THE UNIVERSITY of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has introduced changes to the curriculum of its law courses in the midst of an ongoing curriculum overhaul that looks to respond to the global needs of graduates.
The changes see the introduction of a new postgraduate degree, the Juris Doctor (JD), a redesigned Master of Legal Studies and a significant revamping of core undergraduate subjects.
UTS dean of law, Professor Jill McKeough said that the review drew on international developments as well as considering the involvement of stakeholders. The reviews took place in an atmosphere of collective critical reflection, consulting with law firms, the Law Reform Commission, various academics and students, McKeough said.
McKeough said the pivotal focus of the change was “what is it that a law graduate in the 21st century needs? And how do we equip students in a changing global market?”
According to McKeough what employers look for is a strong foundation of legal concepts, coupled with an appreciation of the broader social and moral implications of the law. “We are embedding discussion on ethics and on indigenous perspectives into all our core subjects and we will progressively seek to use leading-edge technology to enhance teaching and learning,” she said.
The new UTS JD, which supersedes the Master of Law and Legal Practice (MLLP), allows people with a degree in another discipline to gain a legal qualification equivalent to a Bachelor of Laws. McKeough said the JD functioned as a passport — an internationally recognised qualification that would enable graduates to work in multiple jurisdictions such as the US and UK as well as the legal systems of the wider Commonwealth.
This in turn heeds the calls from non-law graduates who work in the public and private sectors, and need to grasp the regulatory and legal framework of their workplace environment, McKeough said.