Legal Education Research Network LERN



  • New LERN Co-Director

    In November 2017, Professor Lisa Webley, Chair in Legal Education and Research at Birmingham Law School was appointed as Co-Director of LERN.  Lisa joins existing LERN director, Professor Anthony Bradney of Keele University Law School.  Everyone at LERN is grateful to former LERN Co-Director, Professor Patricia Leighton, for her tremendous service in establishing LERN in its current form and for her energy and enthusiasm for developing legal education research.
  • Don't miss the deadline for LERN grants!

    LERN Grants remain a very important contribution by ALT and SLS to the legal education community. The application process is relatively straightforward and please check the website for advice on how to make an application. Alternatively, contact us if you are unsure whether your proposed project is appropriate. We are keen to encourage applications which provide data from across legal education institutions, comparative work, projects that evaluate initiatives or topics, as well as topics which are very current or controversial. Remember, that one of the features of LERN grants is that you are allocated a LERN mentor for your work and your work is monitored through regular reporting of progress.

    This year the closing date for applications is 29th September 2017. As you will know, there is an expectation that your findings are presented at the annual LERN Showcasing event in December the following year. We are shortly able to announce the date of the 2017 event which will be preceded by the LERN Lecture.
  • Brexit and the Law School - North East Regional Workshop

    Law schools have some unique challenges to face.  Leaving the EU will have consequences for our core curriculum in addition to the wider implications to student numbers, staffing and research funding.  The North East may also have some unique challenges to face in terms of its geographical location and access to national funds if European Union funding is no longer available. 

    This event will bring together a range of academics from Northern Eastern law schools (attendance from Durham, Sunderland, Teesside, Leeds, Cumbria and Northumbria Law Schools is confirmed) together with practitioners to discuss the key implications of Brexit along with the potential opportunities.  The event will culminate in a joint report, which can be disseminated to policy makers, ensuring the concerns of law schools and the North East are effectively represented.

    More details (ticketing, agenda etc.) here. Summary (PDF)
  • Stories of research projects in legal education (ALT Conference, April 10, 2017)

    Many members of LERN attended the session at the ALT’s Annual Conference at Portsmouth University, where we held a lunch time Workshop on developing and delivering a research project in legal education. 

    We had two excellent presentation - one dealing with setting out on a project; the other on undertaking and dealing with findings of a project. Both dealt with the anticipated and real uncertainties and problems as, well as the ‘basics’ of managing a project itself. 

    Emma Jones from the OU told us about planning her LERN funded project on how admission tutors perceive and present the purpose of the law degree; Helen Ryan and David Chalk from Winchester University reflected on their experience of researching law students’ attitudes towards Law Trove. 

    They told us that many of their preconceptions had not been borne out in practice and adjustments had to be made to the methodology. Research is never free from surprises! 

    Here are the presentations used:

    Patricia Leighton: Intro - Stories Of Research Projects in Legal Ed - ALT Portsmouth 17
    Emma Jones: Emma Jones LERN Research Project
    Helen Ryan and David Chalk: Students use of and attitudes to Law Trove

  • Participant’s Follow-up: Demystifying Statistical Data – Workshop 8 March 2017

    Follow-up by Claudio Lombardi, Research Fellow, Europa-Kolleg Hamburg - Institute for European Integration.
  • Conference is on "Legal Education, Legal Practice and Technology"

    We would like to advise LERN members of an exciting conference organised by one of our partner groups at Nottingham Trent University. The Centre for Legal Education conference is on "Legal Education, Legal Practice and technology". It is to be held on 16th-17th June 2017. Information is available on our Events page.
  • Emma Jones from the Open University

    We are delighted to welcome Emma Jones from the Open University to LERN. Emma is a lecturer in law working on the development of Open Justice, the OU law school's new pro bono project. Her research focuses on legal education and the intersection between law and emotion. Her PhD thesis was on the role of emotion in undergraduate legal education in England and Wales and she is currently working on research projects around law school admission tutors, empathy and legal education, law student wellbeing and the role of emotion in the legal profession.
  • LERN Grantees 2016-17

    We are delighted to announce that the following awards have been made. They are as follows;
    Jane Williams, Swansea University; ’Public Legal Education for Children and Young People in Wales’
    Emma Jones, The Open University, 'Admission Tutors’ Perceptions of the Purposes of the LLB’
    Margaret Downie, Robert Gordon University, ‘Improving the Transition from Further to Higher Education’.

