Legal astuteness is an important skill for Unitec students to acquire in their programmes of study and is vital for workplace success.  Legally astute graduates have the ability to identify and pursue opportunities to use the law and the legal system.   They can use their legal knowledge to increase the total value created at work and manage business risk.

The aim of this post is to provide resources, and support to programme development teams to consider legal astuteness in their own context.  A successful outcome will be the development of a legal astuteness outcome for the programme graduate profile, and integration into course learning outcomes, and assessment activities. 

By the end of this session you will be able to:

Knowledge: To understand the concepts and principles of legal astuteness.

Skills: Develop a graduate outcome to support student acquisition of legal astuteness in your programme.

Values: Commit to providing student to with the knowledge, skills and attributes to ensure success in their first five years of work.

People: Collaborate effectively with students, stakeholders and the programme development team members.

Learn: Access, evaluate and share resources which develops legal astuteness in your programme of study.

Integrate: Embed legal astuteness graduate outcome in course learning outcomes and assessments.  


Legal astuteness is the ability of managers to communicate effectively with lawyers and to work together to solve complex problems and to protect and leverage the organisation's resources. Legally astute managers have the ability to identify and pursue opportunities to use the law and the legal system to increase both the total value created and the share of that value captured by the firm. By being proactive, they can often forestall more onerous business regulation and convert regulatory threats and constraints into opportunities for value creation and capture. Conversely, managers who lack the ability to integrate law into the development of strategy and of action plans can place the firm at a competitive disadvantage and imperil its economic viability.  Read more....

Developers of legal studies curriculum should consider how they can improve student competencies in legal risk management. Curricula need to focus on the student and their ability to identify, assess and manage legal risk. They need to know what legal tools are available to protect the assets of the organisation and how to strategise to increase profitability. Students should be confident at communicating a legal problem orally and in writing. Legal studies curriculum needs to take into account the globalised nature of business, and ensure students are able to access information and resources in a variety of business environments. However, the most urgent need for change in legal studies is to ensure students are competent in risk management, creation of value and communication of legal issues. This will ensure students value their legal studies and develop as legally astute managers and professionals.  Read more....


To fully integrate legal astuteness into your programme of study, you will need to craft a graduate profile statement. To help you do this we have provided some sample statements from other institutions.  You will find the resources here.....

We have developed these questions to prompt your thinking about legal astuteness in your profession or vocation.


  1. What are the current trends in legal astuteness in the workplace of your graduates?
  2. How does your vocation or professional body view legal astuteness?

  3. What practices are emerging in your vocation or profession? 

  4. What international standards are in place to support legal astuteness in your vocation or profession?

  5. What do experts in your profession or vocation do to ensure legal astuteness?

  6. What technologies do the legally astute in your profession or vocation use?


Once you have developed a graduate profile statement you will need to embed it into your course learning outcomes and assessments. We have resources and training which will support your staff.  See our resource on Designing courses for significant learning.


You may like to take time to consider how legal astuteness will help your students succeed in the first five years of work. To do this you will need to consult with graduates and employers. You current students will benefit from a clear explanation of the need for legal astuteness in their career and you may like to include this in your student handbook and make it available on your programme site.


To ensure you have the information you need to make good decisions about legal astuteness you will need to work closely with students, graduates, employers, and professional bodies. We advise you to set up a consultation project, and survey your stakeholders to gather key information and ideas about legal astuteness. 


You will find a centralised and accessible knowledge base which support information skills valuable to both staff and students. You could do this through a Moodle site, or any other social network. The key is to have a knowledge based that is accessible and to which staff and students can contribute resources. 


Once you have created your legal astuteness graduate outcome, it should be embedded into course learning outcomes and assessments. We suggest you map your Legal Astuteness outcome across your programme of study. For more on Curriculum Mapping....

We also suggest you periodically review the effectiveness of your graduate profile. To do this we have created a short introduction to our student, staff and stakeholder survey.Find out more here....

If you would like more information or assistance, please contact your Te Puna Ako academic advisors.

Last updated by Diana Ayling Jun 8, 2012.

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