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! 🙂