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Law is now on the books

by Michèle Nardelli

Professor Paul FairallFor UniSA’s founding Dean of Law, Professor Paul Fairall, there is a growing sense of anticipation and satisfaction in seeing the new degree program come together.

In the past few months there have been several milestones.

The acquisition and refurbishment of the Hindley Street building (most recently HQ to the Australian Institute of Management, but once the salubrious head office of the West End Brewery and designed by Adelaide architect Kenneth Milne) that will house the new Law School is already making the notion of the School more tangible.

But Prof Fairall said the successful appointment of six key academic positions in the school has added real momentum to the project.

"The calibre of the applicants has been outstanding for every position so we have been able to select the best of the best," he said.

The new appointments are Dr Vicki Waye who is UniSA’s new Chair of Law with a special interest in commercial law, Dr Wendy Lacey specialising in public and international law, Dr Julia Davis, Dr Sulette Lombard and Jane Knowler.

"The whole process of bringing the School together is big, busy and full of sometimes maddening details but it is really exciting," Prof Fairall said. "I feel genuinely honoured to have this role."

The most significant development though has been the recent curriculum approval by the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council. One of the key advantages of the UniSA Law program is that it is taught in trimesters. This enables the four-year law degree to be completed at an orderly pace in less than three years. Students wanting to enter legal practice will do their Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (taught by the Law Society) in their last year of studies, and enter the profession well ahead of the competition.

"The program now has the official industry seal of approval and that means we can get down to telling people about what they can expect from a UniSA Law degree," Prof Fairall said.

"I believe we’re ready to provide the best vocationally oriented law degree in the State and one that has strong synergies with other key strengths within our Division of Business - areas such as competition policy, international relations, criminal justice and company management.

"Our approach is vibrant and engaged and we have a strong commitment to quality teaching.

"We have designed the program to provide flexibility for the modern undergraduate law student, many of whom
are balancing work and family to complete their studies," he said.