Law graduates can now undertake the second part of their legal training at Curtin, with the University’s new Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice being approved by the Legal Practice Board in WA as a Practical Legal Training course provider.
The specialised 32-week qualification is the first practical legal program to be delivered by a Western Australian university, and provides law graduates with the skills and training required to apply for admission to the legal profession in Western Australia as a lawyer.
Foundation Dean of Curtin Law School Professor Paul Fairall says there is a high demand for courses such as this.
“The overwhelming majority of students seeking admission undertake a professional training course,” says Fairall.
“Of the four Western Australian providers, Curtin offers the only university-based program. It will provide students with a smooth transition to practice and a high-level, quality pathway to professional practice.”
Delivered in the heart of Perth’s CBD and legal precinct, with evening classes, students on the course will learn litigation practice, commercial and corporate practice, property law practice and lawyers’ skills.
They will receive weekly face-to-face contact with experienced legal practitioners and may also undertake integrated workplace training alongside their studies, such as a 10-week placement at the John Curtin Law Clinic, where they can work directly with real clients and provide advice on commercial matters.
“The in-house placements with the John Curtin Law Clinic will be especially valuable to students,” explains Professor Fairall.
“Under close supervision, students bridge the gap between theory and practice by assisting small businesses with commercial law issues. At the same time, students learn to appreciate the importance of pro bono work, which is a significant responsibility for members of the legal profession.”
Although in its infancy, the course has already attracted a small cohort of Curtin law graduates but is also open to law graduates from other universities.
Market conditions for law graduates have improved considerably over the past few years. Australian Government data predicts “very strong future growth” for jobs in the legal profession to 2023, with around 5,000 new job openings for barristers expected to become available over the next five years.
The Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice will commence in February 2019.