Regardless of motivation, these are all valid dreams, and the common denominator is that for the dream to be fully realized, one has to put in work for years and years before one can qualify as a practiced professional. For aspiring lawyers, one needs to keep learning and working, striving for a mastery that would enable one to be among the best in the career, regardless of the field.
At a rough estimate, it takes about six years of education and practice to become a fully realized lawyer in Australia. The journey may seem long but the rewards are well worth the grind. Apart from the fact that it pays relatively well, being a lawyer opens you up to various opportunities and experiences you cannot get anywhere else in the course of your time in the workforce. Also note that as important as your decision is to practice law, your choice of field (criminal law, corporate law, labour law, etc) is doubly important. You wouldn’t want to be in a field that you wouldn’t feel fulfilled in.
As a lawyer, you have to be intelligent. Besides the fact that your aptitude tests and exams on the way would challenge you, you have to deal with actual law practice which would challenge you the most. Excluding intelligence, there are a lot of other skills you need to master if you want to become an amazing practiced lawyer. A few include:
- Analytical skills
Lawyers need to be able to analyze every situation and use results from the analysis to gain advantages for themselves in cases. These skills come in handy when developing defense strategies.
- Research and Investigative skills
Lawyers must be able to dive into research on case studies and the intricacies of the law without getting lost. They must also be able to investigate hunches during trials and similar proceedings.
- Communication skills
When presenting a case to a jury, a judge and the court, the lawyer who presents his case in a clear-cut, articulate fashion becomes the immediate favourite. There are so many places in which eloquence and conciseness gets you free points, and the legal profession is one of those places.
- A wealth of Legal Knowledge
It is imperative all lawyers have a deep well of legal knowledge to draw from. This helps with the need to make a citation on the spot, the ability to give clients legal advice, and sound like one knows what they are doing.
- Interpersonal skills
Lawyers need to be able to relate with clients so they can trust them. If there is skepticism between lawyer and client, that dynamic poisons the lawyers capability to function well.
To become a lawyer in Australia, one has to go through three main steps:
The first step is to get into an LLB (Bachelor of Law) degree awarding course and graduate with one. This degree takes four years to complete, and is for people who do not have any prior undergraduate degree. For people who already have a degree, a graduate entry provision is made. They are allowed to garner a JD (Juris Doctor) and it would only take three years for them to graduate.
To get into an LLB course, one would need to have either completed a degree or a Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). An equivalent of the VCE, such as an international or interstate Year 12 qualification, can suffice.
Every school in Australia requires potential lawyers to complete the Priestly 11 courses, which includes law of contracts, property law, company law, Torts, administrative law, Equity, civil dispute resolution, Ethics, law of evidence, and federal and state constitution. Most schools would also require that their law students take some electives to bolster their knowledge in other subjects.
After the degree is complete, graduates are required to go for the PLT or GDLP (Graduate diploma in legal practice) program. In Australia, this program is designed for potential lawyers to have some experience and nurture some of the skill sets they would need to survive in the legal profession.
Each individual is supervised by a lawyer with at least three years of work experience and it takes no more than 80 days. You could work with the best criminal lawyers Brisbane has so early in your career. There is a board in every territory and state that oversees this; they help the students by offering approved course providers who work to help students secure jobs in relation to the various experiences and skills they gained under the PLT.
After the PLT, the next step is to apply for admission into the profession. This is done through the board authority in the state or territory you want to practice in and it must be done within five years of graduation. Only those who are deemed eligible by the boards would be granted freedom to practice.
After this, people apply for a practicing certificate. Within 1-2 years after practicing under supervision, one can choose to apply for this through the local law society. It is from here on that people take steps to further their education to a practice as barrister and pick up a master’s in law (LLM) to specialize.
The road to becoming a lawyer is a long one, and it is reserved for only those who are the best or willing to work hard for it. As one of the most delicate, most prestigious careers out there, it is necessary that access is regulated but encouraged. We recommend that you stay focused and not relent until the race is won. Good luck!
Howden Saggers legal practice is located in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It consists of a group of the most highly motivated and skilled criminal lawyers Gold coast has to offer. If you find yourself in a bind and you need representation for cases ranging from prosecuting domestic abuse, to navigating veteran legal cases, we are the guys for you. We also help law clerks to fulfill their experience quota. Ensure you reach out to us, so we can make sure you get the justice you deserve.