Becoming Global Citizens and Global Lawyers: Incorporating International Work and Study Experiences into the Australian Law School Curriculum

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Clinical Law Review: a journal of lawyering and legal education, 2018, 25 (1), pp. 63 - 94
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Much of the literature on global citizenship education asserts a perceived tension between “neoliberal cosmopolitanism” (enhancing students’ employability) and “critical democratic cosmopolitanism” (enhancing students’ critical understanding of cultural diversity and political and economic inequality). Lilley, Barker and Harris recently argued these two approaches need not necessarily be in tension be- cause employers value the skills developed through more critical approaches. This article analyzes the reflective journals of 39 Australian law students who participated in intensive work and study experiences in Indo-Pacific countries. The students’ journals lend further weight to the thesis of Lilley, Barker and Harris, here specifically in regard to law studies. In line with the goals of “critical democratic cosmopoli- tanism,” the overseas experiences motivated the students to become more open-minded, self-critical and reflective in their thinking, and more confident, respectful and empathetic in their interactions with people of different cultures. A number of recent studies have indi- cated these kinds of skills and attributes are highly valued by employ- ers of law graduates. For the law students, rather than identifying a tension between their ambition to become global lawyers and the re- sponsibilities associated with global citizenship, the overseas exper- iences instead led them to frame their understanding of global lawyering in terms of positive global citizenship.
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