Solicitors or lawyers are experts on all aspects of the legal system. They perform a variety of tasks such as representing their clients in court, preparing legal documents such as contracts and wills, gathering evidence to be used in court, providing advice on legal issues and negotiating legal matters on behalf of clients. Professionals in this field may specialise in a particular area of the law for example international, tax or divorce or may work as generalists providing services on a variety of areas.

The legal profession is highly regulated and the requirements for practice may differ between states and countries. According to the Law Society of NSW, there are several ways of attaining the necessary educational qualifications;

  • Through a combined degree such as a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law. This is usually a five year degree in which completion of the arts component takes place after three year.
  • Through completion of a Bachelor or Laws - a program available to graduates of a tertiary degree.
  • Through the completion of a course prescribed by the Legal Practitioners Admission Board.

Additionally, graduates are required to complete a Professional Program containing a work experience and course work component - some universities (including Newcastle) offer this course in conjunction with the initial degree program. Before practicing, legal professionals are required to apply to the Legal Profession Admission Board and must also attain an annually renewed practicing certificate issued by the law society. These requirements apply only to Australian citizens wishing to practice in NSW, information on other requirements should be confirmed with the relevant state bodies.

Those with legal qualifications find work with legal firms, government organisations and a variety of other private sector commercial organisations. Employment opportunities also exist outside of the actual practice of law in areas such consultancy and policy development.