Innovative opportunities in technology and the law: the Virtual Legal Clinic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


Technological advances in legal practice have led law schools and legal educators to re-evaluate how they should be preparing students for their future as legal practitioners. As graduates, students need to become adept at a range of new technologies to meet the needs of their clients in accessing legal services.

In this chapter, we show that a virtual legal clinic is an innovative opportunity to make use of technology to teach students to practice law in ways that assist clients to access justice. This chapter outlines the steps taken to develop a virtual legal clinic at Monash University. Clinical Legal Education has a dual focus: Social Justice – with a community focus – and educating students about legal practice. In this chapter, we put forward that a virtual legal clinic can play a role in promoting both these areas. Focusing on social justice, we indicate how the virtual legal clinic provides an opportunity to implement technological systems to assist clients to access justice. In addition, we demonstrate that the virtual legal clinic adds value to educating students about the advances occurring in legal practice regarding technology and how these developments equip law students with knowledge, skills and attributes related to technological proficiency for current and future legal practice. We focus on issues that need to be addressed to prepare students to make effective use of technology to assist clients, including developing communication skills for interaction with clients via technology and building trust with clients. Finally, we show that the implementation of a virtual legal clinic adheres to the philosophy of clinical legal education: to provide legal education to students that is necessary for 21st-century practice and assist the broader community by utilising technology to extend legal services to those in need.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Legal Education in The Digital Age
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogical Practices to Digitally Empower Law Graduates
EditorsAnn Thanaraj, Kris Gledhill
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429351082
ISBN (Print)9780367367404, 9781032362267
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • clinical legal education
  • legal education
  • technology and the law

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