The Future of Legal Education in the 21st Century

(2020) 41(1) Adelaide Law Review 243.

24 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2021

See all articles by Daniel Goldsworthy

Daniel Goldsworthy

Deakin Law School; Melbourne Law School

Date Written: 2020


Technological progress will continue to fundamentally alter how we relate to each other and to our work, necessarily shaping the future of legal education. In considering its future direction, this article contemplates various perspectives regarding the purpose of legal education, and the pressures that may be brought to bear on pedagogical practices as a result of current and emerging technologies. Situating these considerations within the broader commentary regarding the future of work and the role of human beings in an age of automation, this article argues that the nature and type of skills taught to future lawyers, as well as the substantive knowledge relevant in the 21st century, will depend upon the irreducible value of human beings to the law and legal processes. Tasks that require creativity, complex reasoning or social intelligence (such as the ability to negotiate complex social relationships effectively) will remain the province of human beings. This must inform and shape legal education. Consequently, this article argues that the future of legal education is one that recognizes lawyers will increasingly be required to attain a broad, liberal education enabling interdisciplinary insights, creativity and social intelligence.

Keywords: future of legal education, legal pedagogy, liberal education, philosophy, automation, future of work, future of legal profession

Suggested Citation

Goldsworthy, Daniel, The Future of Legal Education in the 21st Century (2020). (2020) 41(1) Adelaide Law Review 243., Available at SSRN:

Daniel Goldsworthy (Contact Author)

Deakin Law School ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216

Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053

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