Designing Law School Assessment to Meet New Forms of Legal Practice: a Model from Australia

Andrew Henderson, Heather Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nature of legal practice is changing rapidly. Law schools’ traditional emphasis on exams and essays provides little opportunity for students to build the broad range of skills they will need in order to meet the new legal workplace’s demands. At the same time, the expectations held by universities, admitting authorities, and employers that law schools’ assessment is valid, transparent, and reliable means that designing new assessment tasks needs to be approached carefully. Examples of broader assessment tasks that could be used as models are rare. This article contributes to filling the gap in models of assessment beyond traditional exams and essays, using an example of an innovative assessment task implemented at the Australian National University College of Law. It describes and demonstrates how returning to “first principles” in assessment design can guide innovative assessment. It includes empirical data on stakeholders’ positive evaluation of the assessment design in meeting the current and future needs of the legal
profession and clients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-476
Number of pages26
JournalClinical Law Review: a journal of lawyering and legal education
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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