In many ways, becoming a lawyer in Australia is similar to qualifying as a lawyer in many other English-speaking nations with a system of Barristers and Solicitors. There is a Law Society for Solicitors and a Bar Association for Barristers within every state or territory in Australia, as well as national representative groups.
In Australia, being a lawyer requires more than just obtaining a law degree. Continue reading to learn how to become a practising lawyer in four easy steps.
1. Work and study hard to ensure that you are qualified to practice law
Work hard to achieve a selection rating that qualifies you for law school. A selection rating of 90 is required for law school, so you’ll need to put in the hours and endure. You might take politics and law in Years 11 and 12 to get a head start on your undergraduate degree and gain a fundamental understanding of the Constitution, law, and politics.
However, because it is not a required subject, you should choose what interests you and what will help you achieve your goals.
2. Obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) or a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB)
The first step is to enrol in a course approved by the Law Society of the state or territory where you want to practice. An LLB is a bachelor’s degree that is acceptable for those who do not already have one. The JD is for those who have completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline.
The ‘Priestley 11’, or the 11 areas of basic legal knowledge required to practice in Australia, must be covered in the course. Both courses take three or four years to complete and will prepare you to take the next step toward becoming a lawyer.
3. Finish Practical Legal Training
In Australia, there is a Legal Admissions Board in each state or territory that evaluates students interested in becoming attorneys. These boards have certified Practical Legal Training (PLT) course providers who offer the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice courses and help students locate job placements for their Legal Practice Experience.
PLT is a structured training program that will assist you in developing the practical, day-to-day expertise that you will need as an entry-level lawyer. PLT must be completed before you can be admitted to practice law in Australia.
The Legal Practice Experience can last up to 80 days and is overseen by a lawyer with at least three years of legal practice experience. The Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice can be completed in as little as six months, with some providers offering the majority of the coursework online.
Having a law degree from a country other than Australia does not exclude you from enrolling in a PLT program, but you should check with the relevant Law School or college to determine if your degree is accepted. Trainee lawyers move on to Admission to Legal Practice after completing the PLT.
4. Apply for admission to practice
Within five years of graduation, you can apply for admission to legal practice through the Admissions Authority in your relevant state or territory after completing the appropriate Practical Legal Training. You must meet the legal board’s requirements in order to be considered.
If you have any questions about admissions, contact the Admissions Authority of the location where you want to practice. The following are the admission authorities for Australia’s various states and territories:
- Victoria: Victorian Legal Admissions Board
- Tasmania: Legal Profession Board of Tasmania
- New South Wales: Legal Profession Admission Board
- Queensland: Legal Practitioners Admissions Board
- Australian Capital Territory: Legal Practitioners Admission Board
- Western Australia: Legal Practice Board of Western Australia
- South Australia: South Australian Board of Examiners
- Northern Territory: The Legal Practitioners’ Admission Board
5. Acquire a practising certificate
After you’ve secured a position and completed 18 to 24 months of supervised practice, you can apply for a Practising Certificate from your local Law Society. After becoming a practising lawyer, you can choose whether to stay as a Solicitor or pursue further education to become a Barrister. Many lawyers choose to pursue an LLM at this time in order to specialize their practice of law even more.
Different bodies in different jurisdictions issue practising certifications. Contact the relevant authorities listed below for more information on how to apply for a practising certificate in a certain territory or state of Australia:
- Law Society of South Australia (solicitors and/or barristers)
- Law Society Northern Territory (solicitors and/or barristers)
- Law Society of Tasmania (solicitors and/or barristers)
- New South Wales Bar Association (barristers)
- Law Society of New South Wales (solicitors)
- Legal Practice Board of Western Australia (solicitors and/or barristers)
- Victorian Legal Services Board (solicitors and/or barrister)
- Australian Capital Territory Bar Association (barristers)
- Australian Capital Territory Law Society (solicitors)
- Bar Association of Queensland (barristers)
- Queensland Law Society (solicitors)
6. Become a Barrister
Australia, like the United Kingdom, has a system of Solicitors and Barristers. Barristers are professionals in a variety of legal areas, including conflict resolution, mediation, and client representation in court.
There is a national Bar Association as well as a legal bar in each state or territory. To get admission to the Bar Readers’ Course, you must first pass the Bar exam and then pass the Bar Readers’ Course properly.
How much can I earn as a lawyer in Australia?
Whether you want to become a lawyer in Sydney or a central coast lawyer, the average yearly lawyer income is AUD 127,321, depending on the sector and level of seniority. Male lawyers make an average of AUD 148,487 per year. Female lawyers, on the other hand, earn an average of AUD 112,731.
Lawyers who work for law firms and other businesses typically earn more than lawyers who practice on their own. Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about how to become a lawyer in Australia, you’re ready to earn your legal degree and gain invaluable experience.