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    "I've never known an editor in this country that has ever suggested Rupert Murdoch or any family member has intructed them to do anything ..." 

    John Hartigan, long-serving Murdoch retainer, responding to Kevin Rudd's description of News Corp as a "cancer" on democracy. The Sydney Morning Herald, August 28, 2018 ... Read more flatulence ... 


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    Saving newsprint by omitting drivel ... Election advice – ignore the War Party ... Abe Saffron – libel terrorist ... Rugby notes ... Conniptions at Uni of Syd over Challis chair and law school merger ... Evan Whitton at large ... From Justinian's archive, July 16, 2010 ... Read more ... 


     

    « Sydney law factory ramps-up production | Main | The quest for perfect sentences »
    Friday
    Apr062018

    Sydney law factory ramps-up production

    University of Sydney opens the gates to more law students than ever ... Fifty percent greater than the rate of enrolment in previous years ... More places were also opened to transfer students ... Unsustainable pressure ... Not enough teaching staff or facilities ... Fiddling the ATAR ... Nick Bonyhady's tribute to the former registrar Tyrone Carlin 

    Sydney law students: now more than ever

    RECENTLY departed University of Sydney deputy vice chancellor and registrar Tyrone Carlin has a parting gift for the law faculty: over 700 offers were made to students to start studying law at Sydney this year.

    For context, the university's statistics indicate that the commencing LLB cohort in 2017 was just 212 students, though it is not clear whether that includes transfer students. 

    This year, over 500 students enrolled in the LLB and JD - a number that a university spokesperson acknowledged was "nearly 50 percent more than planned" for the LLB. 

    We're told that the law school itself only wants to take on about 250 law students in each new LLB year, but has been forced by the university's central administration to take admissions well above that number for several years.  

    The additional uptick this year is apparently the result of a much higher than usual number of transfer requests being approved. As for how and why that happened, the university has offered no explanation. 

    Riley: unhappy dean

    Whatever the reason, Justinian understands that law dean Professor Joellen Riley is none too pleased. 

    Students can transfer into the LLB at Sydney if their school ATAR, combined with their marks in their first year of studies in another degree, are high enough. That degree can be taken at Sydney or another university, like Macquarie or Western Sydney or Wollongong. 

    It is on this basis that the University of Sydney insists that it has not lowered the entry ATAR in order to enrol so many students. 

    The spokesperson said that the transfer students from Macquarie and elsewhere essentially earned a "new ATAR as a consequence of their achievements in study in the first year of another degree".  

    Whether it is as challenging to get good grades in a commerce degree at Macquarie as it is to get an ATAR above 99.5 is an open question. 

    With the 700 Sydney law school places that had been offered, it seems about 200 potential transfer students declined the invitation this year - hence the enrolment figure of 500 - over double the number normally enrolled in a law year cohort. 

    The law school's seminar rooms only have capacity for about fifty students at a time, and the building has just one large lecture hall. As for teachers, the university said that it will "support the school in this unexpected context by allowing them to employ a significant number of new academic staff, above the number previously factored into the law school budget for 2018". 

    It's not clear whether that support will be ongoing as the larger cohort moves through its degree over the next few years.

    Meanwhile, no less a lawyer than Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told people not to do a law degree: 

    "I actively discourage kids from doing law unless they actually want to be lawyers ... 

    I do think too many kids do law and they could spend those years at university doing something more useful and more valuable to whatever career they ultimately took on."

    Carlin: eight days a week

    About 15,000 students graduate from law schools across the country, while the there are just 66,000 practising solicitors. 

    Law remains a desirable signal to employers of talent and propriety - despite the best efforts of some. Employment rates for law graduates remain above average.

    Last year Tyrone Carlin, the former DVC and registrar had a challenging time as the Fin Review took him to task for his other job as chairmanship of CPA Australia. 

    In that capacity Carlin approved the $1.8 million remuneration for CPA CEO, Alex Malley, and an extensive marketing campaign to promote him personally. Malley and Carlin had previously worked together in the business faculty at Macquarie University.

    The Financial Review also revealed that in 2017, Carlin was simultaneously occupying roles at the CPA, its subsidiary CPA Advice, Teacher's Mutual Bank and the University of Sydney - a total commitment of time that amounted to eight days a week. 

    In doing so, Carlin was taking home a combined pay packet of about $1 million - not bad for an academic.

    In May, Carlin resigned as CPA chairman and a few months later, stepped down from his deputy vice chancellor. Icarus-like he's now back as a regular research professor.  

    The university recognises that there's an issue. The spokesperson said that the higher enrolments are ... 

    "... not a situation that can continue in future years. The compound effect of commencing cohorts of this size in the next few years would be unsustainable ... We will be looking to tighten admissions over the next few years to bring the school back to a more manageable commencing cohort."  

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