Report from the 2019 CLEAA Conference

The 2019 CLEAA Conference and AGM took place from 16-19th October in Sydney and has received very positive feedback so far. Here is short roller-coaster ride through the action-packed event!

For those who arrived early, a relaxed welcome reception took place on Wednesday evening at the Law Society of NSW, conveniently located next door to the conference venue at the NSW Bar Association.



Early on Thursday morning, deep in the depths of Phillip Street where the Bar Association’s art collection is wonderful, CLEAA gathered for two precious days of learning for ourselves.  We spend most of the year looking after the learning needs of others and this is our chance to learn for ourselves. Learning professionals from every part of the legal profession came together to share, question, listen and learn.

Following welcomes and introduction by Aunty Joanne Selfe and Ronwyn North, Law Council President-elect Pauline Wright opened the conference which then moved quickly to a lively presentation by Joydeep Hor on the broad issue of culture.

This was then followed by a very thought-provoking presentation by Kylie Nomchong on the role of education in addressing and changing workplace behaviour.

A panel session led by expert facilitator Sue-Ella Prodonovich looked at what is happening in reality, with panellists Odile Shepherd, Rachel Setti and Candice Perriman giving us their collective wisdom of a fixer on the coal face of private practice/workplace learning.

After lunch, Dr Chantal Morton served up ideas on creating CPD experience. Some of her key takeaways were passive learning is not enough, we need to make learning interactive to engage the learner, make sure you provide material the learners can revisit and always put scaffolding around the learning so learners build on their skills.  For a 5 minute snapshot of Chantal’s presentation (courtesy of VidVersity), please click here >>

To wrap up and end Day 1, we were inspired by Ann-Maree David’s enthusiasm for tech (and quietly amazed at how much she packs into a day!).

Those who attended the conference dinner at Postales that evening enjoyed an opportunity to catch up and relax after a vigorous day of learning.



Friday began with another conference highlight with Professor Frank Wu, who beamed in from USA and both challenged and entertained us with both his content and presentation on the topic of diversity. Frank is a distinguished law professor, popular law teacher and author of ‘Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White‘, which is credited with helping change the conversation around race in the United States.

A master story teller, Frank said that the stories that we tell give meaning to our lives and illustrated this wonderfully with stories of his own experiences as an Asian American and his personal journey around understanding race and the place of discussions about diversity in the context of social justice and building and maintaining a strong democracy. We will feature more on Frank Wu’s session in the December issue of CLEAATalk.

Dr Michael McNamara then reminded us that supervision is not a ‘dirty word’ and in fact is a key part of learning and applying skills safely. Many professions use supervision as a way to create a safety net and in some cases such as academia, supervisors are remunerated for their supervision services. He argued the legal profession could do with more supervision to alleviate that “sink or swim” feeling, that so many people suffer from at the start of their legal career.  Kate Cato and Shirley Southgate shared their experiences in the world of supervision from a law firm and education institution perspective.

Natalie Wieland and Anna Hinder wrapped up the conference with their dangerous ideas in CPD. Natalie demonstrated how VidVersity can be used to reinforce learning and create new learning experiences with interactive video. Anna flew us through why simulators can be an incredible way to learn, and shared other snippets of helpful information.

Of course, without our generous venue hosts none of this would have been possible – thank you to the NSW Bar Association for providing the conference venue and the Law Society of NSW for the pre-conference reception.

A huge thank you must also go to you, the conference attendees whose support and contributions ensures that CLEAA continues to survive and thrive.


PS. Conference attendees, if you have not submitted an evaluation, there is still time!


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