How to become a lawyer
Becoming an Australian legal practitioner or solicitor is about more than understanding the justice system — it’s about building a safe, fair, and just society for us all. Learn how to become a lawyer and make a positive impact on the world.
Do you have the knack for seeing both sides of the argument? Is there no way you’ll click, ‘I agree’ without reading every term and condition, as the finest of print doesn’t escape you?
If you’re driven to make a positive change in the world, have equal measures of grit and efficiency, and want to fight for individual (or an entire organisation’s) rights - becoming a lawyer could be the right move for you.
What does it take to become a lawyer?
Lawyers are supreme communicators. And they often specialise in distinct areas of law, such as corporate and commercial law, intellectual property, or criminal law - just to name a few.
If you’re passionate about the pursuit of justice and want to harness the power of persuasion to make the world better for all - then read on to discover what it takes. (In short, it usually takes at least four years of full-time study to become a lawyer.)
- Complete a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) if you haven’t completed (or partially completed) an undergraduate degree. Already got a degree? You can undertake a Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry).
- Consider a double degree and specialise. Passionate about protecting data rights? Or the planet? You could double law with arts to make an impact to a cause you’re passionate about. Or double law with criminal justice and criminology to solve the complexities of crime in society.
- Get real industry experience. With a Swinburne law degree, you’ll complete three, 20-day industry experience placements. That's 60 days of real-world experience before you graduate.
- Complete Practical Legal Training. You can choose to complete a Dual Award (Bachelor of Laws/Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice) through the widely recognised Leo Cussen Centre for Law while completing your Swinburne degree.
Career proof points from industry
As a lawyer you can expect:
What skills do you need to become a lawyer?
Being a lawyer isn’t just about being a charismatic barrister delivering a closing statement to turn a jury’s verdict. You’ll need a solid base of transferable skills, such as: 3
Infographic shows visuals for skills:
- active listening (ear)
- written and verbal communication skills (hands on keyboard and mouth)
- reading comprehension (stack of books)
- critical thinking (brain)
- complex problem solving (cubic puzzle).
All skills are linked and interconnected.
You may decide to become a barrister (and that’s awesome)
But, whether your career takes you to the courtroom or not, your ability to research, analyse and evaluate information, plus how you make decisions, solve problems and resolve conflict are indispensable skills you’ll need throughout your career.
Why study law at Swinburne?
4 steps to becoming a lawyer
1. Complete an approved law degree (LLB or JD)
If you haven’t studied before, you’ll need to complete a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree to become a lawyer. If you’ve already completed a degree, you can complete the Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) course and graduate in three years.
To gain entry into a Bachelor of Laws, you’ll need:
- a Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or its equivalent, such as an interstate or international Year 12 qualification (2023 Guaranteed Entry ATAR: 85)
- completion (or partial completion) of a degree.
|Bachelor of Laws||BA-LAW|
4 years full-time
VTAC from Year 12:
Direct entry for non-year 12:
Work Integrated Learning opportunities:
As a Swinburne law student you can choose to take part in a dual award program with Leo Cussen Centre for Law. This makes it possible to study your LLB at Swinburne while also completing Practical Legal Training (the Swinburne program) at Leo Cussen. Please note that this dual award is not available to those on international student visas.
2. Consider a laws double degree
You may wish to just stick to a law degree, but if you have a particular passion or area of interest you want to explore, a law double degree not only expands your knowledge and skill set, but also your career opportunities.
Plus, if a law degree takes four years of full-time study to complete, why not do a double degree and be done in five?
You can choose to double law with business, arts or science. Or arm yourself with the tech-skills and legal knowledge to tackle legal and business challenges with a double degree in law and business analytics and analysis.
3. Supervised Workplace Training or Practical Legal Training
When you graduate from most law degrees, you’ll need to complete 12 months of work experience under a practicing lawyer and study a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
With a Swinburne law degree, you can also choose to complete a Dual Award (Bachelor of Laws/Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice) through the widely recognised Leo Cussen Centre for Law while completing your Swinburne degree. So, when you graduate you’ll be ready to work a year ahead of many of your peers.
4. Apply for admission with the Victorian Legal Admissions Boards for a Compliance Certificate
Once you have completed the required academic and practical legal training, you may apply to the Supreme Court for admission as an Australian legal practitioner. To be eligible, you must satisfy the requirements of the legal board in your state or territory.
It’s a fair bit of work, but to enter one of the most respected professions with the power to shape our futures, it’ll be worth it.
Kick-start your law career at Swinburne
No objections? Browse our law courses to find the one for you.