BA/LLB (Hons), PhD Candidate, Current Australian Legal Practitioner
Su has worked in a variety of legal professional contexts since her admission to practice in 2001, straddling both legal practice and academia. Her life in practice was mainly in the community legal centre sector, starting with Articles of Clerkship at Fitzroy Legal Service. She followed this with two years as an academic and researcher at the newly formed law school at Victoria University (VU). She went on to practice at the Environment Defender’s Office, the County Court as a Judge’s Associate, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as an education officer, private criminal defence practice and the Communications Law Centre. In 2008 Su went back to academia, teaching law at VU. She taught a range of subjects, but her passion and main focus was the Clinical Legal Education programs. She built these from a base of two to a suite of 13 internships programs including all of the current Westjustice/VU clinics. She now combines work at Westjustice with lecturing in law at Charles Sturt University.
Su has written and taught curriculum in a broad range of compulsory and elective law subjects, presented at national and international conferences, and published numerous reports and articles. Her work has been tabled in State Parliament and can be found on the Australian Policy Online register as well as AUSTLii. She has served on the boards of community-based organisations such as the Federation of Community Legal Centres and Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, and on editorial boards of academic publications such as the Springvale Monash Legal Service Lawyers Handbook and the Australian Feminist Law Journal. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies focussed on her passion, clinical legal education. The working title of her thesis is: Clinical legal Education, the Benchmark Lawyer and Disruptive Women.
LAW314 Community Law and Culture: Rural, Regional, Remote and Indigenous Contemporary Issues
JST309 Indigenous Communities and Policing
Su is currently working on a doctoral research project, the working title of which is Clinical Legal Education, the Benchmark Law and Disruptive Women.
Su‘s thesis argues that to be a benchmark Australian lawyer requires the existence of a particular pedigree with a hierarchy of traits that is socially, professionally and educationally managed. One of the implicit characteristics of this pedigree is masculinity. Instruction about how to become a benchmark lawyer begins with legal education, which contains many signposts pointing to the elements of the benchmark lawyer. Clinical legal education often constitutes one part of this training. Su‘s focus is on women as clinical legal educators, whose gender does not appear to match the masculinity of the benchmark lawyer pedigree, and who occupy parallel roles of legal educator and practising lawyer.
There is an abundance of feminist research into the gendered nature of the legal academy, but this work has yet to focus specifically on clinical legal education. In this thesis, research and analysis of elements of the benchmark lawyer identity and the history of clinical legal education are juxtaposed against the lived experiences of female lawyers in contemporary clinical legal education roles. Theories about identity, gender and lawyers are used as analytical tools to make sense of the benchmark lawyer pedigree. The aim is to expose ways that experiential learning in law opens space for the disruption and reconstruction of this pedigree. Su explores the capacity for female clinical legal educators to be professional identity disruptors in action and disruptive role models for future lawyers.
Su Robertson, Fare Go: Myki, Transport Poverty and Access to Education in Melbourne’s West (Westjustice, March 2016)
Su Robertson, ‘Self-representation, sexually transmitted debt and the ‘benchmark male’: A Case study’, 16 Flinders Law Journal 2, 229
Editorial Board Member, Springvale Monash Legal Service Lawyers Handbook