    Further information about these projects and Reports on the 2016 projects will be available on the website shortly.
  • A new member of the Steering Group

    We are delighted to welcome Debra Malpass, from SRA and Egle Dagilyte, from Anglia Ruskin University to the Steering Group
  • A Report for LERN 2016
  • New LERN Patron

Professor William Twining

LERN is delighted and honoured to announce that Professor William Twining, one of the most highly regarded researchers and writers on legal education has agreed to become a Patron of LERN. He will share this role with Professor Avrom Sherr who has been an amazing supporter of LERN over the past five years. We remain very grateful for all of Avrom's energy, goodwill and active participation in LERN. Professor Twining attended and chairing our Showcasing event.

  • LERN Grantees 2015 Announced
    We are happy to announce the winners of the LERN Research Grants for 2015-16. They are as follows:
    1. 'Find out about student use of and attitudes towards LawTrove' - Helen James, David Chalk
    2. 'Mobility and Modernity: Biographical Studies in African and British Legal Education' - Ambreena Manji, John Harrington
    3. 'PhDs in Law 1990-2015' - Lisa Collingwood
    4. 'Previous Academic Work in Legal Education' - Alysia Blackham, Shelda Debowski

We are delighted to announce a unique form of support for LERN provided by Oxford University Press(OUP). OUP has a panel of student representatives in most UK Law schools and as part of OUP's support for LERN it has been agreed that the student representatives will also provide support for LERN researchers. This might include, for example, helping to distribute questionnaires, help organize focus groups, be willing to be interviewed etc etc. This is a great facility for researchers and we are really grateful to OUP for this support.

  • LERN Symposium 2015 – Press Release

    The Legal Education Research Network (LERN) enjoyed a full house, at the annual LERN Symposium 2015, where seven top legal education research experts shared their different perspectives and methodologies on producing high quality research.

    The event was hosted by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in London, and was kindly supported by the Oxford University Press, as well as the longstanding allies of LERN, the Association of Law Teachers (ALT), the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) and the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS).

    The range and diversity of ‘perspectives on legal education research’ presented at the symposium was extraordinary. Delegates pondered the value and limits of methodologies such as historical, socio-legal, or scholarly. Many speakers signalled the virtues of a combined multi-method approach, and suggested many available data resources, ranging from the National Archives, existing datasets, or they provided current examples of best practice in qualitative and quantitative data gathering. Professor Ron Barnett from the Institute of Education brought a breath of fresh air by challenging from an ‘external perspective’ the legal education experts to compare their own efforts with those of educators from other fields.
    We were incredibly happy to see a good mix of longstanding members and new attendees - we hope everyone enjoyed the presentations and the atmosphere as much as we did. Please let us know what we can do better next time - fill in this (fancy) but short survey, it only takes a couple of minutes.

    Powerpoint presentations and other materials are available on the LERN Showcase Repository.

    See photographs from the LERN Symposium 2015.

    The Symposium culminated with the official launch of ‘Team LERN’ – a mentoring and collaborative initiative whereby members of LERN would help one another with helpful feedback and support so as to produce higher quality research output. Experienced researchers can offer to become core members of Team LERN by filling in this form.
  • We are delighted to welcome to LERN Professor Ron Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at UCL Institute of Education, as an advisor to LERN on higher education generally. This is the essential context for much of our research work. He made an excellent contribution to our Showcasing event where he shared his thoughts and some concerns about the world of higher education. He drew on his recently published book Understanding the University: Institutions, Ideas and Possibilities (2015) Routledge.
  • Paul Knepper, who received a LERN research grant in 2013-2014 for research into 'Black Firsts in British Law', spoke about his work at the Royal College of Surgeons of England on Friday 16 October 2015.
  • Team LERN initiative. In order to further develop LERN's role as a supportive network and useful sounding board we will soon be launching Team LERN, whereby members and others can indicate their willingness to provide support to another researcher in areas such as: checking and piloting digital questionnaires; suggesting source material; suggesting useful contacts; advising on conduct of interview schedules; advising where research might be published and on other outcomes. We will be making available a list of names, areas and contact details once we have their agreement. Experienced researchers can offer to become core members of Team LERN by filling in this form.
  • New book from Hart Publishing 'The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession' is out now - edited by LERN's own Professor Hilary Sommerlad. Order now and receive a 20% discount.
  • For information on Workshops etc, please go to Events
  • For information about research grants, please go to Grants
  • LERN Newsletter Past Issues
  • LERN Newsletter - December 2015

This page is currently being updated but further News items will be available shortly

Page last updated: 16th May 2018