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3. Keep your options open. Although growth has been more
measured lately, demand continues to outstrip supply and cut-offs
remain high. It’s easy to miss out, so be prepared to put in
applications for courses interstate or in regional centres, or to
pursue law later on through postgraduate study.
4. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to get a job as a lawyer — the
field is getting crowded. But remember that many law courses are
now offered as part of a double degree (such as law combined
with arts, business or languages), so you can enhance your
competitiveness in the labour market with a well-chosen
combination. It’s also worth exploring your options in regional,
rural and remote Australia, with the Law Council of Australia
reporting shortages in these areas.
5. Don’t forget that to practise as a lawyer you have to undertake
practical training upon completing your degree, either through a
‘traineeship’ at a law firm or through an approved course, which
usually takes about six months.
For details about entry difficulty at different institutions, see the
‘How tough is it to get in?’ tables in Section 4.
State and territory law associations have plenty to offer aspiring
lawyers. In addition to signing up for associate membership while
studying, students can take advantage of opportunities such as
graduate employment programs, summer clerkships and mooting
Law graduates can access various mentoring schemes, such as
the NSW Young Lawyers Mentoring Program, which provide
newly admitted lawyers with the guidance and support they need
when starting out in their careers. Mentoring programs are also
built into some degrees, giving students insight into the
profession and providing valuable networking opportunities.
FOR FURTHER HELP...
To compare the pros and cons of law with other fields of
study, see the table on page 68 and institution profiles in
For more on jobs and careers in this field, see The Good
Careers Guide website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au.
For ratings of postgraduate law courses, see The Good
Universities Guide website at
Laura — Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Why did you choose to study law?
I have always been very analytical and
enjoyed reasoning and problem-
solving. I’m fascinated by the complex
and dynamic nature of the legal
system and its ability to regulate and
control society. I also had a really
eccentric Legal Studies teacher in
Year 12 who motivated me to take on
the challenge of studying law.
What was the best thing about your course?
A law degree is very open-ended and unlocks many doors.
The skills you develop — how to write, problem-solve and
negotiate, as well as oral and written communication,
research, logic and reasoning — are advantageous in a
variety of careers. The opportunities presented to law
graduates today are very broad and the education you
receive through completing a law degree is invaluable.
What was the worst thing about your course?
I found the university environment very much geared towards
finding a graduate position in a corporate law firm. Although
there was extensive information about careers within the
corporate law sphere (which, personally, I was interested in), I
was surprised how little information was available about non-
This lack of alternative pathway for those not necessarily
interested in working at a corporate law firm is a problem,
especially given the broad range of careers and opportunities
available to law graduates these days. It is also an extremely
competitive degree and the course itself is highly demanding.
Have you found work in your field?
I have been working at a mid-tier commercial law firm for the
past two years. The medium size of the firm suits my
personality and the work I do mostly involves commercial
business, which is an area of interest to me.
What advice would you give to students considering
Go for it! A law degree is very highly regarded and rewarding.
It enables you to become an effective problem-solver and
develop an awareness of the system that governs society. I
would encourage students to spend time observing in court
and talk to people who work in the legal field or are currently
studying law to gain insight into whether it is the right pathway
Have you completed further study?
Not at this stage; however, I would consider doing an MBA at
some point to further enhance my skills in relation to
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