I started my teaching career 31 years ago, in the UK, in what is now called the ‘new university’ sector. Initially, I covered a wide range of subjects, often more on the basis of institutional teaching needs than research expertise, which seemed in those pre-research assessment days to be a secondary consideration at best! Consequently at various points I taught Contract, Public Law, Evidence, Social Welfare Law (my first real area of specialisation) and elements of the sociology of law (so that’s been an area of interest now for many years). Once I started to carve out a research career, and could lay claim to a more stable set of interests, it began to settle down.
University of the West of England 1988-99
In my early days at UWE I taught mostly Legal Methods (the origins of Holland & Webb, Learning Legal Rules) and Public Law. I also taught Social Welfare Law to LLB and LLM students for Martin Partington at Bristol University for a couple of years. In 1991, Caroline Maughan and I started to develop Legal Process, a simulation-based clinical course out of which emerged our book Lawyering Skills and the Legal Process. I continued to teach Legal Methods and Legal Process until I left UWE, but also taught skills on the LPC for a while, and became increasingly involved in masters level teaching (as LLM Programme Director) and taught modules on Law and Social Theory, and Research Methods.
University of Westminster 1999-2006
At Westminster I continued my involvement in skills-based teaching on Legal Skills and Process, a second year LLB course which used lawyering skills as a vehicle for developing students transferable skills and employability; it was in the context of this course that I first became interested in the design and use of portfolio-based assessment. At Masters level I co-taught modules on Foundations of Dispute Prevention and Resolution, and Conflict, Risk and Regulation (reflecting my growing interest in regulation and regulatory theory), I also taught some undergraduate Philosophy of Law, and Legal Ethics.
University of Warwick 2006-2014
At Warwick I moved back into teaching first year skills and methods. I also taught aspects of socio-legal theory and research methods for our LLM and PhD students, and tutored on our (undergraduate) Introduction to Legal Theory module. Following the closure of UKCLE, I took-on teaching part of Critical Issues in Law and Management, a joint law and business module taught in Warwick Business School with my WBS colleague Grier Palmer. The course uses a range of materials and activities from law, business and the humanities to reflect on professional/business ethics and CSR, and to develop creativity and critical reasoning skills, largely using techniques of case-based but also some open-space learning.
University of Melbourne 2014-
I currently teach Legal Theory, a core course on the first year of the Melbourne JD (graduate law degree), the core Legal Ethics (JD final year) course and a research elective on Regulatory Theory in Practice. Following a review of the Melbourne JD curriculum, (for which I was part of the working group), I am now leading a project to develop a new ‘Disputes and Ethics’ subject for the JD, using a blended transactional learning approach. The new subject is due to launch in Semester 2, 2018. In my spare time….