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Lawyer

Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

Also known as Legal Practitioner.

Lawyers provide advice, write documents and conduct negotiations on legal matters, and may represent clients in court and tribunal proceedings.

They are described as solicitors or barristers, depending on the work they do.

The distinction between solicitors and barristers varies from state to state. In NSW, Victoria and Queensland, lawyers practise as either a solicitor or a barrister. In the ACT, the NT, SA, Tasmania and WA, the work of barristers and solicitors is usually combined, with many lawyers describing themselves as a 'barrister and solicitor'.

PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • good oral and written communication skills
  • able to understand, analyse and use facts quickly and logically
  • able to work under pressure and deal with a variety of people
  • integrity and good character
Very Good Outlook
Very Good Outlook for this career!


Interest Area

Helping/Community Service Influencing/Personal Contact Literary

SPECIALISATIONS

Solicitor - may specialise in areas such as property, probate, workers' compensation, family law, personal injuries litigation, commercial law or criminal law.

Barrister - provides legal advice and drafts documents in complex matters. They conduct negotiations and appear in courts and tribunal hearings on behalf of clients. Generally, the barrister is briefed by a solicitor, who instructs the barrister on behalf of a company or private person when a case requires specialist expertise or advocacy skills. A barrister may also undertake research and consult with clients and witnesses.

Barristers wear wigs and gowns in some courts, while solicitors do not. It is common to practise as a solicitor for a few years before becoming a barrister.

Magistrate - hears criminal matters to determine whether defendants will be committed for trial, and judges criminal offences without a jury.

Judge - presides over civil and criminal proceedings in courts of law, making sure that trials are run fairly, according to the rules of law and evidence.

EDUCATION & TRAINING


Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

To become a lawyer you usually have to complete a degree in law at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12 with English. Students are often advised to undertake a combined course that leads to two degrees. The prerequisite subjects required for entry into these combined courses also depend on the non-law component of the combined course. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in law.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact Open Universities Australia or the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

You can also become a lawyer by completing the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board's Diploma in Law, followed by a period of practical legal training. Entry to this course is flexible and can be attained through a variety of ways. Contact the Admission Board for further details. Barristers in NSW have to undertake Bar examinations and a specialist course in addition to completing a degree in law and practical legal training.


Additional Information

    To work as a lawyer in Australia you must obtain a Local Practising Certificate. To be granted a certificate, further study and an approved practical training course after the completion of a law degree is required. On completion of the required academic and practical legal training you may apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer. To be eligible for admission you must satisfy the requirements of the Legal Practitioners Admission Board (ACT) or the Legal Profession Admission Board (NSW). To work as a barrister you must have a Barrister's Practising Certificate, which requires further study and examination by the NSW Bar Association or the ACT Legal Practitioners Admission Board.

    To be admitted and to be allowed to continue practicing law, legal professionals must be of good character. There are strict professional rules regarding the conduct of legal professionals.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Solicitors may work in private legal practices, either on their own or in a partnership. They may also work in state, territory or federal government departments, in community law centres or with business corporations.

Barristers are self-employed but normally practise in chambers with other barristers. Barristers may be promoted to Senior Counsel and eventually be appointed as a judge. Barristers and solicitors may also become magistrates.

Some lawyers do not remain within the profession, and move into administrative positions in commerce and industry or in the public service.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Lawyer ACT Law Society NSW Legal Profession Admission Board NSW Bar Association


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