What does a lawyer do?

Lawyers are experts in legal matters, providing their clients with the best solutions specific to their legal requirements. A lawyer’s duties are highly dependent on their field of expertise, the situation of their clients and their standing within the industry. Solicitors, who generally work in law firms, are experts in civil matters, dealing with contracts, disputes and other non-criminal areas of law. Barristers generally work in criminal law from chambers, responsible for arguing in court on behalf of their clients. Some daily duties that are commonplace are: compiling cases relevant to the matter at hand, advising clients on legal matters, preparing court documents, evaluating legal documents, facilitating negotiations and preparing a case on behalf of a client.

Tasks:

  • Compiling and preparing court documents
  • Representing clients in a court of law
  • Reviewing contracts
  • Conducting negotiations
  • Liaising with other legal professionals

What skills do I need to be a lawyer?

Lawyers possess a very thorough understanding of Australian law and legislation. They must be prepared to be thorough and meticulous in their research, organised in their professional life and of impeccable moral character in order to practice as a lawyer. Lawyers are bound by an ethical code that protects them and those they represent.  Lawyers must possess superb communication skills, both in the oral and written form. They must be logical, rational and analytical in their approach to law. Finding an area of law that interests you will help you excel in the profession, as a great deal of understanding of your area of law will be required of you. 

Skills/attributes
  • Thorough understanding of Australian law
  • Good communication skills
  • Superb research skills
  • Logical and analytical
  • Meticulous approach to work

Specialisations

There are a number of areas of law that you may choose to specialise in, in addition to working your way up the ranks of seniority that exist in the legal profession. 

Barrister

A barrister provides legal counsel to their clients and advises on legal matters. Barristers, along with a team of solicitors, prepare documents and arguments for a court of law in defence of the position of their clients. Barristers will also engage in legal negotiations with the prosecution on behalf of their clients.

Judge

A judge is the presiding official over court and tribunal matters. Judges preside over both criminal and civil hearings. They ensure that court proceedings are conducted in a manner that is equal to both parties. Judges make decisions on the hearings based on the evidence presented in accordance with Australian law.

Law Clerk

Law clerks are responsible for performing a number of administrative and minor duties, carried out under the supervision of barristers and solicitors. Law clerks are responsible for providing assistance to their employers across a wide array of matters. Law clerks will aid more senior lawyers in case management.

Study pathways for lawyers

There are a number of study pathways available to prospective lawyers. In accordance with your intended specialisation, you can tailor your study options to suit your needs. 

Getting Started

Become acquainted with the principles and applications of the law in Australia.

Skill Building

Work towards your career goals with targeted study in law

Professional Development

Gain practical training in legal skills to further your future career in law

Industry Recognition

In order to become a lawyer you must complete a university degree in law. In addition, you must obtain a Local Practicing Certificate in your state and be admitted to the legal profession by the Supreme Court in order to work as a lawyer in Australia.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your law career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Over the next five years there is anticipated to be very strong growth in employment for solicitors, whilst future barristers can expect moderate growth over the same period.