In our information age, access to sources of the law is no longer limited to lawyers with big law libraries – or to lawyers who have memorised chunks of such libraries. So, what is the relevance of the lawyer in our current age? I think it is in the ability to apply the law and to create synthesis between apparently disparate elements of the law. Accordingly, my teaching philosophy is focused on developing these higher-order skills in my students.
I view myself not merely as a conveyor of legal theory, but rather as a bridge-builder between theory and practice. In this light, my practice experience – and continued involvement in strategic litigation – is an invaluable resource. I breathe life into legal theory and so synthesise it into a useful whole.
Law students learn best when they are actively engaged with learning material. While the case study method is one way to promote active learning, another way that I enjoy using – and that is often interwoven in the case study method – is class discussions In general, I encourage my students to express their personal viewpoints, and I actively pursue a class culture of lively and engaging exchange of thought.
In conclusion, lawyers should not merely be human versions of legal textbooks – this will render our profession irrelevant in an age where even young children are expert googlers. Lawyers should have a holistic knowledge of the law, and should be creative problem-solvers. This is what I aim to achieve with my teaching.