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Auckland University of Technology

22 November 2013

Each of our law schools emphasise some areas of law over others. These differences are a positive rather than a negative in a country this size.

AUT Law School does not pretend to be good at everything. In shaping the content of our courses we have been guided by two imperatives – what law firms and other employers want and expect from graduates, and what is necessary to ensure our graduates are primed for the real world of work as early in their careers as possible.

Our figures from a survey undertaken by the University’s Strategic Development Team show 89% of our law graduates were employed at the date of graduation (2 August 2013) and indications are that this percentage has been tracking upwards since then. Of the six largest law firms, all bar one have taken on AUT graduates. These are impressive figures for a law school that is less than five years old.

What then makes AUT’s LLB curriculum stand out from others? First, it differs in the subjects AUT makes compulsory. In addition to the courses mandated by the New Zealand Council of Legal Education (Legal System, Public Law, Torts, Contract and Property) law students at AUT are required to take company law and intellectual property.

AUT takes the view that no law graduate should be unleashed upon the world without an understanding of both these important subjects. The corporate form is so pivotal to the operation of New Zealand’s econ-omy that law cannot effectively be practised without it whether one’s client is a multinational or a small business.

Intellectual Property we insist on because in our view the protection of innovation and creativity is just as important in today’s world as the rules governing interests in land or tangible personal property.

The same philosophy also underpins the range and content of elective courses. All of the electives currently on offer are designed to be employer friendly as well as attractive to students.

The university as a whole believes in student centred learning and believes that lectures alone do not make for successful law teaching. To be effective they need to be supplemented by many hours of small group workshops and tutorials of 18 to 20 students.

To that end we ensure all first year courses on statute law and case law are taught entirely through workshops. Of the three hours a week of tuition for compulsory courses at least one is devoted to a small group workshop, and students acquire electronic database searching skills early on and continue to develop those skills throughout their degree.

Our major new initiative for next year is the introduction of a practitioner focused four paper LLM and a two paper Post Graduate Certificate in Law. Courses are taught intensively in short blocks so that work and other commitments can easily be fitted around them. The LLM allows (but does not require) students to specialise in particular areas of law. Specialisations on offer for 2014 are property and development, corporate and commercial, competition and regulation, and taxation.

We are also introducing into the LLB an elective paper Criminal Procedure and Evidence, recognising that for many of our graduates criminal work will be a major part of their practice.

From the beginning AUT has recognised that while commercial law is important, the needs of non-specialist small to medium size law firms also have to be met. Thus in 2013 we offered electives in family law, wills and estates, employment law, sale of land, secured transactions, and unit titles and cross leases and a similar choice will be on offer in 2014.

Last updated on the 17th March 2016