Galloway: Legal education in a digital context

Kate Galloway, LL.M., of James Cook University has posted Legal education in a digital context, at Curl.

Here are excerpts from the post:

[…] In this post I will develop the idea of digital literacy in the law curriculum. I will explain what I think it might mean as a broader context for the study of law: as a lens through which to develop knowledge, skills and attributes central to the discipline. […]

Law as information management

Rather than an adversarial process arguing substantive rules, the law is perhaps better conceived of as a form of information management. The courts and their processes are concerned with the discovery, evaluation, sharing and withholding of information. Legal practice (which is in fact largely transactional and not litigious) involves processing client information and repackaging it in the genres of the law. Central to the lawyer’s role is maintaining the secrecy of client information.

These processes and the ideas they reflect were born in a paper-based era, a time when the text of the law was itself available only to the lawyer. These ideas reflect, as the IT Countrey Justice so convincingly points out, an analogue or paper-based understanding of information and relationships. However this no longer represents social and economic life and we need to develop a new understanding of the law and its information processes.

Digital domains

To expand on this idea, the task becomes one of explaining what might be called digital domains within the knowledge, skills and attitudes at the core of the discipline of law. My preliminary thoughts are that for the purposes of curriculum design, this can be represented in six domains[: Research, Information Management, Problem Solving, Substantive Law, Law Reform, Personal and Professional “Branding” …]

An immersion curriculum

Putting these ideas together, I believe it possible to develop an ‘immersion’ law curriculum using digital literacies as an organising context. A scaffolded approach to knowledge, skills and attitudes is an essential part of the contemporary law curriculum. This can be done through embedding appropriate knowledge about digital practice in the substance of the law, and critical approaches to technology, its promise and its limitations. Students should have the opportunity not just to learn through digital tools but to engage in supported reflective practice around their use, developing a professional persona that will equip them to engage in the law of the future […]

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT @katgallow

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