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September 28, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Attorney-General says what smug BA students have said forever

i.e. law is all stains, bro.

The New Zealand legal profession is being let down by incompetent barristers who lack the skills necessary to practise the bar, says Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

In a recent speech, the Attorney General described the professional law courses offered in this country as a joke.

“We’re breeding a class of barristers who don’t know how to address the court, much less know how to cross-examine, write submissions and act in a professional manner.”

According to the Victoria Dean of Law, Tony Smith, the onus is not on the universities to provide undergraduates with the practical skills outlined by Mr Finlayson, but rather they provide students with an understanding of the legal process and its methodologies.

“Somebody else must take over to instruct graduates how to convert all of that into a professional, and commercial, product.”

The Dean added that the existence of two commercial providers of the post-graduate legal education constitute a recognition that there is something different required at the end of the legal education process.

President of the Victoria Law Students Society Amelia Keene said the VUWLSS currently runs a number of skill-based law competitions to help develop some practical skills, but the students’ society feels more could be done by the Law School with regards to teaching these skills.

“VUWLSS has pressed the Law School for an advocacy-style course this year. In a recent survey that VUWLSS conducted among law students about changes to the LLB, the majority of them felt that there needed to be more practical skills taught to law students. We believe that currently Victoria’s Law School does not offer enough skills-based papers.”

According to the Dean, many who now teach in universities are not qualified to practise, and they do not see themselves as teaching students how to be lawyers.

“They are educating students about the law and that is a rather different objective.”


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