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Leading law school academic discuss law alumni diaspora.

Deakin Law School academic Dr Jason Taliadoros has featured in the final of a special series of panel discussions in The Australian’s Legal Review.

The 8 June edition (with video content) covers the export of Australian legal education, which creates revenue for the nation’s law schools and builds a global network of alumni.

Director of Teaching and Learning in Deakin Law School, Dr Taliadoros says the aim of the roundtable was to explore some of the issues relating to the delivery of Australian legal education to overseas students, particularly those from the south-east Asia region.

‘There are a number of key issues, which include: the numbers of international students who are studying in Australian law schools, which countries they come from, why they choose Australia, and what cohorts are represented. We also explored what this exportation of legal education is worth in terms of Western values, Australian values, liberal/democratic values, as well as just in terms of legal education and the sustainability of growth.’

DLS’s contribution to this special series in The Australian’s Legal Affairs section demonstrates one of the school’s strong industry and higher education partnerships.

Dr Taliadoros was joined by University of NSW Associate Dean of Law Dr Gabrielle Appleby and Griffith University Law School Deputy Head Dr Therese Wilson.

He says education services are one of the largest GDP line items in the Australian, and particularly the Victorian, economy.

‘It is also important in the context of the growing influence of China in the region, since it represents a different set of values.’

As a commercial law school, DLS’s teaching focus for its international students (most of whom are from India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam) is in the master’s coursework programs.

‘Generally they have a law degree and are coming to do a one-year master’s coursework program. So they are coming with quite different motives, not necessarily coming with the motive of practising in Australia, but increasing their expertise … and maybe use that as a pathway to higher degree by research, master’s by research or a PhD by research. So those seem to be not so much China any more, but emerging south-east Asian nations,’ he explains.

With DLS postgraduate offerings in a developing phase, Dr Taliadoros says:

‘The school is exploring ways to diversify and tailor its programs for international students, on the one hand, while maintaining an industry-relevant approach and looking to explore new partnerships for its domestic students, on the other.’

Is there still a place for a law degree in the 21st century? Dr Taliadoros says there are two.

‘One is that a law degree is still a great degree to have whether you are a lawyer or not. It’s a great degree for life and includes critical thinking, analytical skills and writing skills. The other is that we are looking to make our degree increasingly relevant to what has become a disrupted profession. Practising law in the 21st century is completely different to how it was a century ago.’