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Legal Education and Professional Skills (LEAPS) Research Group & Nottingham Law School’s Centre for Legal Education (CLE) Seminar

Northumbria School of Law


Revisiting “Pressing Problems in the Law: What is the Law School for?” 20 years on

This seminar is organised by Northumbria University’s Legal Education and Professional Skills (LEAPS) Research Group and Nottingham Law School’s Centre for Legal Education (CLE) with funding from the Modern Law Review.

Twenty years ago, Professor Peter Birks edited a collection of essays on the purpose of legal education, entitled “Pressing Problems in the Law: What is the Law School for?”. This seminar will provide a forum to revisit Professor Birk’s Edited Collection 20 years on, thereby updating the narrative and reassessing the role of the law school both in the UK and in other jurisdictions in light of ongoing, multifaceted, change and provocation.  The seminar will stimulate discussion and debate about how law schools should be responding to challenges such as globalisation, technological disruption, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination and Brexit and will encourage collaboration between academics. The day will involve papers from a number of high profile international and national speakers as well as an open call for papers.


This seminar hosts invited speaker presentations from leading international academics Professor Margaret Thornton (Australian National University, Australia) and Professor Paul Maharg (York University, Toronto, Canada).

National speakers of note include Dr Steven Vaughan (University College London, UK) and Dr John Haskell (University of Manchester, UK).

Call for Papers 

We invite legal educators, researchers, practitioners and students from any organisation to present at this seminar. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please email a 300-word abstract no later than 30th April 2019 to

Each speaker will have 20 minutes to present their paper followed by a 10 minute Q&A session. Your paper should reflect upon the conference theme in some way (interpreted broadly), and delegates will be encouraged to refer to Professor Birk’s Edited Collection. Further guidance will be circulated to you upon registration. You will receive confirmation of acceptance of your paper by no later than 17th May 2019. There may be an opportunity for papers presented at the seminar to be published collectively in either a journal or edited collection. The Modern Law Review reserves the right of first refusal.


Registration on our Eventbrite page opens on 11th March 2019. A small fee is payable upon registration. This fee includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. The organisers are currently in discussion with OUP with a view to obtaining permission to distribute selected essays from Professor Birk’s Edited Collection to circulate to delegates following registration.

Registration closes on 31st May 2019.

Key Dates

  • Registration opens: 11th March 2019
  • Abstract submission closes: 30th April 2019 
  • Confirmation of acceptance of abstract: by 17th May 2019
  • Registration closes: 31st May 2019
  • Seminar: 17th June 2019

Further details

More information about this event can be found on our Eventbritepage.

For any enquiries, please email



Event Details

Northumbria School of Law
Northumbria University
City Campus East, Room 401
Newcastle upon Tyne


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