• Class Number 6669
  • Term Code 2950
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Brett Walker
    • Brett Walker
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 05/08/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 23/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 23/08/2019
SELT Survey Results

Over the last 20 years there has been a significant increase in the number of solicitors employed by corporations and in government. The most recent Law Society National Profile Report (April 2015) found that 15.8% of practising lawyers in Australia worked for corporations and 9.6% worked in government. More relevantly, while between 2011 and 2014 the number of practising lawyers in Australia increased by 12%, the number of corporate lawyers increased by 22% and the number of government lawyers increased by 19%. In addition, in particular legal markets the proportions of corporate and government lawyers are significant, for example, in the ACT 44.3% of practising lawyers are employed in government while in NSW 19.3% of practising lawyers are employed by corporations. It is also important to note that for these purposes "corporations" include not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.

The growth in corporate and government employment for solicitors has been driven by a range of factors including the desire of corporations and governments to reduce costs and ensure easier access to legal advice by lawyers who know their business in an increasingly complex and regulated world. It has resulted in corporate and government lawyers developing their own identities and forming specialised professional bodies which are better tailored to their professional development and networking needs (for example, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Commonwealth Legal Network and the Government and Corporate Law Committees / Chapters of the various State and Territory Law Societies). 

While corporate and government lawyers are required to have the same core legal skills as their private sector counterparts, they must discharge their legal and professional obligations in a very different operating environment. For example, the in-house lawyer:

  • must be prepared to meet particular challenges to their professional independence and integrity as a result of their employment relationship with their client and the corporate or governmental hierarchy within which they operate;
  • must be prepared to meet particular challenges to their professional independence and integrity as a result of their employment relationship with their client and the corporate or governmental hierarchy within which they operate;
  • is in a position to offer far more than legal advice, they can influence good governance, strategy and legal compliance; 
  • must exercise judgment and leadership within a structure that is very different from the conventional law firm; and
  • is subject to a number of different regulatory obligations - for example, the Corporations Act for corporate lawyers and the Commonwealth, State and Territory Legal Services Directions (as applicable) for government lawyers.

The Course will cover both black letter law (eg legal professional privilege, corporate governance) and practical skills (eg the particular challenges involved in advising in house, becoming a trusted adviser, managing workload, insourcing v outsourcing and how to approach ethical challenges such as conflicts of interest).

Topics to be covered will include:

  1. Particular challenges for in-house lawyers including balancing the lawyer's role as facilitator with their responsibilities for compliance and their professional obligations. 
  2. How to manage internal relationships and build a trusted adviser relationship with the senior executive, the board, departmental secretaries and ministers. 
  3. How to structure and manage an in-house legal team for maximum impact - the role and positioning of the General Counsel and Legal Team within an organisation.
  4. Drafting effective reports, advices and other communications in an in-house environment (contrasting this with the types of communications written by external lawyers). 
  5. Understanding corporate governance and risk management.
  6. Understanding professional duties including maintaining confidentiality and legal professional privilege. 
  7. Identifying and managing conflicts of interest and duties both within the Legal Team and more broadly within the organisation.
  8. Managing workloads, external law firms, budgets and legal costs. 

The Course would be suitable for a range of professionals including:

  • lawyers who are working or are contemplating working in a government or corporate environment (including for not for profit organisations or NGOs); and
  • lawyers who are working or are contemplating working in private law firms but who are interested in better understanding the corporate and government environment.

The Course will focus on the issues that arise in a range of real world transactions and scenarios and will

have a strong emphasis on providing students with a practical framework for solving legal and ethical problems and providing practical and pragmatic advice.



Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the principles of corporations law, administrative law and legal practice regulation in so far as they relate to the undertaking of corporate and government legal practice;
  2. Demonstrate specialised knowledge of the structuring, management and performance evaluation of corporate and government legal practices;
  3. Demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge of corporate and government legal practice to generate complex solutions and reflect critically on the theory and practice of law in corporate and government environments;
  4. Investigate, critically reflect on and effectively communicate in plain English to inform diverse audiences of complex theoretical and practical ideas, concepts, strategies and courses of action concerning the practice of law in corporate and government environments;
  5. Demonstrate relative cognitive and creative skills to analyse and synthesise complex information and problems at a theoretical level to then develop, justify and apply solutions at a practical level, particularly to advise on the structure, performance and regulation of corporate and government legal practices; and
  6. Autonomously design, theorise, plan, execute and evaluate a substantial research-based project on a corporate or government legal practice topic . Modules, teaching, learning activities and assessment will be designed to develop the student’s / participant’s cognitive, technical and practical skills and knowledge to be able to advise on transactions and interactions and to operate efficiently and effectively as a corporate or government lawyer. Students / participants will engage in simulated

Research-Led Teaching

The Course will draw on the Convenor’s research into In-House Legal Practice and his significant experience as a senior lawyer and General Counsel in corporate and government legal environments.

Required Resources

There is no prescribed text for this course although the best Australian text on in-house legal practice is Benny Tabuljan, Leadership and Management Challenges for In-House Legal Counsel (LexisNexis, 2008).  This text is referred to in the Course Reading List and is an excellent resource for corporate and government lawyers.

This text is available directly from the publisher at a cost of $100. A copy of the text will also be available on 2 day loan from the ANU Law Library for the duration of the Course.

An e-brick will be available on the Wattle Site. This document will contain direct links to the core reading materials (excluding the Tabuljan Text referred to above which cannot be made available online for copyright reasons). In addition, other materials that are not available via the ANU Law Library will be made available on the Wattle Site.

Staff Feedback

You will be given written and/or oral feedback pointing out things that have been done well and those that could be done better or differently. You will be given written or oral feedback following any submission of an assessment. This is typically available 1-4 weeks after submission of the assessment. You may seek further elaboration on any feedback - either from your marker or by the convenor. If you feel that your feedback and grade does not reflect your performance, please contact the convenor in writing and outline your concerns. Your submission will be re-marked by a new examiner.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

External Resources

Information about the ANU Law Library, including details of E-Legal research online resources (for example, CCH Intelliconnect, Legal Online, LexisNexisAU, etc) is available to ANU students and can be found at http://anulib.anu.edu.au/subjects/law. For access to the online resources please go to: http://virtual.anu.edu.au then type in your student number and password. At various points throughout the course you will be directed to other useful external resources.


Referencing Requirements

Where required, students must use footnotes for referencing and the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/mulr/aglc) for the citation style. 


Word Limits

The method of calculation of word length for assessment pieces in this course is a global word count. This means that when calculating the number of words of a piece of assessment students must include all headings, text, and footnotes (excluding bibliography). Students should calculate this using Microsoft Word’s word count function or equivalent. The default penalty is as follows: the mark which is awarded initially will be reduced by half the proportion by which the word limit has been exceeded. As an example, if the word limit is 2,000 words, and the essay submitted is 3,000 words long, then the initial mark for the essay would be reduced by 25% of that mark.

Papers which fall short of words will not be penalised on that basis alone. However, short papers risk failing to address the question adequately.


ANU Library

All enrolled ANU students can access the ANU databases (including the full-text databases such as Westlaw) through the ANU Library webpage http://anulib.anu.edu.au/lib_home.html. Opening hours for the Law Library can be accessed at http://anulib.anu.edu.au/using-the-library/opening-hours/. To access restricted ANU web pages from home as though coming from a computer on campus you need the Reverse Proxy Server known as ‘Virtual’. You can access virtual through http://virtual.anu.edu.au/login.

Students living near another law school may need to access print resources from their local school. ANU students can use these collections through the University Library Australia national borrowing scheme. The scheme allows people who are enrolled at a university in one city to access university libraries in another city at a reduced rate. For further information see http://www.caul.edu.au/caul-programs/university-library-australia. Students who wish to participate in this scheme need to join at the library they wish to access material from. The cost of the scheme is $50 per academic year.

The ANU document delivery service is available for remotely located students in non-capital cities. For further information see https://anulib.anu.edu.au/using-the-library/document-supply-services/.

The ANU Library Off-Campus Service is available to students who live more than 60 kilometres from the ANU campus at Acton, ACT. Before using the service for the first time, you will need to complete the online User Agreement Form. You will then be able to request a book, table of contents, chapter or article using the request forms on the Off-Campus Service web pages. For further information see http://anulib.anu.edu.au/offcampus/.


