Bond University
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Abstract

First-year law has always been a challenge for both students and teachers alike. Both groups have high expectations of what can be achieved in an introductory law subject. Students want to master “it”, usually understood as chunks of knowledge, immediately. Teachers understand that the foundations of a good legal education are much more elusive and involve mastery of method, as much as substance. An introductory subject requires finding an appropriate balance between these two elements. Too often the first year curriculum also gets bogged down in abstract “either-or” debates about the importance of “black-letter law” versus critical perspectives about law. Missing from much of the discussion of the first year curriculum are theoretically informed practical strategies which simultaneously develop first year students’ skills in legal analysis, and preserve their capacity to look at law and legal institutions critically.

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