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.
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.
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.
"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