Sub-Dean, GDLP/MLP

The GDLP/MLP Sub-Dean can be contacted via email on subdean.slp@anu.edu.au

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The Evolving Role of the In-House Counsel
2 The Evolving Role of the In-House Counsel cont'd...
3 The In-House Operating Environment – Particular Challenges for the In-House Counsel
4 The In-House Operating Environment – Particular Challenges for the In-House Counsel cont'd...
5 Legal Professional Privilege Assessment 1 due: Monday, 02 September 2019
6 Legal Professional Privilege cont'd... Assessment 2 released: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
7 Corporate Governance and Risk Management
8 ?Corporate Governance and Risk Management cont'd...
9 Particular Issues for Government Lawyers Assessment 2 due: Monday, 30 September 2019
10 ?Particular Issues for Government Lawyers cont'd... Assessment 3 released: Wednesday, 02 October 2019
11 Assessment Preparation - Assessment 3
12 Assessment Preparation - Assessment 3 Assessment 3 due: Friday, 25 October 2019

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Discussion Posts (25%) 25 % 02/09/2019 16/09/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Memorandum of Advice to Client (35%) 35 % 30/09/2019 14/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Research Paper (40%) 40 % 25/10/2019 22/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


You must check Wattle course announcements and forum discussions as well as your ANU email at least every 24-48 hours.

All email correspondence from the ANU will be sent to your ANU email address. You may arrange for your ANU Email to be forwarded to an email address you check daily.

Alternatively, set your personal setting to provide you with all the reminders you need to achieve this. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to ensure you are actively committed and involved in this course.

The course will be conducted in the following time zones (Canberra time). 

Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): from 7 April 2019 to 6 October 2019. 

Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT): from 7 October 2019 to 5 April 2020.

Please make appropriate adjustments if you are located in a different time zone.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 02/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Discussion Posts (25%)

Format: Students will be required to contribute to online class discussions during Weeks 1 – 4 and will be required to select and submit 4 discussion posts of not more than 500 words each (2,000 words in total) for marking. 2 of the selected posts must be on topics initiated by the student and 2 must be the student’s response or constructive critique of a post by another student or the Convenor. 

Submission Date: Monday, 02 September 2019

Length: 2,000 words in total with a maximum of 500 words per post. 

Estimated Date of Results: Monday, 16 September 2019

Assessment Criteria

Analysis of the Issues 

  • clearly identifies and considers issues raised in Topics 1 and 2 
  • critical analysis and discussion of the key points, issues and policies 
  • evidence of consideration of the reading and research materials drawn on 
  • information analysed and applied, not just summarised or quoted extensively 

Communication & Development of Argument 

  • clear language appropriate for the medium 
  • arguments, ideas and solutions are logical, well-organised and linked coherently 


  • originality of ideas and analysis of the material 
  • consideration of opposing arguments 
  • well-reasoned and practical conclusion / recommendations 


  • evidence of relevant research including prescribed reading materials and additional research 
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used 
  • use of theoretical and practical material as appropriate 

Presentation, style and referencing 

  • structured contribution with appropriate headings and paragraphs 
  • clear expression, interesting and engaging of reader 
  • appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling 
  • full and accurate references where appropriate 
  • adherence to any word limit specified, or word limit appropriate for the response 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 30/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 14/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Memorandum of Advice to Client (35%)

Format: Students will be required to provide practical advice to a hypothetical client drawing on the materials covered in Topics 1 – 4. 

Release Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Submission Date: Monday, 30 September 2019

Length: 2,800 words. 

Estimated Date of Results: Monday, 14 October 2019

Assessment Criteria: 


  • answering the question(s) asked 
  • identification of the legal issues raised by the question 
  • legal principles stated and explained with accuracy 
  • legal principles stated and explained in appropriate detail 
  • relevant facts recognised and linked to the legal principles 
  • originality/innovation in approach to issues 
  • research covering primary and secondary materials 
  • integration of material from research resources into the answer 
  • provision of practical, useful, commercially realistic and risk-based advice 
  • clear conclusions and recommendations 


  • emphasis on the significant issues 
  • answer is coherent and structure logical 


  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs 
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader 
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling 
  • full and accurate footnotes 
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation where appropriate 
  • adherence to word limit 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 25/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 22/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Paper (40%)

Format: Students must submit a Research Essay that addresses an issue relevant to contemporary in-house legal practice. 

