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A Law Student's Journey to Becoming Admitted

The Admission Process

Admission of lawyers in New South Wales is governed by the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015 (NSW) and Part 2.2 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW). For admission you need to:
1. Meet the academic requirements
2. Meeting the Practical Legal Training (PLT) Requirements
3. Meet the character test
4. Submit your application and pay the admission fees; and
5. Attend the admission ceremony

Academic requirements

List of Law Schools in NSW

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.

You need to have sufficient academic training in the following areas of knowledge: 

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Torts
  • Contracts
  • Property
  • Equity
  • Company Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Federal and State Constitutional Law 
  • Civil Procedure 
  • Evidence 
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility 

Usually this is met by the completion of a law degree (LLB or JD - three years full-time) or the Legal Profession Admission Board (LPAB) Diploma in Law (Four Years Part-Time)

Practical Legal Training (PLT)

Practical Legal Training (PLT) is a structured training program that will develop your practical skills and proficiency in the day-to-day practice of law. It is usually undertaken at the completion of your law degree and is an essential requirement for admission as a lawyer in Australia. Successful completion of a PLT program leads to the award of a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP), which makes you eligible to apply for admission as a legal practitioner in your jurisdiction.

In New South Wales the PLT requirements include both structured and supervised training and workplace experience. The training includes: 

  • Lawyer's Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Work Management and Business Skills 
  • Trust and Office Accounting
  • Civil Litigation Practice
  • Commercial and Corporate Practice
  • Property Law Practice 
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Two of the following electives: 
  1. Administrative Law 
  2. Banking and Finance 
  3. Criminal Law Practice 
  4. Consumer Law Practice
  5. Employment and Industrial Relations Practice 
  6. Family Law Practice 
  7. Planning and Environmental Law Practice
  8. Wills and Estates practice

Visit our PLT page for more information

Character Test

You need to demonstrate that you are a fit and proper person to be admitted to the Australia legal profession with: 

  • a National Police History Check;
  • two independent character references;
  • law student conduct reports;
  • answers to questions on suitability and;
  • disclosures of an relevant matters affecting suitability (the honesty and candour of such disclosures are also assessed) 

The LPAB also conducts its own inquiries on candidates for admission

Applications for 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.

Benefits include:

  • Faster processing times for most applicants
  • No deadlines for most applicants
  • Fewer documents to lodge
  • More frequent admission ceremonies

Note: As of 1 August 2016, the fee for admission was $920.25.

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.