A law degree at the University of Newcastle supports practical learning with the on-campus legal centre, industry work placements and national law competitions.

Bachelor of Communication / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Practical Experience

The Newcastle Law School's strong focus on experiential legal education integrates the academic study of law with hands-on, clinical practice and professional training.

In addition to the clinical experience you will gain in the classroom, you will have several other opportunities to work with real clients and cases. You can take advantage of one or more of the following initiatives run through the Newcastle Law School.

  • Work with clients in the University of Newcastle Legal Centre.
  • Undertake work placement opportunities in the many law firms and organisations in the Hunter Region and beyond. This is a great way for you to grow your professional network.
  • Apply for one of our international immersion tours or placement opportunities and experience countries such as Thailand and Japan. On these trips you will gain an understanding of the legal issues in these countries, as well as an introduction to cultures and customs.
  • Work at the Legal Centre’s renowned annual summer clinic held at Newcastle Beach called Law on the Beach. You will work on real cases and provide legal advice to community members at the drop-in clinic as part of a team of students, supervised by a lawyer.

Each of these opportunities will provide a unique experience that will broaden your abilities and confidence as you prepare for a professional role when you graduate. Completing these experiences will make you stand out from others in the employment market and position you as a well-rounded graduate.

YEAR BY YEAR PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

The clinical experience and practical skills you will gain when studying the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) is outlined below.

When studying first-year law, you will observe real clients at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre. This unique opportunity allows you to learn through observing and reflecting on your experience and assists in constructing a broader vision of the law and what it means to be a lawyer.

In first year, you will also practice your advocacy skills in a Torts moot, which is often judged by local barristers or solicitors and held at the Legal Centre.

In second year, you will continue to analyse and work on real cases through the Legal Centre. You will have the opportunity to work on criminal law matters currently before the court, while completing the Criminal Law and Procedure course (LAWS2004). You will learn how to prepare a listed case for a defended hearing before the local and/or district court and have the opportunity to attend court to observe hearing of the matters in which you are actively involved.

In third year, you will have the opportunity to try out for a place in one of the Law School's competitive mooting teams, and in some instances, enrol in the elective course Competitive Mooting (LAWS5028). The Kirby Contract Arbitration Moot, for example, affords you the opportunity to work through a complex contractual dispute and hone your legal reasoning, problem solving and advocacy skills at the same time.

When you transition to fourth year, you have the opportunity to participate in Law on the Beach through the Legal Centre. Through this Practice Program, students provide a legal advice service for members of the community in a casual setting. Law on the Beach provides you the opportunity to interview clients, brief lawyers, sit in on legal advice and do follow-up casework.

In your final year of law you have the option to enrol in either a Criminal Law Practice Module or Family Law Practice Module (LAWS4055A) in which you will learn trial preparation, trial technique and advocacy in the criminal or family law jurisdiction. You will conduct advocacy exercises in the Local Court of New South Wales including a bail application, a plea and participation in a Hearing before a Magistrate, Judge or experienced member of the legal profession.

In addition to Law on the Beach, the Legal Centre holds advice clinics for the community while semesters are in session. All Practice Program students participate in these clinics. Through the Legal Centre you may also have the opportunity to contribute to public interest casework or research for seminars about the law for community organisations.

Upon graduation you will have completed a total of 270 hours in the University of Newcastle Legal Centre and in external placements. You will have also earned your Diploma in Legal Practice while completing your Law degree at Newcastle.

Testimonials

As my tertiary education comes to an end, it is a perfect time to reflect on my Practical Legal Training (PLT) in its entirety. My three placements ( UNLC, Legal Aid at Gosford in Family Law, and Legal Aid Newcastle) have provided me with a diverse range of legal experiences. Reflecting on who I was as an aspiring lawyer at the beginning of the Professional Program, and comparing it with how I feel as I complete the Diploma of Legal Practice represents a transformation, in both my abilities and my confidence.

My entire PLT experience was extremely complementary to my studies in the Bachelor of Laws, with the knowledge I learnt in law school being put to use in practical contexts, but also the practical experience enhancing my substantive understanding of the law. The Practice Program has prepared me for the professional world and has equipped me with such well-rounded legal experience, placing me in good stead for the challenge that I will face in my career. I would urge all students intending to go into legal practice to choose option B; it has been such an unique and rewarding element of my tertiary education and I am truly grateful for the opportunities that the Professional Program has afforded me.

Shelby Brinkley

What you will study Career opportunities