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ALTA Conference at Bond addresses changes in legal workplace and education

Bond University on the Gold Coast has hosted approximately 150 representatives from more than 40 Australian and international institutions at a three day Australasian Law Teachers' Association conference, which it says was one of the most successful held so far by ALTA.

The conference was themed Thriving in Turbulent Times: Re-Imagining the Roles of Law, Law Schools and Lawyers.

Professor and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University, Dr Nick James, said that the key issues explored by delegates at the conference were the future of legal practice and legal education and the changes that law schools need to make to keep pace with the changing legal workplace.

“It is a turbulent time for the discipline of law,” he said.

“Law schools are being subjected to ever increasing levels of regulation and pressure to change what and how they teach.

“Law students are finding it harder to secure jobs, and are questioning the value of the law degree. Lawyers are being forced to rethink the way they practice law and their approach to legal problems.”

Dr James said the old ways of doing things in law no longer seemed to work and traditional roles and structures in law, legal education and legal practice are being questioned. However, he said this crisis is also an opportunity: an opportunity to embrace change, to reimagine the roles of law, law schools and lawyers, and to recreate ourselves as something new and better.

The conference examined the many challenges confronting law today, and some of the exciting solutions that may change the face of law tomorrow.
“Over the two days of the conference we discussed how educational institutions must better prepare tomorrow’s lawyers for operating in a global legal environment and how they need to produce lawyers who are equipped to provide solutions rather than just identifying problems,” he said.

“We looked at the challenges facing the legal fraternity and how law schools must adapt to produce workplace ready legal graduates who are equipped to cope with the fast changing environment.”

Dr James said the feedback from delegates at the conference was extremely positive. The event is held annually, but it was the first time it had been held at Bond University.

Key speakers at the conference included leading national and international law academics, corporate counsel and practicing lawyers: 

  • Queensland Law Society Chief Executive Officer Noela L’Estrange. 
  • Professor Stephen Mayson who, from his base in the UK, for more than 30 years has advised law firms around the world on strategy, economics, ownership and valuation.
  • Carly Roberts, Australian Corporate Counsel for InterGen, a global power generation company with assets in Europe and North America and over 1700MV of generation in Australia.
  • Professor Margaret Thornton, Professor of Law and ANU Public Policy Fellow of the Australian National University.
  • Greg Vickery AO. Former President of the Queensland Law Society, long term Chairman of the Society’s Legal Education Committee and Special Counsel with law firm Norton Rose Fullbright Australia.
  • Professor Eddie Blass, Executive Director of Learning Innovations Hub at University of New England.
  • Professor Sandee Magliozzi, the incoming Associate Dean of Experiential Learning and current Director of Professional Development and Externships at Santa Clara Law School, USA.
  • Kate Galloway, a senior lecturer at James Cook University School of Law.
  • Dr Nick James, Professor and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University.
  • Clinical Associate Professor Terri Mottershead, the Director of Professional Legal Training at Bond University.
  • Jamie White, owner of award-winning law firm PodLegal, practising in intellectual property, technology and social media law.

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