Research and teaching equality and diversity in legal education settings: Sheffield Law School September 2016

  • LERN@LegalEdResearch

Our workshop co-hosted with @sheffielduni is beginning! Prof. Tamara Hervey welcomes all participants. Jess Guth creates hashtag 


Prof Hilary Sommerlad @LawLeeds takes the floor to give keynote:

Legal Professionalism and Diversity:

challenges for legal education and legal services providers in the contemporary UK context

Two studies. One involves participants drawing pictures of lawyers.

How did students see legal field? – drawings are fascinating. Dissonance b/een view +background: white, male, middle class

Interesting that part of appeal was that they didn’t see themselves in those pictures. But also awareness of outsider status

Second study involves interviews with Magic Circle and similar law firms.

Sommerlad – things are getting much worse in the profession!

Overall ‘feel’ from keynote: depressing. According to the speaker.

Sommerlad: Creation of a whole new labour market for the inauthentic lawyers. Depressing!

But ‘feel’ in the room is indefatigable.
We need to empower students to understand all of this because that changes the nature of the dynamics

Not ignoring gloomy narrative but telling stories of hope

Over to parallel panels:

A Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, and Affect-based learning Chair/Discussant: Chalen Westaby, Sheffield Hallam University.  Papers on Using the affective domain in teaching diversity and equality, Emma Jones, The Open University; Inspired by Law: a gallery of and for inspiring lawyers – the faces of equality and diversityDr Michael Rodney, Alan Birbeck and Kim Silver, London South Bank University; and The Fairness Project – an Interactive Workshop, Rachel Nir and Tina McKee, University of Central Lancashire;

Panel 1B Overcoming barriers to diversity in legal education Chair / Discussant: Charlotte O’Brien, University of York. Papers on Disability in Legal Education: How to Achieve ‘Inclusive Legal Education’?, Gauthier de Beco, School of Law – University of Leeds; Facilitating students’ learning of equality and diversity issues by applying sociological concepts to the use of simulated clients in an employment law module, Jenny Gibbons, University of York; and Defining the Paradigm of the Contemporary Globalized Legal Education, Midjohodo Franck Gloglo, Intellectual Property and International Trade Law Scholar, Associate Fellow, Center for International Sustainable Development Law, University of Laval, Canada

There’s work to be done here.

There’s more scholarship re access for disabled students than there is on disability in curriculum.

Interesting Q about nature of merit – everything that challenges the idea of ‘good lawyer’ is constructed as deficit

Conversations, real and virtual:

I really do love the idea of building your curriculum around the students in the classroom. You can be inclusive +challenging

Jess Guth: So, teachers – do you only ever ask questions you know the answer to in the classroom? Tamara Hervey: never. How boring! I only ask questions I /don’t/ know the answer to! Jess Guth: Me too – what’s the point of asking questions when you already know the answer?!?

Could globalised legal ed or exchange programme build cultural capital for students (or of course reduce importance of it)

Elaine Freer on social mobility at the bar: background makes it difficult to penetrate the community of the bar

Hilary Sommerlad – the bar relies on its ‘mystique’ as an economic benefit, so why would they want to change this?

Excellent discussion on the use of speech in legal culture

Second round of parallel panels:

Panel 2A: Diversity and equality in Legal Careers Chair/Discussant: Andrew Callaghan, University of Sheffield. Social mobility and socio-economic diversity in legal education: what can be learnt from an attempt to improve diversity at the Bar? Elaine Freer, University of Cambridge; Diversity data among solicitors and on GDL/LPC attainment; and Debra Malpass, Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Panel 2B Ethical and intersectional questions Chair/Discussant Jessica Guth, Leeds Beckett University. The Henry Higgins Conundrum, Dominic De Saulles, Centre for Professional Legal Studies, Cardiff School of Law and Politics; and Only Relatively Equal? Differences and hierarchies in the Equality Act 2010 – diversity in the legal profession, Steven Vaughan, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham and Elisabeth Griffiths, Northumbria Law School, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

Excellent discussions event on equality/diversity great discussions on your data and our paper

And the final roundtable, chaired by Prof Lisa Webley:

Need to educate students about what cannot be taken for granted (EU and Human Rights Act).

If you haven’t read ‘s work around the gendered nature of welfare cuts etc then do! It’s powerful and important

And praise from the participants:

Thank you for making a day of resisting the neoliberal drivers in HE possible. It’s been fab!

Sep 16 Great conference on in the profession

Sep 16 @TamaraHervey@LegalEdResearch thanks from for a great day exploring equality and diversity in Sheffield!

Sep 17 Excellent and thought-provoking conference yesterday, thanks to LERN and University of Sheffield

If you’d like to read another person’s view of the day, may I recommend Jess Guth’s blogs:

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