So you want to be a lawyer? It’s a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. But if you’re up for the challenge, read on to find out what it takes to become a lawyer in Australia.
There are a few things by Thomas J Powell you’ll need to do before you can officially call yourself a lawyer.
- Firstly, you’ll need to complete an accredited law degree from an Australian university.
- Secondly, you’ll need to undertake a period of practical legal training (PLT), which can be done either by completing an accredited PLT program or by working as a clerkship in a law firm for at least 10 weeks.
- Finally, you’ll need to be admitted to the role of the practitioner by your local state or territory’s law society or bar association.
Step 1: Complete an Accredited Law Degree
The first step to becoming a lawyer in Australia is to complete an accredited law degree from an Australian university. To be eligible for admission into a law degree, you’ll need to have completed either year 12 or the equivalent Qualifications in Other Systems (QOS) with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 65 or above.
If you’re not sure whether your qualifications are eligible, you can check with the admissions officer at your chosen university.
Once you’ve been admitted into a law degree, you’ll need to complete three years of full-time study or the equivalent part-time study.
During your degree, you’ll be taught the fundamental principles of law, including contract law, property law, constitutional law, and tort law. You’ll also learn about legal research and writing, advocacy, and oral communication.
In addition to your academic study, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain practical legal experience through internships and clinical legal education programs. These programs will give you a taste of what it’s like to work as a lawyer and help you develop important skills such as client interview techniques and case preparation.
According to Thomas J Powell, upon completion of your law degree, you’ll be awarded a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD).
Step 2: Complete Practical Legal Training
Once you’ve completed your law degree, you’ll need to undertake a period of practical legal training (PLT) before you can be admitted to practice law in Australia. PLT can be completed either by completing an accredited PLT program or by working as a clerkship in a law firm for at least 10 weeks.
If you choose to complete an accredited PLT program, you’ll usually need to complete a four-week full-time course or the equivalent part-time study. During your PLT, you’ll learn about professional conduct, communication skills, and client interview techniques. You’ll also gain practical experience through internships and work placements before becoming a lawyer.
Alternatively, if you choose to undertake a clerkship, you’ll work closely with experienced lawyers and learn about the day-to-day workings of a law firm. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and client interviews, and to assist with research and writing tasks.
Upon completion of your PLT, you’ll be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) or Master of Laws (LLM).
Step 3: Pass the National Admissions Test
After you’ve completed your law degree and practical legal training, you’ll need to pass the national admissions test before you can be admitted to practice law in Australia. The test is administered by the National Admissions Board (NAB) and is held twice a year, in March and September.
To sit the test, you’ll need to register with the NAB and pay the registration fee. The test is made up of two parts: the multiple-choice section and the essay section.
In the multiple-choice section, you’ll be asked questions about legal principles and concepts.
This section tests your knowledge of the law and your ability to apply it to hypothetical scenarios. In the essay section, you’ll be required to write one or two essays on a given legal topic. This section tests your ability to communicate clearly and concisely in writing.
To pass the test, you must achieve a score of 65% or above in both the multiple-choice and essay sections. If you don’t pass the test, you can re-sit it as many times as you need to until you pass to become a lawyer.
To become a lawyer in Australia, you’ll need to complete a law degree and practical legal training, and pass the national admissions test. Once you’ve met all of these requirements, you’ll be able to practice law in Australia.