Students may either: 

  1. select from one of the research topics proposed by the Convenor, or 
  2. seek the Convenor’s approval of a topic proposed by the student 

Approval of Topic: The Convenor will release some suggested topics on 2 October 2019 and Students who wish to select their own topic must request approval by no later than 5 October 2019. Students are encouraged to have a discussion with the Convenor before 2 October 2019 if they are interested in particular topic areas so that their proposed topics can be discussed and refined as soon as possible. The Convenor will respond to all requests within 48 hours.

Topics selected by students must draw on the learnings from the Course and provide sufficient scope to enable the Student to demonstrate his or her learnings from the Course supplemented by independent research.

Submission Date: Friday, 25 October 2019

Length: 3,200 words. 

Estimated Date of Results: Results and feedback will be available shortly after the final Course results are available via ISIS. 

Assessment Criteria: 

Understanding of the Issues 

  • addresses the research question and covers all the important points 
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on 
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified 
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively 

Communication & Development of Argument 

  • clear theme or argument 
  • arguments logical and well-organised 
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently 


  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material 
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas 
  • suggestions for change where appropriate 
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate 
  • addressing opposing arguments 
  • well-reasoned conclusions 


  • research covering primary and secondary materials 
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used 
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate range of research sources 
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay 

Presentation, style and referencing 

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs 
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader 
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling 
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography 
  • style according to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 
  • adherence to word limit 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You may be required to submit an assessment either through:

  1. Wattle dropbox and Turnitin, or
  2. Wattle dropbox only, or
  3. Turnitin only.

Please read the instruction for each assessment carefully.

Where assessments are to be submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site, you will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assessment.

Where assessments are to be submitted using Wattle dropbox in the course Wattle site, you will be required to electronically sign a declaration, by tick boxes, as part of the submission of your assessment. If you fail to do this, your assessment will be recorded as a draft only. This may affect its acceptance as a submitted assessment.

Please keep a copy of all your assessments for your records.

Assessments must be submitted in the format identified in the assessment instructions, for example, in accordance with relevant court or tribunal requirements; usual contract or will formats or advice format.

Research essays, reflective comments or similar documents must be submitted in 12-point font, double-spaced, formatted for A4-size paper, and with pages numbered.

Hardcopy Submission

No hard copy submission will be accepted in this class.

Late Submission

Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Your written work will receive feedback and grading via the course Wattle site under the corresponding assessment drop box. Assessment results are typically available between 1-4 weeks after the due date via the same dropbox your assessments were submitted to. The Convenor will post announcements about when you can expect your assessment results.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Brett Walker

Research Interests

Brett has more than 30 years’ experience as a practising lawyer in private, government and corporate practice. Most recently Brett was General Counsel and Executive Director Operations at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (2009 – 2014).

From 2002 to 2009 Brett was seconded to the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Agriculture as a lead negotiator for Australia in various United Nations’ intellectual property and biotechnology treaty negotiations (including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Nagoya Protocol, the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture). This included being appointed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to chair several Working Groups dealing with intellectual property and biotechnology law related matters.

From 1989 to 2001 Brett held senior legal roles with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney and international law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Canberra.

In 2011 Brett was appointed by then Attorney General Roxon to be the inaugural Chair of the Commonwealth Legal Network Services Board. A position he held until 2014.

Brett has extensive practical experience in advising on a broad range of commercial law matters both domestically and internationally but has particular expertise in intellectual property law, media and technology law, Commonwealth administrative law, taxation law and company law. He is a regular presenter at conferences in Australia and internationally and is regularly called up by the media to comment on legal issues within his areas of expertise.

Prior to joining the Australian National University Brett held visiting academic positions at the University of Sydney, the University of Canberra and the University of Western Sydney.

Brett Walker

Monday 09:00 13:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00
Brett Walker

Research Interests

Brett Walker

Monday 09:00 13:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions