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Gain insight into a real legal environment

The Work Experience component is the second of three essential components of PLT Plus. Designed to give you insights into what it’s like to work in a real legal environment, this is your first opportunity to apply your skills to real-life legal problems.

You have many work experience possibilities available to you. However, your placement must be considered ‘eligible’ to be approved. This means it must:

  • Occur in the delivery of legal services
  • Be supervised by a legal practitioner who meets the Work Experience Rules criteria

work experience 
examples

You have a huge range of opportunities that may count towards your Work Experience component. Examples include:

  • Summer clerkships
  • Paralegal work
  • Volunteering at community legal centres
  • A placement with Legal Aid
  • Working with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Tax or legal division of chartered accountants
  • Government policy and planning work
  • Judge’s associate or tipstaff
  • Assisting barristers in chambers
  • Working in government or semi-government departments
  • Assisting Tribunal members
  • Companies with legal departments

WORk experience format options

 

Structure

Choose if:

SHORT FORMAT

25 days of approved work experience

+

Clinical Experience Module (CEM)

You’ve already had work experience – or 75 days of work experience is impractical for you

STANDARD FORMAT

75 days of approved work experience

 

You have already accrued or plan to accrue a significant proportion of the work experience days needed

short format

The Short Format option runs for either:

  • 20 weeks if you’re studying full-time
  • 30 weeks if you’re studying part-time

In addition to your 25 days’ work experience, the Short Format requires you to complete the Clinical Experience Module (CEM), which comprises two components:

  1. Four written reflections about your work experience
  2. An advanced skills session

The CEM incurs an additional cost (which is FEE-HELP applicable) and you may only start it after you have completed your 25 days’ work experience.

If you enrol in the Short Format and accrue 75 days’ work experience, you can move into the Standard Format.


Clinical Experience Module

standard format

The Standard Format requires you to complete 75 days’ work experience – before, during or after your Coursework component.

If you enrol in the Standard Format, you can move into the Short Format provided you have already accrued 25 days’ work experience.

Changing Format Options

The Standard Format requires you to complete 75 days’ work experience – before, during or after your Coursework component. If you enrol in the Standard Format, you can move into the Short Format provided you have already accrued 25 days’ work experience.

work experience rules

To be eligible, your work experience must comply with the Work Experience Rules relevant to your state. In short, your work experience:

  1. Must occur in the delivery of legal services
  2. Must be under the supervision of an appropriate supervisor
  3. May be undertaken in one or multiple placements
  4. May include experience undertaken as an undergraduate (but such experience cannot be used to satisfy the entire 75 day placement)

Important: Work Experience Rules vary by state. So please ensure you read the rules specific to your state carefully and contact us if you have any questions. 

Important - Work Experience Changes

The Work Experience rules are changing. LACC has prescribed new standards for PLT Work Experience for all PLT providers. We have not been told of the start date or length of the transitional period. 

To help you consider your work experience, please be aware of the following changes: 

  1. The existing work experience rules will continue to apply until the start date of the new rules is announced. We recommend that you lodge Approval and Declaration forms for any complying work experience as soon as possible. 
  2. The minimum period of work experience that can be counted in all jurisdictions is 1 day a week or 2 half days (4 hours each) 
  3. For both Short and Standard work experience options you will be required to complete 15 days’ work experience in Australia undertaken concurrently with the Coursework Component or within 2 years of its completion. 
  4. Additional work experience required can be undertaken 2 years before or after the Coursework Component. All PLT components must be completed within 4 years. 
  5. Your work experience placement must include most or all of:
  • significant interaction with external or in-house clients
  • drafting
  • legal research
  • use of a file management system.

6. Your supervisor must be admitted, have substantial experience and be currently practising law.

If you have any questions, please contact Jayne Watt at jawatt@collaw.edu.au or on 02 9965 7025.    

Work experience
Work experience
Work experience

when can i do my work experience?

Subject to the relevant Work Experience Rules in your state, you may undertake work experience before, during or after your Coursework component.

Please seek approval for any work experience before starting your Coursework component to ensure it is eligible. 

On many occasions through PLT the staff here was so fantastic in working with me to make sure I could hold down these jobs and still complete my certificate and get everything I possible could out of the program.

David De Witt

Lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid, Melbourne, Australia

how to have your work experience approved

Simply follow the following four steps:

  1. Read the Work Experience Rules for your state thoroughly to seek admission.
  2. Download and complete the Work Experience Approval Form (PDF) in full. If you are undertaking work experience in Western Australia, please complete the WA Work Experience Approval Form (PDF)
  3. Submit your Work Experience Approval Form (signed by your supervisor) before, or as soon as possible after you start your placement via email. Alternatively, you may post it to:

    Student Services
    The College of Law
    2 Chandos Street
    St Leonards NSW 2065


    We will then advise you of the outcome of your application.
  4. After completing your placement, submit the original Work Experience Declaration Form (PDF) (signed by your supervisor) to the College. If you are undertaking work experience in Western Australia, please complete the WA Work Experience Declaration Form (PDF) instead. 

 

Can work experience be approved retrospectively?

Yes. In fact, this is quite common – especially in cases where students complete work experience as undergraduates. However, approval is at our discretion.

Your work experience must still comply with the Work Experience Rules – and you still need to follow Steps 2-4 above. 

 

Seeking admission in Victoria?

If so, please be aware that overseas work experience must be approved in advance.   

Your Work Experience Supervisor

The role of your work experience supervisor is to ensure that your placement is of benefit to both you and your employer.

Learn more about the role of the Work Experience Supervisor (PDF).

Am I Covered By Insurance While Doing Work Experience?

Yes, you are entitled to insurance cover as a College of Law student.

How to Find a Work Experience

We support you in a number of ways

Although you are responsible for finding your own work experience, we help and support you in a number of ways. These include: 

  • Advertising employment vacancies on our Jobs Noticeboard
  • Providing you with the opportunity to upload your resume so that employers can search for available law students and graduates
  • Networking with industry to source placements
  • Promoting the College and its students to employers

 

Online Jobs Noticeboard 

With more than 70 jobs from around the country at any one time, we have more opportunities available for law students than any other website in Australia.

We actively source opportunities for our Jobs Noticeboard – and actively work with industry to find placement opportunities. We also advertise in legal publications encouraging employers to post jobs on our noticeboard. 


Student Employment Register

The College of Law provides a free service that allows law students and young lawyers to post CV's on the Jobs Noticeboard so that employers can search for candidates who match their criteria.

To post your CV, create a Job Seeker profile on the Jobs Noticeboard. Please note that this service is only available to College students and graduates.


Other places to find work experience

Please see these links for work experience opportunities:

 

 Survive Law

Beyond Law

Social Justice Opportunities

Pro Bono Australia

Justice Connect (formerly PILCH)

National Association of Community Legal Centres

questions about your work Experience Component?

Please contact:

Jayne Watt
Work Experience Liaison Officer
jawatt@collaw.edu.au
02 9965 7025

I would strongly recommend The College's PLT course because it really gives you an insight into what it's like to practice as a lawyer and you get that experience in a non-threatening, learning, support environment.

Hollymaree Cobby, Graduate

Practical Legal Training

The lecturers are excellent. They are thorough professionals, very knowledgeable, able to provide you with real practical examples, they really teach you what the law is about and how to apply it.

Gary Zervas, Graduate

Practical Legal Training

The College marries up the law degree that you’ve got and the information in your head and it gives you the tools to apply it practically.

Nicholas Scerri, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Scerri Legal

Practical Legal Training
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