing on the different kinds of “impact” legal education and research into it can have.

 

Building collaborations locally -Applying a health justice partnerships model to law clinics (20th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to those involved in clinical legal education but also to those in the advice, health and justice sectors.  Dr Curran will lead dialogue around the concept of multidisciplinary clinics to enhance student learning and to reach the socially excluded who trust community workers by allowing them to access legal advice through the health sector.  The objective of the event is to advance and build relationships and identify some actions with a view to broadening and operationalising relationships and modes of clinic interventions that might be useful.

The event is hosted by the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available.  Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

 

 

Alternative ways to approach legal problem solving and disputes to the adversarial process to seek justice (25th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to academics and practitioners in the justice and conflict resolution sectors and particularly in family and domestic violence support, as well as those with a particular interest in problem-solving and restorative justice. Dr Curran will lead dialogue around alternative approaches to lawyering, including therapeutic, problem solving courts; neighbourhood justice centres, conflict conferencing, round table dialogue and facilitation; inquisitorial. It will focus on family law and areas of law that intersect with family law problems,  such as care and protection of children, family violence, self-representation, poverty flowing from separation and abuse that often emerge.

The objective of the event is to bring together a range of academics, professionals and practitioners to look at alternative options given recent universal acknowledgement of the harms, costs and complex processes of the adversarial system.  New approaches will be shared by experts in academia and practitioners that might be less problematic and traumatic for participants in the process. e.g. family law, institutional abuse, family violence and so on

The event is jointly hosted by the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families; and the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available. Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

 

New approaches to lawyering and the implications for legal education: equipping our students to meet the changing world (27th June)

This facilitated discussion by Dr Liz Curran of Australian National University will take place from 14.30 to 16.30 with post event informal discussion until 18.30.

The event will be of interest to students, academics, employers, regulators and professional bodies and careers advisors in the legal sector and in sectors where a legal background is an advantage. Dr Curran will encourage participants to share teaching experiences and innovations that meet the needs of students and move them into employability in the modern age.

The event is hosted by the Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Law School and is free to attend.  Light refreshments will be available. Places are limited so the organisers would appreciate it if anyone who has booked but is later unable to attend advises them of this so that the place can be released.

index

Access to justice is increasingly significant as public funding of legal services is reduced. Research has consistently shown that huge numbers of those with multiple legal problems do not access effective legal help.

On Monday 22nd November we were delighted to play host to a fascinating and uplifting research seminar given by our visiting scholar, Dr Liz Curran from Australian National University.  Liz has led a number of projects evaluating the work of organisations which place lawyers in the premises of health providers.  Health staff act as trusted intermediaries for disadvantaged patients, arranging for them to see the lawyers on site about their unmet legal needs, including family violence, debt and housing.  In addition, these professionals can consult a lawyer about the legal process and better support their patients/clients which builds professional capacity of the health staff. This not only helps patients address their legal problems, but relieving the legal problems has a postive effect on their health.

The session, which also involved a powerful discussion, was attended by law school and NLS legal advice centre staff and students (including LLM Health Law), as well as colleagues from social sciences and participants from local NGOs.

A moving video about the effect of the health justice partnership approach

Liz’ powerpoint slides

National Centre for Health Justice Partnerships in Australia

Medical Legal Partnerships in the USA

Health Justice Partnerships toolkit

 

 

 

We are delighted with the success of our second academic conference, informally known as CLE15 held on 19-21 June 2015. Focused around the concept of “access to justice”, participants were invited to be creative, and many were extremely innovative, including drama, interactive workshopping, and participation by videoconference from the other side of the globe. In addition, friendships and links were forged, in sessions and in more informal activities (which included a dinner at the ground of the world-famous Nottingham Forest soccer club).

We enjoy the Nottingham Forest ground

Keynote sessions anchored and challenged the audience, including sessions by Amerdeep Somal, NLS alumna and last year’s Nottingham Trent University Alumna of the Year; Professor Janine Griffiths-Baker; Simao Paxi-Cato of Invictus Chambers and Young Legal Aid Lawyers and Professor Ron Staudt from Chicago on innovative ways in which US law students have worked to provide legal resources and templates for use by the public. Professor Pat Leighton of the Legal Education Research Network provided rousing closing comments encouraging participants to follow up their innovations and ideas by exposing them to rigorous research and critique.

Participants came from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Fiji, Hungary, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Turkey, the UK and USA. Details of the conference recorded live as it unfolded can be found at paul.maharg.com and received in the region of 700 views.

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We were delighted to host our first conference, the Value of Legal Education, on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February 2014 at Nottingham Trent University.

You can find out more about the first conference here.

The centre was formally launched in May 2012.  You can find out more about other events hosted by the centre in 2012 and 2013.

Our second conference, Access to Justice and Legal Education, took place in June 2015.

Our third conference in June 2017, Legal Education, Legal Practice and Technology (which also marked the centre’s fifth anniversary) was also livedblogged  here.

We held a number of events in 2018, including a series of seminars with our Visiting Senior Fellow, Dr Liz Curran.

Our fourth conference,  on Impact and Wellbeing, held online over the week of 22-26 June 2020, investigated the impact of legal education, legal education research and wellbeing across the legal professions and academia.