Becoming a Lawyer

Becoming a Lawyer

YOUR PATHWAY TO ADMISSIOn

How do you become a lawyer in Australia? What qualifications do you need?

Here’s a few straightforward answers to these questions.

In order to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia, you need to satisfy three requirements

  • You’ve completed a law degree or equivalent course
  • You’ve undertaken a Practical Legal Training (PLT) program, which results in the award of the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
  • You’re a fit and proper person.

1. law degree

There are key areas of knowledge you will have to pass to obtain a Law degree, they are known as the ‘Priestley 11’:

  • Administrative law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Company Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedures
  • Equity (including Trusts)
  • Evidence
  • Professional Conduct (including Basic Trust Accounting)
  • Property, both Real (including Torrens System Land) and Personal
  • Torts
 
Beyond these basic requirements, individual Law Schools choose their own compulsory subjects and offer a broad range of elective courses. 
 
It’s worth noting the ‘Stale Learning Rule’, which means you have five years after you’ve graduated from law school to complete your PLT, or it won’t be recognised.

2. Practical Legal Training

You need to do your PLT at the end of your university law degree – your Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD) or equivalent qualification.

Why? A Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor gives you the theoretical understanding of the law and fulfils only part of the criteria for admission to legal practice, as set forth by the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC).

PLT is all about you developing the practical skills and knowledge you will need to practice as a junior lawyer.

It is a combination of the study of subjects which help you learn the nuts and bolts of working in a firm or organisation as a professional lawyer and work experience under an approved senior practitioner.

More ABOUT PLT

Article

What is PLT?

Much like the last 6 miles of a marathon, PLT is the final run you need to become a practising lawyer. You know - the court-appearing, contract-preparing, law-talking kind.

What is PLT

Article

Work Experience

Looking to spruce up your CV for a grad position? Want to secure a placement that counts towards your PLT? Regardless of why you’re looking, we have some useful tips to help you secure legal work experience!

Work Experience

Article

How to Land A Grad Role

To assist you in your quest, we have compiled a list of tips on how to land a role as a graduate lawyer.

How to land a graduate role

3. Fit and Proper person

Of the three requirements you need to satisfy to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia, being deemed a ‘fit and proper person’ might seem the most mystifying. Essentially this is an issue of ethics – ensuring legal professionals charged with interpreting, arguing and in some cases, drafting the law are of good moral character. The ‘fit and proper person’ requirement imposes a duty on you to disclose any criminal, academic or general misconduct that may reflect on whether you are a fit and proper person. It is quite a broad requirement, and it is worth looking into the rules imposed by the admitting authority in jurisdiction in which you are seeking admission as a lawyer.

 

Region

Admitting Authority

Court

Australian Capital Territory

Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Legal Profession Admission Board

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Northern Territory

Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of the Northern Territory

Queensland

Queensland Legal Practitioners Admissions Board (See the Queensland Courts website or the Queensland Law Society website)

Supreme Court of Queensland

South Australia

Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (See the Law Society of South Australia website)

Supreme Court of South Australia

Tasmania

Board of Legal Education (See the Law Society of Tasmania website)

Supreme Court of Tasmania

Victoria

Council of Legal Education – Victorian Legal Admissions Board

Supreme Court of Victoria

Western Australia

Legal Practice Board

Supreme Court of Western Australia

international students and lawyers

The requirements for admission to practise law in Australia vary according to where your law degree was obtained, whether you have already been admitted to practise and where you are living.

International Students and Lawyers