A Law Student's Journey to Becoming Admitted
Pathway to Practice
The first prerequisite to a career in law is the intelligence, diligence and commitment to undertake and successfully complete an accredited tertiary academic course in law. Accredited degrees are offered by many Australian universities. Alternatively the Legal Profession Admission Board offers a Diploma in Law which, though not a degree, is accredited for the purpose of providing the academic qualification necessary for admission as a lawyer.
An accredited degree or diploma must, amongst other subjects, cover 11 key areas of knowledge: Criminal Law and Procedure; Torts; Contracts; Property; Equity; Administrative Law; Federal and State Constitutional Law; Civil Procedure; Evidence and Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
Practical Legal Training (PLT)
After completion of your academic studies, before you can be eligible for admission to the Australian legal profession as an Australian lawyer, it is also necessary to complete Practical Legal Training (PLT). Some universities integrate PLT requirements into an academic course. If you are unsure whether this is the case speak to your university law school. If your university course does not offer integrated PLT, then you must enrol with an accredited PLT provider, such as the College of Law, the University of Newcastle or the University of Technology Sydney. In contrast to the broad theoretical knowledge gained at university, PLT provides instruction in a wide range of tasks and procedures faced in everyday practice. There are usually two components to PLT studies, coursework and work experience. Visit our PLT page for more information on course requirements.
Upon completion of the relevant academic requirements and the PLT course, you are eligible to apply for admission as a solicitor. Requirements for admission are detailed in Chapter 2, Part 2.2 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW).
Generally speaking, an application for admission as a lawyer requires you to:
- Complete the appropriate application form
- Provide original evidence of your academic qualification in law (and, in some cases, to have your qualification assessed by the Board prior to making your application for admission)
- Provide original evidence of your completion of practical legal training (and, if you have been previously admitted in a foreign jurisdiction, to have your practical legal training assessed by the Board prior to making your application for admission
- Provide your original Australian National Police Certificate (and, in some cases, original police reports from overseas jurisdictions)
- Read the 'Disclosure Guidelines for Applicants for Admission to the Legal Profession'
- Make a statement disclosing any matter which may affect the Board’s assessment of whether you are a fit and proper person to be admitted to the Australian legal profession, and attach relevant documentation
- Provide two character references which were made by statutory declaration
- Sign the statutory declaration on the admission application form in the presence of an authorised witness
- Pay the prescribed application fee
- Attend a compulsory admission ceremony in the Supreme Court, where you will take an oath of office, or make an affirmation of office.
Admission Now Online for NSW Lawyers
Students can apply for admission as a lawyer online after September 2016. The online portal will generate a personal checklist for each applicant, so they know exactly what evidence they need to provide to support their applications. It will also email regular updates on the progress of their applications to keep them informed every step of the way.You will need to sign up to use the online Admission Portal.
- Faster processing times for most applicants
- No deadlines for most applicants
- Fewer documents to lodge
- More frequent admission ceremonies
For More Information:
Applying for a Practising Certificate
Once you are admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and you intend to practice as a solicitor, you need to apply for a practising certificate. The Law Society of NSW issues these certificates.
To apply for an Australian practising certificate in New South Wales follow these procedures:
1. Download the Application form for grant of an Australian Practising Certificate as a Solicitor & Membership of The Law Society of New South Wales;
2. Complete the application form – answer all questions, sign the form and attach any additional documentation (e.g. Certificate of Fitness from another jurisdiction);
3. Send the completed application, together with payment of fees, to The Law Society Registry.
For more information on the types of practising certificates issued by the Council of The Law Society of New South Wales, see Practising Certificate Conditions.
Becoming a Barrister
Barristers are lawyers who provide specialist services and advocacy skills to represent clients before courts and tribunals. They prepare court documents and advise clients about their legal problems and prospects of success in litigation. Barristers work on their own; partnerships or incorporations are not allowed. They are usually briefed by a solicitor before commencing work.
Requirements for admission into the Bar:
- Be admitted as a lawyer
- Obtain a 75 pass mark for the integrated Bar exam (‘Ethics for barristers’, ‘Aspects of evidence’ and ‘Practice and procedure for barristers’), before commencing the Bar Practice Course.
- Complete a Reading Program, which involves a period of ‘reading’ for at least 12 months under the supervision of a barrister with not less than seven years’ standing. The Reading Program includes a full-month long Bar Practice Course, which involves study of advanced advocacy and barrister-related skills.
During the 11 months after completion of the course, certain other requirements are imposed: criminal reading and civil reading, participation in two advocacy workshops, and attendance at six extension sessions.
For full time practice at the Bar, one must commence within ten months of passing the exams.
For More information visit NSW Bar Association website.
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