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A Voyage Around John Merryman and the Development of Modern Legal Education - ‘Through legal education the legal culture is transferred from generation to generation’

Emeritus Professor David Barker AM, University of Technology Sydney


This is the opening quote of John Merryman in ‘Legal Education There and Here: A Comparison’ the opening lines in John Merryman’s article published in 1975 - 27 Stanford Law Review 859.

This paper reviews the changes which have taken place within the Australian Legal Education Community during and since the publication in 2017 of the presenter’s book ‘A History of Australian Legal Education’ - Federation Press. It traces the critical role which legal education occupied in shaping the culture of law in 2017 and the changes which have taken place since then. In particular the increased demands which the Covid Pandemic has made on the teaching of law and how Australian law schools and the Ad Hoc Law Associations have responded to these challenges. The paper will question whether there is still a tension between the demands of ‘training’ and ‘educating’ which has previously given rise to an on-going conflict in Australian legal education.