Feeling like a lawyer

Kathrine Galloway, Mary Heath, Alex Steel, Natalie Skead, Anne Hewitt, Mark Israel

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


Contemporary higher education incorporates complexities both known and emerging that were neither identified nor understood even a decade ago. For the discipline of law, this complexity relates to far more than simply deviating from traditional content-focussed programs and moving toward incorporating critique and legal skills. In addressing the twin imperatives of inclusion and student wellbeing as integral to law graduates’ professional identities, skillsets, and effective contributions to a just society, the law teacher is required to call on a range of skills in responding to emotion. They will need skills in recognising, respecting and responding to their own and their student’s emotions and awareness of pedagogies that consider affect in learning. The professional dispositions required to do this effectively, however, are ostensibly at odds with traditional, mainstream lawyering identities which were principally founded upon an ideal of rationality that ignored or actively disengaged from affect. This paper draws on our experiences as law teachers together with data from the Smart Casual project, which designed self-directed professional development modules for sessional law teachers, to identify the limits of a traditional teaching skillset in the contemporary Australian tertiary law teaching context. It outlines the need for law teachers to acquire and build skills in addressing emotion in teaching settings. The paper explains these expectations in terms of emotional labour, making explicit what has often been implicit or unrecognised in the role of academics in general, and in particular, in the role of the academic precariat.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2017
Event72nd Annual Conference of Australasian Law Teachers' Association : Law on the Line - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 5 Jul 20178 Jul 2017
Conference number: 72nd


Conference72nd Annual Conference of Australasian Law Teachers' Association
Abbreviated titleALTA 2017
Internet address


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