45 LawCouncilof Australia,RethinkingAcademicRequirementsforAdmission Discussion Paper, February 2010, . In contrast to the heady debates of the 1980s, in some law schoolsatleast,therehasbeenlittleresistancefromtheacademy tothisprescriptionofcontentfromtheprofession. Thismaybe symptomatic of the financial and time pressures felt by academics within law schools. Financially, law schools have come under increasedpressuresincetheintroductionofarelativefundingmodel bytheCommonwealthGovernmentin1990. Thefundingmodel comparesthecostoffundingdifferentdisciplinesinhighereducation and allocates funding accordingly. Law was assigned to the lowest fundingband.In1996,adifferentialsystemofstudentcontributions wasintroducedtoreflectthecostofprovidingdifferentcourses as well as the potential earning capacities of graduates. Law was included in the highest contribution band because of the potential earning capacity of graduates.
The combination of these funding and contribution reforms nowmeanthatlawstudentspaythehighestcontributionperunit of study, while law schools receive the lowest funding from the Commonwealth.46 In a submission to the Review of Higher EducationBaseFundingin2011,theCouncilofAustralianLaw Deansdescribedlawschoolsas‘chronicallyunder-funded’.47 This has led to increased student−staff ratios, a higher proportion of casualstaff,andincreasedreliancebylawschoolsonfull-feepaying students — increasing their international student and post-graduate levelintakes.MargaretThorntonarguesthatthesefinancialandtime pressures have caused legal educators to turn their focus away from deeper philosophical questions about the mission of a law degree andhowitfitswithintheUniversityandsociety,tomoreprosaic and pragmatic questions of how to competently teach a standard, relatively uniform law degree.