Law School's Role
Law schools recognise that their role is to prepare law graduates for both domestic and international legal practice
- Internationalisation does not mean an abandonment by law schools of their continuing responsibility to prepare lawyers to practise domestic law for domestic clients. Despite the significant impact on legal practice of internationalisation, it is probably true to say that, even now, the majority of matters handled by the majority of Australian lawyers are purely domestic in nature. However, it is also true that the legal services market in Australia is increasingly becoming an integral part of the international legal services market and therefore, ‘preparing lawyers to practise domestic law’ should be viewed as ‘preparing lawyers to practise domestic law in an international legal services market’.
- What is required above all else of a lawyer, whether he/she practises in a domestic or an international matter, is the same:
> Knowledge – A deep and conceptual understanding of the legal principles in the core areas of the law.
> Skills – An assured ability to use intellectual skills in working with that law – such as critical analysis, research, statutory interpretation, problem-solving and persuasive and cogent writing.
> Attributes – an awareness of the client and others – their needs and expectations, their culture and attitudes.
- Hence an internationalised law curriculum can provide the high quality legal education which both domestic and international practice require as:
> students gain a deeper and more rounded understanding of Australian law by the inclusion of comparative perspectives from other jurisdictions, and the stretching of their mind to see law in operation in different jurisdictions, cultures and political settings.
> the intellectual skills needed in international practice are exactly the same as those needed for domestic practice – and both forms of practice require they be highly developed.
- In summary, the approach required for the preparation of law students for domestic and international practice is the same: and the addition of the international aspect only operates to increase the depth of understanding, the level of intellectual skills performance, and the depth of understanding of the perspectives of those involved. Such improvements are as much in the interests of high quality domestic legal services as they are in the interests of international practice.