Author(s): Margaret Thornton
The discourse around student wellness is a marked feature of the 21st century Australian legal academy. It has resulted in various initiatives on the part of law schools, including the development of a national forum. The phenomenon relates to psychological distress experienced by students ascertained through surveys they themselves have completed. Proposed remedies tend to focus on improving the law school pedagogical experience. This article argues that the neoliberalisation of higher education is invariably overlooked in the literature as a primary cause of stress, even though it is responsible for the high fees, large classes and an increasingly competitive job market. The ratcheting up of fees places pressure on students to vie with one another for highly remunerated employment in the corporate world. In this way, law graduates productively serve the new knowledge economy and the individualisation of their psychological distress effectively deflects attention away from the neoliberal agenda.