La Trobe Law School Statement of Strategic Intent
The La Trobe Law School’s Statement of Strategic Intent aligns with La Trobe University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2030.
It contextualises our part in achieving the University’s mission: To be known for making a positive difference in the lives of our students, partners and communities.
The School proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands where its campuses are located, recognises the ongoing connection to Country of local communities, and values the contributions Indigenous people make to its activities.
Promoting justice and equity through innovative teaching and research
The rule of law plays a transformative role in promoting just and equitable societies. We believe that shaping the law for the better can improve individual lives and whole communities. The Law School offers quality teaching and research programs that advance knowledge in law and criminology.
Our goal is to be known for our progressive and practical programs that inspire students to become change-makers, and equip them with the knowledge and industry experience to make a difference to their local and global communities. We will continue to engage in teaching and research practices that contribute to the Law School’s upward trend in international rankings.
We will collaborate with industry, government, and community organisations, to develop a course portfolio with the right balance of theory and practice, that meets the needs of our diverse study body, the legal profession and the communities we serve. Drawing on our proud tradition of social responsibility, we will work with our students and partners to promote equity, justice and access, locally, nationally or internationally. We will work with our extensive network of legal service providers and other industry partners to offer outstanding clinical placement opportunities so they graduate with workplace experience, a commitment to professional responsibility and high ethical standards. We will build on our current arrangements and launch a new health justice placement partnership in Melbourne’s North.
We will continue to produce impactful interdisciplinary research of national and international significance, focusing on our strengths in law in context and international and comparative law. We will collaborate with industry, government, and community organisations to produce research outcomes that have translational value and drive law reform in Australia and overseas.
Reputation: We will build capability and continuously improve in research and teaching to consolidate our position as a pre-eminent Victorian law school with high levels of student satisfaction.
Equity: We will continue to provide targeted outreach to low-SES and rural and regional students. We will continue to embed indigenous knowledges throughout the curriculum.
Access: We will offer a range of entry pathways into high quality programs that meet industry needs and prepare students for employment.
Culture: We will embody La Trobe’s cultural qualities by being accountable, connected, innovative and caring. These cultural qualities will inform the way we work with each other, our students and our communities, to pursue our shared commitment to equity, justice and access.
Impact: We will produce graduates and research outcomes that make a positive difference to the disciplines of Law and Criminology. Our teaching programs in Bendigo will continue to build the legal workforce in areas with unmet need in rural and regional Victoria.
Engagement: We will build strong and lasting partnerships with our students, alumni and the legal profession locally, nationally and internationally.
The La Trobe Law School comprises a strong team of academic and professional staff who work together to support our core missions of teaching, research and partnership engagement.
We will continue to champion a workplace that is safe and inclusive, and supports the health and wellbeing of all of our staff. The University’s cultural qualities will underpin everything we do. We will continue to promote equity, diversity and inclusion to make us an employer of choice for academic and professional staff. We are committed to recruiting Indigenous academics and will develop strategies that support their retention and career development.
We will collaborate, share ideas, and drive innovations that further strengthen our work and impact. We will create a culture of shared practice across academic and industry that encourages best practice.
We will promote flexibility in working to ensure that we collaborate in efficient and sustainable ways. We will be accountable for all that we do.
We will recognise and celebrate the achievements of our staff and students and continue to foster a culture of excellence. We will engage with our communities, keep our stakeholders informed and promote the activities of our staff and students within and outside of the University.
We will champion a workplace, a learning environment and a legal profession that is fair, equitable and inclusive.
We will know we have succeeded in our goal to develop a positive culture when we improve the Employee Experience as measured by a La Trobe Employee Experience Survey.
The La Trobe Law School offers programs in Law and Criminology. These programs graduate high quality professionals with a strong commitment to the rule of law and community service.
We will consolidate our core curriculum – augmented by a skills-based approach to teaching and an extensive clinical placements program – to ensure our programs are relevant and closely aligned with the legal profession. We will support our academics to ensure teaching quality and contributions are best practice.
We will strive to maintain our sector-leading student satisfaction and graduate outcome scores and continue our upward trend in discipline-related international rankings.
We will optimise our footprint, and grow our diversity, by offering students a range of entry pathways into our programs, including through the University’s Aspire Program and Achieve+ opportunities, and diploma pathways. We will consolidate our position as Victoria’s primary regional Law School, providing a pipeline of high-quality graduates to under-served rural and regional communities.
Our flexible approach to content delivery, including StudyFlex and online options, will allow students, where possible, to engage in learning at a time and place of their choosing. We will engage with Open Universities Australia to deliver the Bachelor of Criminology online, to be offered at each of the University’s regional campuses.
