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The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Internationalisation of Legal Education

The Future Practice of Law

Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock

The legal academy is responding in many varied ways to the challenge of producing lawyers adequately prepared to operate in a global environment. There is a renewed focus on lawyering skills, on core principles, on cultural context and on comparative research and study. This work advances the discussion of these issues while developing solid solutions and approaches to teaching law students destined for the future practice of law.

Chapter 12: If only I knew then what I need to know now: Lessons from the future

Rowan Russell

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, legal philosophy, legal theory


Over the last three decades the nature of legal practice has changed significantly. I will illustrate this by reference to my experience with the changing scope and scale of Mallesons’ practice since the early 1980s. Then I will offer my views as to the knowledge and skills one needs today to be prepared for the changed practice of law in a large international firm. I agree with those who argue that the role of a law school is not only to teach the science of the law but also to prepare a student for life as a lawyer. If preparing a student for the profession of the law is one of the roles of the law school, one needs to understand the realities of legal practice in 2012 to determine what needs to be taught as part of the curriculum at law school. It also needs to be understood by law firms, local professional societies and continuing legal educational institutions as part of their ongoing educational programmes. My comments are aimed at dealing with life as a lawyer in a large international firm, although of course, there are many other ways lawyers engage in practice. There are also many law students who do not practise law at all following graduation, and many who work in the profession for only a short period.

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