Law student wellbeing: A neoliberal conundrum

Margaret Thornton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The discourse around student wellness is a marked feature of the 21st century Australian legal academy. It has resulted in various initiatives on the part of law schools, including the development of a national forum. The phenomenon relates to psychological distress reported by students through surveys. Proposed remedies tend to focus on improving the law school pedagogical experience. This article argues that the neo-liberalisation of higher education is invariably overlooked in the literature as a primary cause of stress, even though it is responsible for the high fees, large classes and an increasingly competitive job market. The ratcheting up of fees places pressure on students to vie with one another for highly remunerated employment in the corporate world. In this way, law graduates productively serve the new knowledge economy and the individualisation of their psychological distress effectively deflects attention away from the neoliberal agenda.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-50pp
    JournalAustralian Universities' Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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