'Needs Improvement': Positioning Good Practice Writing Pedagogy in the Australian Law School Curriculum
Australian law schools have a responsibility to support the development of their students’ writing skills. This article discusses evidence that poor legal writing creates problems for clients and for legal practitioners, and positions writing support as a social justice issue for students, who now come to law school with a wide range of prior learning experiences. However, the article’s original empirical research demonstrates that Australian law schools’ adherence to good practice pedagogy in relation to writing is at best partial. It is not underpinned by literacy theory, still relies on the separate ‘legal skills’ paradigm, fails to fully adopt an embedded approach, and is perceived as the province of the first-year curriculum. All of these factors contribute to a ‘dumbing down’ of writing pedagogy, which is particularly concerning in law, where language is the discipline.