Promoting Law Student and Lawyer Well-Being in Australia and Beyond: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Promoting Law Student and Lawyer Well-Being in Australia and Beyond

1st Edition

Edited by Rachel Field, James Duffy, Colin James


222 pages

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pub: 2016-05-19
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University can be a psychologically distressing place for students. Empirical studies in Australia and the USA highlight that a large number of law students suffer from psychological distress, when compared to students from other disciplines and members of the general population. This book explores the significant role that legal education can play in the promotion of mental health and well-being in law students, and consequently in the profession. The volume considers the ways in which the problems of psychological distress amongst law students are connected to the way law and legal culture are taught, and articulates curricula and extra-curricula strategies for promoting wellbeing for law students. With contributions from legal academics, legal practitioners and psychologists, the authors discuss the possible causes of psychological distress in the legal community, and potential interventions that may increase psychological well-being. This important book will be of interest to legal academics, law students, members of the legal profession, post-graduate researchers as well as non-law researchers interested in this area.


"Overall, this is an insightful and important edited collection that provides a marker on the long, uneven, challenging but crucial path towards acknowledging and improving well-being in law. Despite its Australian focus, the commonalities with other jurisdictions are clear, giving it global appeal and significance."

Dr Emma Jones, Lecturer in Law, The Open University, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction; Valuing persons and communities in doing wellness for law well, Stephen Tang; Towards an integrated, whole-school approach to promoting law student wellbeing, Wendy Larcombe; The persistence of distress, Paula Baron; Law student lifestyle pressures, Alex Steel and Anna Huggins; The relationship between class participation and law students’ learning, engagement and stress: do demographics matter?, Anna Huggins and Alex Steele; Vitality for life and law: fostering student resilience, empowerment and well-being at law school, Judith Marychurch; Resilience and wellbeing programs - the practical legal training experience, Judy Bourke and Maxine Evers; Resilient lawyers: maximising well-being in legal education and practice, Colin James; Using peer assisted learning to develop resilient and resourceful learners, Penelope Watson; On being, not just thinking like, a lawyer: connections between uncertainty, ignorance and wellbeing, Tony Foley and Stephen Tang; Balance and context - law student well-being and lessons from positive psychology, James Duffy; Connecting law students to health and wellbeing, Molly Townes-O’Brien; Contemplative practice in the law school: breaking barriers to learning and resilience, Prue Vines and Patricia Morgan; Harnessing the law curriculum to promote law student well-being, particularly in the first year of legal education, Rachael Field; Beyond the curriculum: the wellbeing of law students within their broader environment, Helen Stallman and James Duffy; Dealing with resistance to change by legal academics, Nick James; Index.

About the Editors

Rachael Field is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She holds an ALTC Fellowship (2010) for Stimulating Strategic Change in Legal Education to Address High Levels of Psychological Distress in Law Students, focussing on the potential of non-adversarial legal practice to better engage, motivate and support student learning and wellbeing in law.

James Duffy is a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia. He researches in the areas of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Non-Adversarial Justice and the Law/Psychology nexus. His teaching excellence has been recognised at the institutional and national level.

Dr Colin James is a solicitor and a senior lecturer with the Australian National University. His areas of practice include family law and domestic violence. He teaches in clinical legal education and professional legal training programs and serves on the management committees of law societies and community legal centres. His research areas include emotional intelligence, coaching psychology, professional development, academic integrity, legal history and domestic violence.

About the Series

Emerging Legal Education

Emerging Legal Education

Emerging Legal Education is a forum for analysing the discourse of legal education and creating innovative ways of learning the law. The series focuses on research, theory and practice within legal education, drawing attention to historical, interdisciplinary and international characteristics, and is based upon imaginative and sophisticated educational thinking. The series takes a broad view of theory and practice. Series books are written for an international audience and are sensitive to the diversity of contexts in which law is taught, learned and practised.

Series Editors

Meera E. Deo is Associate Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California. She has held visiting positions at Berkeley Law and UCLA School of Law. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Her nationally recognized, mixed-method empirical research is focused on institutional diversity, affirmative action, and solutions to intersectional (race/gender) bias.

Paul Maharg is Distinguished Professor of Practice - Legal Education at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto. Prior to that he was Professor of Law in the Australian National University College of Law, Canberra, and is now an Honorary Professor there. He is a Fellow of the RSA (2009), was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship (2011), and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2015). He holds the positions of part-time Professor of Law at Nottingham Trent University Law School, and Visiting Professorships in the Faculties of Law at Hong Kong University and Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Elizabeth Mertz is John and Rylla Bosshard Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and Senior Research Faculty at the American Bar Foundation; in addition to her JD, she holds a PhD in Anthropology, and specializes in linguistic as well as legal anthropology. In recent years she has spent time as a Visiting Fellow in the Law and Public Affairs Program and a Visiting Professor in the Anthropology Department at Princeton University.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Public
LAW / Educational Law & Legislation