Joining the Deakin Law School (DLS) in 2011, Dr Claudio Bozzi is a highly-experienced commercial barrister with a career that’s spanned numerous and diverse fields.
A unit chair and lecturer in Deakin’s undergraduate and postgraduate law programs, Dr Bozzi is also Executive Director of the Centre on the Legal Profession and now a director in the school’s newly-established law clinics.
The New Ventures Law Clinic (VLC) and the Civil and Commercial Law Clinic (CCLC) launched in mid-2016 and as director of the VLC, Dr Bozzi says the clinics offer Deakin law students the opportunity to gain valuable, real-world skills.
‘Under the close supervision of clinical solicitors and academic staff, these clinics provide students with the real experience of attending to real matters, involving real clients,’ he explains.
Taking on authentic cases, the VLC is tailored to serve the emerging start-up economy and Dr Bozzi says it recognises the social dividend that comes from helping establish new businesses.
‘These businesses go on to become employers in the new economy and they contribute to future social development and economic growth.’
Providing a premium pro bono legal service to clients, the law clinics ensure that students are deeply immersed in legal practice and the profession.
‘The clinics also firmly brand the Deakin Law School as the most relevant law school in Australia and as producing highly-capable, employment-ready law graduates,’ he adds.
Dr Bozzi says he was drawn to the practice and academic teaching of law because law permeates the social fabric and creates negotiable spaces.
‘Sometimes obviously and sometimes silently … but importantly, law is a social project in which all voices should engage to create a just society. Obviously this deeply obliges law to listen, judge and act impartially on behalf of everyone. The tensions and possibilities of this subtle arrangement of forces are intriguing to contemplate, and a privilege to participate in,’ he explains.
Reflecting on the changes that he’s seen to law over his career, Dr Bozzi says that globalisation has brought a greater focus on and relevance to issues of international law and regulation.
‘The skilled lawyer, whether a solicitor or barrister, is now no longer merely a litigator but also a mediator who seeks alternative, cheaper, quicker, more benign and communitarian forms of settlement than taking court action with a view to achieving a resounding victory for their client over the opposition.’
He adds that the recognition of indigenous systems and rights has also redrawn the framework within which law operates. ‘There’s no area of law that’s untouched by the need to practise with an awareness of, and sensitivity to, those requirements.’
Along with the merger of large law firms (which affects competition) and the demand for lawyers to be more adept in business development, Dr Bozzi says the boom in technology is making a significant impact on the delivery of 21st century law.
‘Disruptive technology is infiltrating legal practice in a number of ways,’ he explains. ‘Smart technologies are being integrated into legal practice with the suggestion that technology will become smart enough to undertake even advanced legal practice. Lawyers are now adopting and applying readily-available technologies to reconceive the nature of legal work.’
This leaves a future, he says, that will require boundaries to be continually redrawn.
‘The law will need to find ways to respond and restructure as technologies, individual identities, social formations, geopolitics, national and international dynamics evolve.’
Dr Bozzi says that working in the Deakin Law School offers him the unique opportunity to explore – and address – the needs of a new generation of legal professionals.
‘I am privileged to be able to connect critically with the law as a repository of knowledge, and with legal institutions, and practices which seep into the fine grain of personal life and affect everyday lives at the highest and the deepest levels.’