Centre for Legal Education

The fifth meeting of the Nottingham Law School Legal Education Group was held on Friday 27th November 2009. The LEG, led by Becky Huxley-Binns and Jane Ching, engages in research in legal education and as a result aims to raise the profile, internally and externally, of the teaching quality within Nottingham Law School. This meeting was billed as focussing on two subjects “different legal cultures inside and outside the academy and the profession(s)” and “broadening the curriculum, existing and possible usages of multidisciplinary aspects at all levels”. Participants shared their experiences of working with students from other disciplines (art and design, business, forensic science) and their different approaches to empirical investigation and problem-solving – in some respects thought to be superior to that of law students. The clinic exposed students to diagnosis, prognosis and a bit of treatment and students often wanted to have more definitive answers to problems than their practitioner supervisors felt that there were: more uncertainty in the real world than in the academy. Mooting undergraduates often find it hard to take a position and formulate an argument. Discussion then moved on to the place of negotiation skills in legal education (and as a general transferable skill for those who might not go on to work in the legal services sector): whilst there were pockets of activity, it had been removed from the LPC and, although there was reference to it in the current training contract regulations, it did not appear explicitly in either the WBL or day one outcomes (it was possible that A level law syllabi were more explicit about ADR than some other stages of legal education). Students participating in preparation for the ICC mediation moot (see below) expressed shock that negotiation involved techniques that could be learned. Clearly negotiation skills and their place in legal curricula can inform further debates and, as the legal services sector broadens under the Legal Services Act 2007, can contribute to the employability agenda.