A Critical Evaluation of Alumni and Employers’ Perceptions of the Impact of Clinical Legal Education on Employability

Alexander, Jill (2021) A Critical Evaluation of Alumni and Employers’ Perceptions of the Impact of Clinical Legal Education on Employability. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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The aim of this empirical study is to critically evaluate the intersection of employability and Clinical Legal Education (CLE), from the perspective of both employers and alumni. As the graduate recruitment market becomes increasingly complex and competitive, gaining insight into the types of activity that are valued by students and employers to enhance student employability, is ever more important to support and shape the employability agenda within Higher Education Institutions.
The review of the literature confirmed that there is scant empirical evidence on the intersection of CLE and employability, and there are no qualitative studies on the role of CLE in supporting and enhancing employability, despite CLE being an important pedagogical teaching tool in law schools domestically and internationally. Embracing an interpretivist theoretical perspective, my study analysed twenty-two semi-structured interviews using thematic analysis to gain rich, contextual insights from alumni and employers. The data revealed that the alumni lacked confidence prior to engaging with CLE but went on to gain confidence from their CLE experiences. This increased confidence provided the catalyst for the actions the alumni took to gain traction with employers, enabling them to present a professional identity established both from their CLE experiences and from professional socialisation to portray the personality and professionalism required by employers.
This thesis offers important contributions to knowledge and practice in CLE and employability discourse in Higher Education. First, using Northumbria Law School and its Student Law Office, as the site of this study, this thesis captures and articulates stakeholder voices that are less well represented in the literature, namely the perceptions of alumni from less privileged backgrounds studying at a post-1992 university and employers who recruit and employ graduates with CLE experiences. Second, this thesis is able to evidence for the first time the importance of CLE in increasing confidence and inculcating a professional identity, which enhances employability during the recruitment process and as the alumni move into the graduate labour market.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Legal pedagogy, Legal education
Subjects: M100 Law by area
M200 Law by Topic
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
University Services > Graduate School
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 14:39
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 14:47
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/48327

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