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Bond boosts Centre for Professional Legal Education with merger

July 12, 2017

Bond University Executive Dean of Law, Professor Nick James with Emeritus Professor David Barker and Professor Michael Adams of Western Sydney University

Bond University's Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLE) will receive a boost, after this week merging with its Sydney counterpart - the longest-running centre of its kind in Australia.

Under the merger, the resources and records of the Centre for Legal Education (CLE) – established in 1992 by the Law Foundation of New South Wales and later based at the University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University - will be transferred to the Gold Coast-based CPLE at Bond, allowing it to continue the Centre's highly-regarded research.

The move coincides with Bond University launching an Australia-first graduate program for legal academics – the Graduate Certificate in Legal Education - aimed at advancing legal education outcomes at higher education institutions.

The CPLE, which is the largest centre of its kind in Australia, was formed at Bond University in early 2016 to conduct research into professionally focused and skills-based legal education, and deliver legal training programs.

Bond University Executive Dean of Law, Professor Nick James, said the merger with the CLE would strengthen the Centre’s research capabilities. 

“The CLE has been a highly-credible research centre for 25 years, so when we were approached about a potential merger, we saw it as an opportunity to continue, and fortify, that legacy,” he said. 

“The CLE has produced instrumental research into legal education, including a study in the 1990s  into the career destinations of law students. It found that approximately 50 per cent of law graduates utilise their legal skills in other professions, rather than practising law – a statistic that is still widely cited today.

“We look forward to reviewing and expanding on that research, among other projects, as we build on the work of Australia’s oldest legal education research centre and Bond University's long-standing national and international reputation for excellence in the teaching of law.”

The CLE will be subsumed into Bond University’s Centre, providing its team of 25 academics and professional associates with access to historical records, resources and research projects.

Since its inception, the CPLE has produced numerous academic publications and conducted a number of legal education research projects, which have culminated in the introduction of a new program - the Graduate Certificate in Legal Education.

Professor James said the program would build on the skills of academics already teaching law at universities around Australia, along with legal training providers, Master of Laws students, high school legal studies teachers and law firm human resources staff.

“The Graduate Certificate will be run as a part-time program with four subjects completed over four semesters, to be delivered online and through intensive, on-campus classes, allowing individuals Australia-wide the opportunity to participate,” he said.

“The decision to develop and offer the Graduate Certificate was informed by research conducted by members of the CPLE into the teaching of law.  

“The program will provide a detailed exposure to contemporary legal education, including a number of challenges specific to the discipline that have emerged in recent years and impacted the way in which law is taught, such as the disruption of the legal services sector as a result of technology.,

“The program will also include an examination of the issue of law student wellness, equipping academics with the knowledge needed to help build student resilience and combat the higher risk of stress, anxiety and depression experienced by members of the legal profession.”

The Graduate Certificate is now open for enrolment, with the program to commence from Bond University's September 2017 trimester.