Keeping up with change: no alternative to teaching ADR in clinic. An Australian perspective

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Over the last 30 years alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has become more prominent in Australian legal practice due to the need to reduce the cost of access to justice and to provide more expedient and informal alternatives to litigation. As legal educators, we need to ask: how should we be preparing law students entering practice for these changes? How can we ensure that once they become lawyers, our students will not rely entirely on litigious methods to assist their clients but instead look at alternatives for dispute resolution?

In this paper, I argue that there is no alternative to teaching ADR in clinic in order to address client needs and to ensure that students engaged in clinical education are prepared for changes in legal practice today. I show that the increasing focus upon ADR in Australian legal practice represents a challenge for law schools, and that legal educators need to ensure they are educating students about ADR.

I argue that it is important to determine whether ADR is being taught to students undertaking clinical legal education in ways that will enhance their preparation for legal practice. I will show that there is a need to explore: whether ADR is being taught within clinical legal education, the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches, and how the teaching of ADR within clinics can be improved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-78
Number of pages44
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Legal Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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