Rediscovering Law Students as Citizens - Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education

McGee, Jeffrey, Michael Guihot and Tim Connor (2013) ‘Rediscovering Law Students as Citizens: Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education’ 38(2) Alternative Law Journal 77

8 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2013

See all articles by Jeffrey McGee

Jeffrey McGee

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law

Michael Guihot

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Tim Connor

University of Newcastle (Australia) - Newcastle Law School

Date Written: June 5, 2013

Abstract

In a series of publications over the last decade, Australian National University Professor Margaret Thornton has documented a disturbing change in the nature of legal education. This body of work culminates in a recently published book based on interviews with 145 legal academics in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada. In it, Thornton describes a feeling of widespread unease among legal academics that society, government, university administrators and students themselves are moving away from viewing legal education as a public good which benefits both students and society. Instead, legal education is increasingly being viewed as a purely private good, for consumption by the student in the quest for individual career enhancement. Whilst Thornton’s work thoroughly describes what she calls the ‘neoliberal turn’ in law school education, less is said about appropriate and available strategies that academics might take to reassert the public value of legal education. In this article, we focus on the teaching of critical thinking as a means by which this public value might be reasserted.

Keywords: legal education

Suggested Citation

McGee, Jeffrey and Guihot, Michael and Connor, Tim, Rediscovering Law Students as Citizens - Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education (June 5, 2013). McGee, Jeffrey, Michael Guihot and Tim Connor (2013) ‘Rediscovering Law Students as Citizens: Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education’ 38(2) Alternative Law Journal 77, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319223

Jeffrey McGee

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

Michael Guihot

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Tim Connor (Contact Author)

University of Newcastle (Australia) - Newcastle Law School ( email )

1 University Drive
Callaghan, 2308
Australia

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