Inspiration and the study of law

I love hearing from people who visit my site.

Recently I added a Contact me page so that it would provide a simple and quick way for visitors to get in touch with me. I don’t bite so if you have some time I’d love to hear from you!

A week ago I received an email from a young man named Ahmad, who said:

I have come across your website today and you have truly inspired me. I am a recent graduate from TAFE in a Diploma of IT Systems Administration and it has only been one year on after my HSC. I am now currently looking for an entry-level role in IT to save a bit of money for the Diploma in Law and I was planning to follow your path before I even came across your site. However your site has truly inspired me and I confirmed to myself I can do it. Especially because I do have an interest in law. If you could share with me any experiences or recommendations about my pathway to law it would be much appreciated.

To my knowledge I’ve never been an inspiration to anyone before and so it was a real pleasure to receive the above message and I’m glad that my story has resonated with someone enough to push them to following their dreams in to law.

For those who don’t know, the Diploma in Law course offers a flexible method of entry into the legal profession and also to further study such as the Master of Laws.

The Diploma in Law course pre-dates law degrees offered by Australian universities, with the present-day predecessor first established in 1848.

If, like me, you misspent your high school years chasing girls and generally being a juvenile delinquent but still have a desire to practice law, the Diploma in Law course may be for you.

I say may be because studying law is not for everyone. It requires an incredible amount of reading, dedication and diligence. Most people undertaking the course already work full time and/or have families. Study will eat into whatever precious free time you have and reduce it even further. To do this year in, year out for at least 4 years requires great perseverance.

There are also financial considerations.

Each subject (as of writing) costs $675.00. So at a minimum you are looking at $13,500.00 excluding textbooks. Most recommended textbooks for each subject I purchased (~$300.00 per subject), however most are available to borrow from the law library, and the University of Sydney has a very good second hand textbook noticeboard where you can pick up current textbooks at greatly reduced prices.

Even once you complete the Diploma in Law you’ll still need to complete a Practical Legal Training course, such as that offered by the College of Law (~$8000.00). It is at the PLT course where you learn how to introduce yourself to the court, advocate on behalf of your client, interview potential clients, manage trust accounts etc… – i.e. all the interesting stuff that you don’t learn in textbooks!

As part of PLT you’ll also need to satisfy the work experience component, which currently means 75 days under supervision. Only then, with your Diploma in one hand, completion of PLT and work experience in the other, can you then apply to be admitted to practice law. I say apply because you still have to be deemed to be a fit and proper person in order to be admitted as a lawyer, and this is at the discretion of the admitting authority – the Legal Profession Admission Board.

So even after $20,000.00+, 4+ years of study and sacrifice and 75 days of work experience, entry to the profession is not guaranteed. That is why I would say if you are considering studying law be acutely aware of the sacrifices that you will have to make – both personal and financial – and the time and effort you’ll need to dedicate to not only pass subjects but to do well.

Even if you don’t plan to go on to practice as a lawyer, studying law provides you with invaluable analytical, research, evaluation, reasoning, lateral thinking and written and oral communication skills that can be used in countless other facets of life.

Ultimately the advice I gave to Ahmed came down to this:

Studying law is a long, hard road but one that is extremely rewarding and you will make friends that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Good luck!

Only 4 sleeps until Santa! 🙂

6 Comments on “Inspiration and the study of law

  1. Thank you Nicholas! 🙂 I appreciate your response and loved this article 😀

    • You’re very welcome Ahmad. Thanks for contacting me and good luck with your studies!

  2. Pingback: Great news! | Nicholas Leach

  3. Hi Nicholas,

    Would you mind sharing your studying skills or techniques, for example, how to write a good assignment, what particular points or focuses needed to be addressed during assignment writing or during examination.

    I am prepared to put most of my time in the study, so how much, roughly, time is required to read and what sort of materials (journals or court cases) to read,

    Lastly English is not my mother language, do you think I am hardly success in finishing the Diploma.

    Appreciate very much for your advice.

    Kind regards

    • Hi Alex,
      As a rough guide, for each law subject you should be studying for 10 hours each week, or a little more than an hour each day.
      If you are new to studying law I would suggest only enrolling in one subject in your first semester, so that you may find your bearings and also get into a routine, particularly if you have a family and/or are working at the same time.
      The most important thing study-wise for me was just to ensure that I found a quiet space free from distraction so I could absorb the information I was reading. Consistency is also important – ensuring that you study for at least 1 hour each and every day – if you don’t you can very quickly fall behind.
      In terms of writing a good assignment, you’ll find no shortage of resources online about techniques. For law one of the first things you’ll learn is ‘ILAC’ – Issue, Law, Application, Conclusion. Broken down that means: 1. What is the issue I am being asked to address? 2. What is the relevant law – be it statute, common law or otherwise? 3. How does the law apply to the issue I have been given? 4. What is the conclusion of that application?
      For examinations your best preparation is simply past exam papers. Get a hold of them, set up a timer and run through as many ‘mock exams’ as possible. Get other students to review your answers and vice versa. If your exam is 3 hours long and you have 6 questions, allocate just under 30 minutes to each question. Once the time expires, even if you have not finished answering the question completely, move on to the next question. After finishing the last question you should have approximately 10 minutes free to go over your answers before the exam finishes.
      In relation to English not being your first language, I don’t see that preventing you from succeeding in the Diploma. If you are concerned about it at all, undertake some separate English tuition or courses prior to commencing the Diploma.
      Good luck for the future Alex, and I’m happy to answer any other questions! 🙂

      • Hi Nicholas,

        Glad to see your response. Your ILAC really opens up my mind. I’ll apply for Dip Law.
        Thank you very much.

        Kind regards

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