• Offered by ANU School of Legal Practice
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online

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

Indicative Assessment

  1. 1. Business Plan: Students will be required to draft a Business Plan for a new In-House legal team drawing on the learnings from Modules 1 and 2. In doing so students will be required to provide relevant statutory, journal and case law references to support their advice. 20% (2,000 words) - Learning Outcomes 2, 3 and 4. (20) [LO null]
  2. 2. Advice to Client: Students will be required to analyse a hypothetical fact scenario, undertake research and provide practical advice to the client drawing on the learnings from Modules 1 - 3. In doing so students will be required to provide relevant statutory and case law references to support their advice. 30% (2,000 words) - Learning Outcomes 1, 3, 4 and 5. (30) [LO null]
  3. 3. Research Project: Students will be required to select one of two research topics which draw on the learnings from Modules 1 — 5. The topics will be framed in order to provide students with the flexibility to select an area of corporate or government legal practice that best aligns to their areas of personal and /or professional interest. 50% (4,000 words) - Learning Outcomes 1 - 6. (50) [LO null]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

This is a 6 unit course which is considered to have the equivalent full time student load (EFTSL) of 6/48 = 0.125.  The number of hours allocated to an EFTSL of 0.125 is 10 — 12 hours per week.

All course materials will be available online.

The course requires continuous online participation throughout the course, as students must participate in discussion forums and other activities.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

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Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
3
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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