Negotiation skills are more critical to legal practice now more than ever
Dispute resolution matters take up 22% of lawyer hours, highlighting the rising demand for knowledge in this area of the law.
The figure was first revealed in the State of the Legal Market report published by Thomson Reuters’ Australia, and is reflected in the significantly increased interest in the University of Newcastle Australia’s dispute resolution courses, said Professor Tania Sourdin.
“These courses meet a demand because so much of legal practice is now related to having fabulous negotiation skills, and to really understanding mediation and advocacy,” Sourdin explained.
Dispute resolution is one of the key areas the university’s law school specialises in, along with environmental law and policy, human resources and law, international law, and law in practice, which is geared towards helping overseas lawyers in preparing for practice in Australia. Sourdin herself is a seasoned litigator and dispute resolution specialist with over 30 years in the field under her belt.
Participants in the course also benefit from the expertise of Professor Laurence Boulle, whose courses focus on dispute resolution and negotiation. He has held dispute resolution seminars in 12 countries outside of Australia, and has tacked disputes in various states and territories for more than three decades.
In addition to more general areas of law, the school also capitalises on its Hunter Valley location by offering a food and wine law course.
“This kind of course really takes advantage of our regional location, which means we can access resources in a way other schools perhaps couldn’t,” Sourdin explained. “These are all programs that we see as really critical for the future.”
The Widening and innovating the pathway to a master’s in law report was recently released by Australasian Lawyer in partnership with the University of Newcastle Australia.