How to Be a Lawyer in Australia

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The process of becoming a lawyer in Australia is different than the process of becoming a lawyer in America. For example, undergraduate and graduate law education is often combined into one program. Up to half of the Australian law graduates do not practice law with their degrees. Instead they use their law degree to pursue careers in consulting, banking, finance and journalism, among other areas of work. Every state and province in Australia has its own law certification requirements.

  • Get a law degree in Australia. Most law students in Australia attend schools with law programs that combine undergraduate and graduate training together and last five to six years. You can find a list of approved schools at the Australian Education Network website.

  • Check out career fairs and publications produced by your school’s Law Student Society. Look at the information that they provide about working in a law firm as a vacation clerkship.

  • Submit applications for a job as a vacation clerk in a law firm. Get hired and begin the job. You will gain a lot of hands-on law experience and will receive priority for graduate jobs if you work as a vacation clerk. Most clerkship positions last a year.

  • Complete Practical Legal Training (PLT) course if you do not want to get a clerkship job. You will learn skills often needed by lawyers such as dispute resolution, negotiation and drafting letters. You can take a PLT course through Australian colleges or law institutes.

  • Ask to be “admitted to practice” from the Supreme Court of the state where you did your graduate training. Then obtain a practicing certificate from your local Legal Services Board. Once you have a practicing certificate, you can work as a lawyer until the certificate expires. Renew the certificate annually.

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