DEAN R. P. EDWARDS
Volume 2, Issue 5 (Originally Published 20 August 2012)
Some students are thinking a bit harder about the law this semester in the Legal Theory Workshop. McKenzie Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr Lael Weis (who goes by Lu) started the workshop last year with help from Professor Adrienne Stone and the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. The workshop meets most Fridays at 2 p.m. in Room 221 of the MLS, where authors can present drafts of their latest legal writing for constructive criticism. The sessions are open to faculty, staff and students.
Now in its second year, the workshop offers a range of engaging topics, from the meta-ethics of political theory to issues of judicial interpretation. During each workshop the author is given several minutes to speak, followed by around 10 minutes of feedback from a commentator, who is usually a faculty member. Then there is a question-and-answer session open to all attendees.
JD students enrolled in the workshop write response papers addressing the strengths and criticism of the presented work. Lu explains that the experience is beneficial for students interested in developing their skills of academic criticism and legal scholarship. Lu said the workshop fills a hole existing in the JD curriculum, providing students “a different level of engagement” with legal scholarship.
“The workshop is something familiar to most American law schools and graduate students”, Lu said, who completed her doctoral studies at Stanford University in the US before joining the MLS in July 2010. Lu added that “students feel more connected and benefit from talking to others in the field”. Lu said the workshop idea was hatched two years ago, with encouragement from the administration and the Centre.
The next workshop will be at 2 pm on 24 August 2012, with Dr Dale Smith from Monash University presenting his paper “Are Judges Opportunistic Interpreters?” MLS judge-in-residence the Hon. Justice Margaret Stone will comment. The Legal Theory Workshop website (https://sites.google.com/site/legaltheoryworkshop/) provides the 2012 academic year schedule and more information about the workshop.
Dean R. P. Edwards