Professor Melissa de Zwart, Dean of Law, presented as part of a special session on the impact of technology on the future of legal education at the 122nd Annual Meeting of American Association of Law Schools (AALS), held in San Diego 3- 6 January.
A group of Australian legal educators were invited by AALS Section on Technology, Law and Education to host and present an interactive workshop (a first for the AALS Annual Meeting!!!) to highlight the challenges and opportunities presented to Law Schools by the changing nature of student learning styles and the legal profession in the digital age. Most US Law School are still firmly wedded to the Socratic method of teaching, but with the challenges to professional opportunities and career paths flagged by Richard Susskind and others, and the increasing variety of modes of digital legal tools available to the legal profession, the workshop asked if this was the best way to prepare our students for their future careers?
Prof de Zwart co-presented with others from Australia, including Prof Kathy Laster (VU), Gary Cazelet (Uni of Melbourne), Judith Mc Namara (QUT) and Prof Michael Stuckey (VU), as well as Prof David Thompson (Uni of Denver Sturm College of Law) and Prof Michele Pistone (Villanova University).
The participants were highly engaged by the learning activities and commended the panel on a novel approach to engaging with our students. This meeting provided the foundations for further dialogue and co-operation on legal education matters between US and Australian legal academics.