Law in practice

Real client experience is central to the Newcastle model of clinical legal education.

Whether you undertake an LLB (Hons) Combined program or a Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, the LLB (Practice) program is undertaken during the final two years of your law degree. Students in the program deal with real clients and their legal problems at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre (UNLC) and in externships.

Graduates of the program are eligible to be admitted to practice law without having to undertake any additional study or practical legal training or workplace experience, and commence working as a lawyer around six months earlier than graduates from most other Australian universities.

Program aims

The aims and objectives of the program are to:

  • Learn substantive areas of law and the practice of law in an integrated and incremental model. Develop high-level skills in interviewing, legal analysis and synthesis, research, drafting, dispute resolution, decision making, negotiation and advocacy, while at the same time displaying high standards of professionalism.
  • Provide real, problem-based learning experiences to enhance the capacity to solve clients' legal problems.
  • Undertake public interest advocacy, justice project and human rights cases seeing first-hand where there has been a miscarriage or other serious failure in the administration of justice, or a serious wrong which is unlikely to be properly redressed by the legal system without public interest advocacy.
  • Provide an intensive clinical placement at the UNLC to undertake in-depth client casework.
  • Develop a deep awareness of the barriers clients face in accessing justice and be exposed to the legal and social issues which provide a context for the practice of law.

Program components

A key component of the program is 285 hours of legal professional workplace experience, with a minimum of 105 hours of placement undertaken at the UNLC.

Students have the opportunity to work on major public interest cases where there may have been miscarriages of justice or human rights violations, including assisting persons seeking asylum.

As part of the placement program at the UNLC, students intensively participate in legal advice clinics, as well as prepare and deliver seminars and workshops to community groups, including newly arrived international students in its 'Street Law' project.

Students participate in externships and external placement at law firms, locally or interstate and overseas. Placements are also arranged in government departments and agencies, and with barristers, the Aboriginal Legal Service, Legal Aid and the Hunter Community Legal Centre.

A passion for social justice, respect for the rule of law and a dedication to the interests of clients is fostered. Students are challenged to critically analyse the connections between law in theory and law in practice and reflect upon and critique the practice of lawyering.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.