Dr Yvette Maker is a Senior Lecturer in Law and her work focuses on the disability- and gender-related dimensions of law, policy and practice. Yvette has expertise across the fields of human rights law, disability and mental health law, consumer law, social security law, feminist theory and law and technology. She coordinates the School of Law’s Clinical Legal Education program and is passionate about the potential of legal education and research to contribute to community and social justice goals.
What inspires you about teaching and interacting with students in Law?
Law students are curious, engaged and interested in the world around them, so supporting them to develop skills and knowledge over the course of their degree is very rewarding. Part of my role at UTAS is running our Clinical Legal Education program, through which later-year Law students put their research, writing and advocacy skills into practice to support the work of Community Legal Centres and other public interest bodies. My students’ enthusiasm for community-engaged work, and the level of commitment they show in seeking to ‘make a difference’, always inspires me.
What do you believe to be the most important skills and attributes that Law graduates must acquire for a contemporary legal career?
Law can be such a great ‘all-rounder’ degree, equipping students with the skills and attributes to succeed in a range of professional and academic pursuits. While the ability to analyse and communicate legal information has always been crucial for Law graduates, social and technological changes have arguably made them more important than ever. This is especially true in light of the growing use of generative AI and other AI-enabled tools; these tools have great potential to improve the availability and accessibility of legal information, services and processes, and we seek to equip our students with a sound understanding of both their capacities and limitations so they can use them effectively in practice.
How long have you been with the University of Tasmania and what are your career highlights so far?
I joined the University of Tasmania from the University of Melbourne in 2022. My career highlights since then have included the publication of my book with Cambridge University Press, Care and Support Rights After Neoliberalism, and advising the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the recent Human Rights Council report, Support Systems to Ensure Community Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.
What is your area of research expertise and why is it important?
Most of my research is concerned with human rights law as it pertains to people with disability and mental health service users in Australia and around the globe, many of whom do still not enjoy the same rights and protections as others. Within this broad field, I am especially interested in issues relating to social security and social protection law, consumer law, and technology and the law. Underpinning all my work is an interest in community engagement – research and teaching that involves collaborating with the community and addressing matters of concern to them.