How to Become a Lawyer in Australia?
We’re often asked by Australian students’, International students and overseas qualified lawyers’ about how to become a lawyer in Australia. A law degree is such a versatile degree and can lead you to many amazing career opportunities both in the legal sector and in many other industries.
In essence, there are 3 main requirements:
- Complete a recognised Australian law degree
- Complete the practical legal training
- Seek admission to practice
If you’re an Australian student, the legal career path is fairly straight forward, and although the career path is challenging and competitive, it can be highly rewarding.
As an international student, if you’re considering choosing Australia as a destination to complete your law degree, you will be welcomed and offered the opportunity to learn at some of the world’s best law schools while enjoying the amazing relaxed Australian culture.
If you’re an overseas qualified lawyer who is considering a lifestyle change, then you’ll find the legal bodies in Australia highly supportive and full of enthusiasm. They’ll be happy to guide you on how to have your degree recognised and will assist you with the requirements and information on how to gain admission to practice as a lawyer in Australia.
Here’s a quick overview of the process of how to become a lawyer in Australia!
Australian Domestic Students
If you’re an Australian student, the legal career process to becoming an Australian qualified lawyer is a fairly straightforward process.
1. Complete a Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
Complete an undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at an Australian university (3-5 years’ full-time). The entry requirements vary from law school to law school and so do some components of the degree. Some law degrees will have variations in subjects however, there is the requirement to complete the “Priestly 11” core law subjects which must be completed no matter which law school you attend.
If you are a postgraduate student, you can usually complete a Juris Doctor (24 months’ full-time).
2. Complete Practical Legal Training
After graduating from your law degree you must complete the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) or Practical Legal Training (PLT) as it’s most commonly known. Practical legal training is offered by different providers and the training focuses more on the practical aspects of practising as a lawyer. Depending on the education provider, practical legal training will take anywhere from 3 months to 6 months (full-time) and it consists of both a practical component and class component.
Here is a list of recognised Australian Practical Legal Training Course Providers:
- Australian National University Legal Workshop
- Bond University Post Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
- College of Law
- Flinders University Practical Legal Training Program
- Griffith University Legal Practice Centre
- Leo Cussen
- Queensland University of Technology Legal Practice Course
- Law Society of South Australia Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
- University of Tasmania, Centre for Legal Studies
- University of Technology Sydney PLT
3. Admission to the Supreme Court to practice as a Lawyer in Australia
After you’ve completed your Practical Legal Training and obtained your Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, you must be admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court before you can practice. The legal industry body that oversees the admissions of new lawyers in Australia is the Legal Practitioner Admissions Board, there is one in each State. There are quite stringent obligations and disclosures that need to be made so make sure you satisfy the requirements. Generally, your Practical Legal Training course provider will give you plenty of information and resources on how to become admitted as a lawyer.
International Students – Australian Undergraduate Law Degree
Australian universities are very accommodating to international students seeking to study law, generally, the prerequisites are:
- You have completed tertiary education which is equivalent to grade 12 in Australia
- If you have extensive professional experience you may be able to gain entry to an Australian University without a grade 12 tertiary qualification
- You must be able to communicate proficiently in English (written and verbal)
- Each Australian university which offers the Bachelor of Laws will have their own requirements, so make sure to research them individually, depending on which Australian Law School you’re planning to attend. The list is here.
International Students – Australian Postgraduate Law Degree
In most circumstances, you will need to have obtained a law degree to commence a postgraduate law degree (Juris Doctor). If you have a law degree it will be assessed by the University and they may offer a bridging course or you may be able to complete certain subjects of the Australian law degree to satisfy the completion requirements of the degree. Once again, check with the Australian University you are considering to have your degree assessed.
Overseas Qualified Lawyers – How to Get Admitted as a Lawyer in Australia
If you are an overseas qualified lawyer, check with Law Society in the Australian State that you are considering relocating to. They will assess your degree and advise you of the steps necessary for you to practice in Australia. It’s quite common for the Law Society to recognise your Law Degree although you must complete the “Priestly 11” core law subjects at an Australian University and then complete your PLT and State admission requirements.
Consider Australian Migration Laws and Visa Requirements
There are quite complex rules and laws around student visas and working visas which you will need to both study and work in Australia. It’s imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced Australian migration lawyer who is able to give you advice based on your individual and unique situation.
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Disclaimer: Please note the information provided in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied on solely or be taken as legal advice, please ensure you seek advice from the bodies listed in this article to obtain the right information relevant to your situation.