How to become a lawyer in Australia

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If you are looking for a rewarding career, you'll find that studying law can take you just about anywhere you want to go. 

Why Study Law?

Legal qualifications are not just for lawyers! 

Whilst a law degree can most certainly lead to an exciting and challenging career as a solicitor or barrister, it can also open the door to a wealth of opportunities in almost every industry sector you can think of.

Law alumni have applied their legal qualifications to build high-flying careers all over the world, working in business management, banking and finance, politics and government.

Steps to becoming a lawyer (solicitor)

To practise as a solicitor in Queensland, students need to complete the following four steps:

  • Completion of an approved law degree (LLB or JD)
  • Completion of an approved practical legal training (PLT) course to obtain the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or completion of a supervised traineeship at a firm
  • Application for admission to Roll of Lawyers 
  • Application for a practising certificate 

Law Degree

There is no 'one size fits all' law degree. They range from three-year undergraduate LLB programmes to double-degree undergraduate programmes lasting up to six years, to three-year Juris Doctor (JD) programmes for those who already have an undergraduate degree.

The Council of Australian Law Deans has a list of all Australian law schools.

Graduate Training

All states, except Western Australia, require law graduates to complete Practical Legal Training (PLT) before being admitted to practice.

A number of universities offer the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. This qualification focuses on the practical skills lawyers need to succeed including: negotiation, dispute resolution, advocacy, interviewing clients, and legal writing and drafting. 

In Western Australia, the Legal Practice Board administers an Articles Training Programme, which works in conjunction with an articled clerk’s workplace experience to provide a foundation for subsequent practice. Western Australia students can opt to undertake PLT instead.

Admission to Practice

Graduates of the Diploma in Legal Practice and Western Australia residents who have completed an Articled Clerkship can seek admission to legal practice through the Law Admitting Authority in their state.

Admission to practice is a lifelong privilege that can only be revoked in cases of misconduct or criminal conviction. Once admitted to the profession, lawyers must also apply for and maintain a practising certificate.

Practitioners admitted to other Australian jurisdictions

Mutual recognition legislation generally allows for lawyers admitted in a certain Australian jurisdiction to gain admission to practice in other states and territories in Australia.

You can obtain a practising certificate in Queensland from the Queensland Law Society (as a solicitor) or Queensland Bar Association (as a barrister).

Solicitor and Barrister - What is the difference?

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