Lawyers, community workers, policy makers and students from around the world will converge on the Sunshine Coast for the ”9th Australian Clinical Legal Education Conference”, hosted by Griffith University.

More than 50 people will attend from South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand, Australia and the United States to share strategies to enhance professionalism in clinical legal education.

Griffith Law School (GLS) Professor Jeff Giddings said legal clinics were an important part of law students’ education.

“Students need to see the practical impact the law has on people’s lives,” Professor Giddings said.

“Legal clinics provide students with this through intensive, small group learning experiences where students work with real or simulated clients under the supervision of experienced practitioners.

“The GLS is a leader in clinical education in Australia, and this enables us to make a significant community service contribution at the same time as allowing our students to develop an understanding of what it is to be a legal professional.”

Professor Giddings said while clinics were of great benefit the type of learning was resource intensive which caused issues for law schools.

“It’s also a challenge to find people with the range of skills to be effective as both a practising lawyer as well as a law teacher,” Professor Giddings said.

The conference sessions will cover international developments in clinical teaching and learning, developing assessment processes and supervision practices, meeting the challenges facing clinical programs and clinics meeting student and community needs.

“The conference recognises clinical legal educators can benefit a great deal from the insights and experiences of a range of professionals, and that clinical experiences are central to the preparation of students in a wide range of disciplines,” Professor Giddings said.

“The conference also focuses on how clinicians can develop partnerships with legal practitioners and other professionals as well as enhancing existing collaborations.”

The 9th Australian Clinical Legal Education Conference: Professionalism in Clinical Legal Education will be held at Marcoola Beach on the Sunshine Coast from September 26 -28.