Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2017 Contents LAW 133
What you’re in for
Can you see yourself cross-examining witnesses in a courtroom?
Do you like a good debate? What about reading, research and
analysis? Many students see law as offering a secure career in
what can be a high-status profession, but it’s important to keep in
mind that law courses are usually competitive and can involve a
great deal of hard work.
Law is a terrific field because it offers the opportunity for
intellectual absorption, as well as career preparation. Over time,
the LLB (Bachelor of Laws) has transformed from a purely
professional degree to a popular generalist qualification — not
everyone who studies law wants to practise. If you don’t want to
be a lawyer, there is no question that law offers a great base for
you to build on for a wide range of jobs, with employers ranging
from accounting firms and government departments to banks and
For more information about law and the legal profession, refer to
the Law Council of Australia website at www.lawcouncil.asn.au.
If you are interested in law, you should also consider paralegal
studies (almost always easier to get into), the humanities and
social sciences, and even areas like communications. If it is the
corporate side of things that attracts you, also consider
accounting, business and management, and economics. If you
have a keen sense of social responsibility, social work may be of
Courses and specialisations
Too few students have a clear idea of the kind of work that is
involved in a law degree and how different it can be from popular
(and personal) ideas about what legal education involves. A law
degree requires many hours of studying and reading — not all of
it interesting. While there might be the odd day spent mooting
(that is, running pretend cases) in a mock courtroom, donning a
wig and gown and practising your legal jargon, most of your
studies will be spent with the real tools of the trade: legal tomes
dedicated to a large number of compulsory subjects.
Law usually takes around five years to complete and may be
offered as a double degree, giving students a broad education
that can be applied in a number of fields.
If your interest is mainly in being a lawyer for corporations,
criminals or refugees, you need to know that the majority of the
subjects you take will not be in these areas. Although you will get
the chance to choose some subjects, about half of them will be
the core units that are required for admission to legal practice.
Where to study
Now that you know what’s involved, why wouldn’t you do law?
For one, it’s tough to get in, especially at the well-known law
schools. Another reason is because you are dazzled rather than
inspired by the thought of doing a law degree. It is all too easy to
be seduced by the glitz and glamour of the profession, or to
assume that a great ATAR or OP means you have to go for a
course with tough entry requirements. Be honest with yourself:
have you really looked closely at the course and career options?
Is law a considered choice — one that really feels right for you?
If you are convinced that law is for you, this is our advice:
1. Legal education today is better than it was, but a lot of it
remains detailed and difficult to fully understand. Some schools
might be better than others at bringing it to life with problem-
based methods. In addition, your school’s reputation and your
involvement in societies and extracurricular work will be important
for your career to flourish.
2. Consider all of your course options. You could do law as a
graduate entry course (such as a Juris Doctor) after you have
gained some experience studying or working in a different field. It
is also possible to be admitted to practice in New South Wales by
completing the Legal Profession Admission Board’s exams,
which leads to the award of the board’s Diploma in Law. An
accredited course of study to help students prepare for these
exams is available through the University of Sydney’s Law
Extension Committee (LEC). The diploma covers much the same
curriculum as a degree, but the program offered through the LEC
is more flexible and accessible.
GUG 2017.book Page 133 Friday, June 24, 2016 2:39 PM
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