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Our next digital conversation

Our next digital conversation will include two presentations. The first on ‘The impact of Covid-19 on Law Teacher Wellbeing in the UK and Australia”. The second on personal wellbeing and self-care. Full details are below. To receive an invitation, please register via our homepage or email us at lawwellnessuk@gmail.com

22nd October 202 9.30 am

The impact of Covid-19 on Law Teacher Wellbeing in the UK and Australia

Caroline Strevens, Rachael Field and Colin James

Abstract

Challenges to the psychological wellbeing of law students and lawyers in the US, Australia and more recently in the UK are now well documented. Law teachers have now been added to this research and an empirical project in the UK and Australia has established that the wellbeing of legal academics is also compromised. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of a recent survey of Australian and UK law teachers asking about the impact of Covid-19 on law teacher wellbeing and effective ways in which Universities can support the wellbeing of staff during the pandemic.  It builds on that research through a series of surveys of law teachers in the UK and Australia on the presumption that law teachers are in a strong position to influence their students not only in relation the development of a clear understanding of the law, but also in terms of supporting the growth of attitudes and practices that will help them to survive and thrive as lawyers. The comparative analysis reveals several differences, but also many similarities, with law teachers in both countries reporting negative effects from neoliberal pressures on legal education programs that impact their wellbeing, performance as teachers and ability to adequately respond to student concerns.

A version of this presentation was given by these speakers at the CPLE 2020 Conference Bond University Australia on 1st October 2020

Author bios:

Associate Professor Caroline Strevens:   Reader in Legal Education, Head of the Law Department at the University of Portsmouth and Chair of the Association of Law Teachers. Caroline’s academic career was preceded by a career in legal practice as a Solicitor. Caroline’s primary research area is legal education including experiential learning and more recently she has been investigating how principles of positive psychology may influence well-being of staff and students in Higher Education. Her work has recently extended into examining the links between wellbeing and error in the workplace. She is one of a team of four UK academics who have established a new network in the UK entitled Advancing Wellness in Law ( https://advancingwellnessinlaw.wordpress.com/).   Caroline continues to work with international collaborators investigating the well-being law students, legal academics and junior lawyers.

Professor Rachael Field: Rachael is a Professor in the Bond Law School, Co-Director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and Co-Director of Bond University’s Centre for Professional Legal Education. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence, lawyer and law student well-being and legal education (particularly foundations of law and transition in, through and out of law school). Rachael is an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, the winner of a National Teaching Citation as well as an Australian Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She founded the Australian Wellness Network for Law in 2010 and co-founded the ADR Research Network (in 2012) as well as the annual STARS conference (2015).

Dr Colin James:

Dr Colin James has been a solicitor since 1989 and an academic and researcher since 2001. He has worked in clinical legal education at Murdoch University, the University of Newcastle and is currently at the ANU College of Law. Colin has qualifications in law, history and psychology and presents at many national and international conferences. His publications contribute to fields associated with legal practice including legal education, legal history, and the well-being of lawyers, law students and law teachers. He has supervised PhDs and DBAs on diverse topics including the wellbeing of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, industrial ethics, first-responder and worker safety practices. As a lawyer Colin chairs the management committee of the Hunter Community Legal Centre, which services Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and for over twelve years he convened PLE seminars for the Newcastle Law Society.

Personal wellbeing and self-care

Zoe Swan

Zoe Swan is a Health & Wellness Coach & Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Teacher. She’s a former Award-Winning Senior Lecturer in Law & Law Programme Leader. 

Well known for her work on embedding wellbeing into the taught law curriculum and offering meditation and mindfulness experiences as extra curricula activities for students and academics. Zoe has long been passionate about supporting others to explore & experience ways to elevate their wellbeing. 

She bid farewell to legal education at the end of January 2020 and has since developed The Practice of Wellbeing. The Practice is a unique, class experience which brings together Zoe’s expertise into a series of rituals that are recognised & research proven for supporting mental, physical and emotional health & optimising wellbeing. These include breath work, movement, meditation, relaxation and sound. 

Zoe trained with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and the International School of Kundalini Yoga (I-SKY). 

During her Digital Conversation Zoe will share accessible & practical tips on self care to relieve stress and anxiety, improve sleep and enhance general wellbeing. 

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