We will grow our extensive portfolio of double degrees according to industry requirements and student demand. We will continue to harness the professional expertise of our Course Advisory Committees so that our curriculum is innovative and relevant to the workplace.
We will develop cutting-edge electives that prepare our students to respond to emerging issues in the legal and criminal justice systems when they graduate.
We will launch a sector-leading advocacy program, designed to prepare students for mooting competitions and the courtroom. We will select our mooting teams from this student cohort to continue to build our reputation at domestic and international mooting competitions.
We will strive to ensure that our graduates are practice ready – that they are excellent communicators and advocates with transferable leadership skills, are digitally literate and culturally aware. We will work with our industry partners and our student associations to improve our graduate outcomes by foregrounding career preparation skills and knowledge and providing resources that enable students to engage in career planning early in their degree. We will reward our students’ academic success with a new suite of industry sponsored subject prizes.
We will work closely with new industry partners to grow our already outstanding clinical placement program that offer the right mix of practical skill building, doctrinal knowledge, and awareness of the impact of law and legal institutions on vulnerable communities. We will continue to lead the Victorian law school sector by offering students placement opportunities in second year.
In line with La Trobe’s increased focus on health and wellbeing, we will collaborate with Whittlesea Community Connections to establish a health justice partnership that helps community members overcome complex problems by embedding legal help in healthcare services and teams. This initiative will operate as a law clinic located in Melbourne’s North that sits alongside health services, providing placements for students, as well as research opportunities, in areas such as housing security, fines and debt, family violence and elder abuse.
We will support our students through peer and industry mentoring programs in Law and Criminology. We will work closely with our student associations to connect students with industry and each other so they enjoy a university cohort experience.
We will continue to achieve outstanding graduate employability outcomes and supply the profession with a skilled workforce pipeline. We will continue to embed research pathways into our programs and support students to explore graduate research options.
We will welcome international students into our programs, supporting their journey to be globally employable graduates. We will partner with universities in Canada and India to provide opportunities for internationally-trained lawyers to become eligible to practice law in Australia.
We will encourage our students to think locally and globally. We will provide students with opportunities to explore other legal traditions through exchange and study tour opportunities in common and civil law jurisdictions.
We will engage with our alumni to build lifelong connections and affiliations with the School, and provide them with opportunities to support the next generation of legal professionals through mentoring and support for prizes and scholarships We will re-launch the Law School Alumni Chapter and celebrate the School’s 30th anniversary.
We will know we have succeeded in our goal to ensure quality of teaching when we achieve top 12 nationally in the Student Experience Survey for Teaching Quality and Overall Experience.
The La Trobe Law School comprises a strong team of outstanding researchers who work with industry, government and community organisations to build knowledge and conduct research that drives positive legal and social change.
Our research portfolio focuses on three areas of strength: law in context, with a focus on building a legal system that results in a more inclusive, equitable and just society; international and comparative law, with a focus on identifying oppressive forms of law and finding new ways to realise its emancipatory potential. We will establish two research clusters in these areas of strength and support them to enhance their expertise and impact.
We will be known for the contribution our research makes to understanding law in its social, economic and political context. We will be recognised for our contributions to contemporary legal debates and law reform initiatives and for research that promotes a more just and equitable society. Our success will be measured by contributions to law reform and government inquiries, an increase in the number and diversity of industry partnerships, publications, research income and research reports.
We will continue to grow the capacity of our researchers, at all career stages, through support programs including internal grants schemes, mentoring and a grant incubator program, and by fostering inter-disciplinary research collaborations that align with our areas of strength and expertise. Our existing initiatives including seminars, the Academic Skills Circle and the Law and Humanities Network Reading Group, and the encouragement of all researchers in the School to develop Individual Research Plans, will assist us in achieving this goal by identifying gaps in the existing support, and enabling targeted support where needed.
We will work collaboratively with our partners to understand challenges, bring together the right capabilities, manage projects efficiently, and guide the translation of legal research into law and policy reform. We will establish new avenues to highlight our research and broaden its reach into our communities. We will continue to build the next generation of scholars with a strong graduate research program that aligns with our research strengths and equips candidates with the tools necessary to make positive contributions to society. Our graduate research cohort will be known for its cutting-edge research, and its vibrant and inclusive culture.
We will know we have succeeded in our goals to create impact when we increase our Category 2-4 research income revenue by 50% from 2019 baseline by 2025.
Find out more about La Trobe University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2030.