The University of Tasmania is delighted to welcome Dr Yvette Maker to the Law School staff. Dr Maker will lead our Clinical Legal Education program, under which our undergraduate Law students will gain invaluable first-hand experience of the legal profession through placement in the University Student Legal Service or with Tasmanian legal services.
Welcome Yvette! Where have you come to us from?
Thank you – I’m very pleased to be here! I have recently arrived from Melbourne, where I worked for a number of years as a Senior Research Associate at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, an interdisciplinary research body hosted by the University of Melbourne Law School. More recently, I’ve also been working at Melbourne University’s Centre for AI and Digital Ethics.
What is your area of particular expertise and interest within the Law?
Most of my research is concerned with social justice and human rights, with a focus on disability and mental health law and policy. My other areas of interest are consumer law, social security 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 interest and concern to them.
What attracted you to this particular role at the University of Tasmania?
My passion for clinical legal education attracted me to this role, as did the Faculty of Law’s reputation as a high-performing and collegiate research and teaching institution. I have been involved in Melbourne Law School’s ‘Disability Human Rights Clinic’since 2015, supporting students to conduct legal research for community organisations, United Nations bodies and the public sector. That work gave me a real appreciation of the value of clinical legal education for students, universities and the community.
What do you see as the essential components of a high quality and enjoyable Clinical Legal Education experience, both for the student and for the CLE provider?
The beauty of clinical legal education is that it has benefits for all parties. Clinic programs develop students’ lawyering and advocacy skills for future practice, strengthen universities’ connection to the community, offer valuable resources (most importantly, students’ expertise, enthusiasm and time) to CLE providers and other partners, and extend access to legal support to more members of the community.
What would you like each student to take away from their CLE experience?
I would like each student to be equipped with a range of skills and knowledge for a smooth transition to professional life here in lutruwita/Tasmania or elsewhere around the globe, to make some new and valuable connections with the profession and the community, and to have a deep appreciation of the power of their legal education to make a difference in the ‘real world’.