I did Ethics and Professional Conduct (75420) this Autumn 2010 semester.
- Credit Points: 6
- UTS Handbook: Description
Learning Structure: 3/5
1 hour lecture and 2 hour tutorial per week. Yay for short contact hours!
There is a lot of content in this subject. You’d think ethics would be common sense but no, there is a lot of case law and rules which you have to learn about. As such, I felt the 1 hour lecture was a bit short. We were often pressed for time and we even ran out of time with a few of the lectures – this meant we had to cover it ourselves or it was covered in the following lecture.
There were also 2 guest lectures (which I missed), but apparently they weren’t that helpful for the subject (not covered in exam). You can probably miss going to them. I think if they didn’t have the guest lectures and spread out the actual course content, then the lectures would have felt less rushed!
The 2 hour tutorials feel quite long! Especially since the 75% of the semester’s tutorials are all discussion questions/presentations – it can be quite boring. The tutorials, however, are compulsory attendance and count towards your Participation mark.
The 1 lecturer is Maxine Evers. She is a lovely lecturer, who genuinely wants to help her students. I had her for my tutor as well and she made the classes very open and friendly. I was really impressed that she remembers all our names. Another thing I was impressed with was that she answers all emails promptly and apologises if her email reply is a bit delayed. Often I find the teaching staff can be unresponsive or delayed in responding to emails. But Maxine is definitely an exception!
There are other tutors besides Maxine, but I won’t say anything about them since I didn’t have them.
Amount of Readings: 4/5
- Set Textbook: Parker & Evans, INSIDE LAWYER’S ETHICS, Cambridge University Press, 2007
- Set Textbook: Monahan & Hipsley, ESSENTIAL PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT: LEGAL ETHICS, Cavendish Press: Sydney, 2nd edn, 2007
- Set Textbook: Olliffe, ESSENTIAL PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT: LEGAL ACCOUNTING, Cavendish Press: Sydney, 2nd edn, 2006
Parker & Evans is an interesting read. It’s easy to digest and includes real case studies of ethical situations, which might make you laugh at the dodgy things that lawyers have done! The Discussion Questions (for the assessment) are from Parker & Evans so theoretically you DO need the textbook. However, I guess you could just copy the pages out… My approach to this book was to skim read the chapters – there’s no need to take notes – as simply reading it will contribute to your thought processes and you can probably pull something out of it for your reflection or the exam’s discussion question.
The Essential books are good, but other students said they didn’t need them. The books are basically what is covered in the lectures. However, I found it really useful to have the Essentials to refer to after the lecture. Because the lectures were so content packed, I sometimes missed or didn’t understand something. And this is where the Essentials came in handy – particularly for the Accounting topics!
What is necessary to read? Probably all 3 books. What is necessary to read and take notes for? Probably just the lectures, supplemented by the Essentials.
- Accounting Quiz (20%): 20 multiple choice questions in 2 hours. This quiz was quite easy. I haven’t done ANY accounting (Law/Arts here) and this was fine. I think people panic that it’s accounting, because they think they have to learn entirely new concepts. But wait! There is NO/LITTLE concept – it is all process! You just have to learn what do DO, not what it MEANS.
- Reflective Journal (20%): again, people panicked about how to do a reflection, lol! But this isn’t so bad, just use a of “I realised… I became aware… I was surprised…”
- Discussion Question Presentation & Participation (10%): this was the part I struggled with – I was quite bad at facilitation and I didn’t participate at all during the semester. Try to jump in and say something every week (despite the class being quite big and filled with extroverted people, lol).
- Exam (50%): this exam is hard. There is SO much to do in 2 hours (no reading time), especially compared to the Civil Litigation exam which was also in 2 hours. You have multiple choice, 3 short answer (including 1 accounting) and 1 discussion question. I think the key is to TIME MANAGE. The discussion question is usually on the 4 approaches to lawyering I believe.
Essentially, all the assessments are marked quite hard but fairly I think. Marking criteria/guidelines are provided. You also get an example Reflective Journal to look at and a chance to gain feedback from your tutor – so it’s not like you’re going in blind with your assignments. You also do practise exam questions in class before the end of semester.
I managed distinctions in the Quiz and Journal, but only a credit in the Presentation/Participation. The exam is HARD – be prepared and time manage like crazy!
Cons of this Subject:
- 1 hour lectures are too short for the amount of content. Tutorials are pretty boring but compulsory.
- If you are scared of accounting and writing reflections – beware!
- The exam is a killer.