This book is firstly and foremostly a resource for law students undertaking a clinical activity during their law degree. It has been widely acknowledged that law students entering the competitive work environment can benefit significantly from practical work experience during their law degree.
Whether gained through clinical education, external work experience or pro bono programs, the effect is to increase self-confidence, practical experience and, consequently, employability of students. It has also been recognised that extra-curricular community engagement enhances graduate employability by combining experiential learning, course work and community service. Clinical legal education (CLE) is generally defined as a student’s involvement with ‘real clients’ in a legal centre or in-house campus clinic; or through a placement program or internship.  This book promotes the idea that, not only is clinical experience an invaluable asset to students to enhance learning and to prepare them for practice, but it often has the added benefit of developing a sense of social responsibility in students gained by undertaking pro bono work.
There are currently limited practice-based Australian textbooks available for students undertaking clinical legal placements with industry partners or working in on-campus clinics. This guide aims to equip law clinic students with useful tips and know-how to make the most of their law clinic experience and provide guidance on how to develop important employability skills for future success, whether in the legal profession or related pursuits. By sharing professional and industry insights such as reported by Evans et al, and additional resources on the positive effects of practice-based learning techniques demonstrated by law students, the book aims to inform and benefit law students at any point of their clinic journey, irrespective of the type of clinical experience they engage in.
If you are about to start your clinical experience, or are already immersed in a clinic or placement, hopefully this book will provide you with some helpful insights and advice along your journey. Enjoy your experience and make the most of it!
Dr Francina Cantatore
The author gratefully acknowledges and thanks Antoinette Cass and Ian Edwards from Bond University Library Services for their invaluable assistance and support in the production of this book.
- Shelley Kinash and Linda Crane, ‘Supporting graduate employability from generalist disciplines through employer and private institution collaboration’ (Report, Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, 2015) 6.<https://research.bond.edu.au/en/publications/supporting-graduate-employability-from-generalist-disciplines-thr>. ↵
- See, e.g., Susan Campbell, ‘Blueprint for a Clinical Program’ (1991) 9 Journal of Professional Legal Education 121, 122; Frank Bloch, ‘The Andragogical Basis of Clinical Legal Education’ (1982) 35 Vanderbilt Law Review 321, 326. ↵
- For a discussion of external placement programs, see, e.g., Graeme Coss, ‘Field Placement (Externship): A Valuable Application of Clinical Education’ (1993) Legal Education Review 29; cf Laura Lundy, ‘The Assessment of Clinical Legal Education: An Illustration’ (1995) 29 Law Teacher 311 ; Janet Motley, ‘Self-Directed Learning and the Out-of-House Placement’ (1989) 19 New Mexico Law Review 211. ↵
- Adrian Evans et al Australian Clinical Legal Education: Designing and operating a best practice clinical program in an Australian law school (ANU Press 2017) <https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n2366/pdf/book.pdf>. ↵