Experiences in Law
What experiences are open to you as a law student? Get involved with the law outside your formal law subject studies or try something different to your usual studies!
Join the Law Society or Institute in your State – these are professional bodies that represent solicitors.
Law students are usually entitled to be members and can receive benefits such as newsletters, discounts, website access or access to the law library.
The representative law organisations in each State are the:
- Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory
- Law Society of New South Wales
- Law Society of the Northern Territory
- Queensland Law Society
- Law Society of South Australia
- Law Society of Tasmania
- Law Institute of Victoria
- Law Society of Western Australia
Have you thought about the following?
- Applying for a scholarship to study overseas or an international study program.
- Living and studying overseas whilst obtaining credit for your law degree is a fantastic way to enliven your experiences at Law School.
- Receiving email updates (or RSS feeds) from your areas of legal interest.
- Following legal news in the newspaper.
- Wandering around the law library looking at books that catch your interest.
- Reading law-related authors, watching law-related movies!
- Browsing recent judgments of the courts in areas that interest you.
- Participating in public inquiries or submissions to government on legal issues that interest you.
- Subscribing to law journals and read the law-related sections of the major newspapers. The Australian Financial Review has a weekly section entitled "legal affairs".
Look around for those that interest you, for instance:
* This text is an edited extract from Claire Macken, The Law Student's Survival Guide: 9 Steps to Law Study Success, Thomsons, 2009 (2nd edition).
Reading law articles from Australian and international law journals
There are hundreds of law journals to browse. For example, Australian university law journals include:
Other journals are subject-specific, such as:
- the Journal of Contract Law
- Australian Journal of Human Rights
- the Journal of Australian Taxation
For a full database of legal journals, go to the Deakin Law School
Legal Research Links site.
During your time at law school, consider some of the options available to you to be involved with your university lecturers, as well as other law students.
Particularly in the later years of your law degree, think about:
- applying for any student or research positions assisting academic staff;
- advertising your services as a tutor for other law students – for example, to assist as a tutor to a first-year law student;
- working as a student editor for your university law journal;
- working as a student within a community legal practice or law firm affiliated with your university; or
- taking on volunteer work to assist others in law-related fields – for example, helping the elderly or those with poor education in completing their tax returns.
Involving yourself with a law students' society or association is an excellent way to feel involved as a law student.
Law Students' Societies and Associations operate at a University, Australian and International Level.
Within each Australian university offering a law degree you will find a law students' society or association. This is a non-profit organisation consisting of elected law students who represent, support, advance and assist fellow law students in different areas, such as careers, education and competitions.
A law students' society or association also organises social activities throughout the university year specifically for law students.
School Student Societies
You could also become involved with the Australian Law Students' Association (ALSA), which is an Australia-wide association. ALSA comprises, represents and promotes all students within the Australian university law students' societies and associations and, as with its university-based counterparts, it is non-profit and is run by annually-elected law students.
A further option is the International Law Students' Association (ILSA), which is an association of both law students and young lawyers specifically directed to the study of international law.
Involving yourself in competitions may involve extra work on top of your own law studies, but well worth the effort. The skills you learn will not only help prepare you for professional practice, but also assist your own law studies. Just consider the benefits you obtain from participating in a moot! It is always preferable to learn about the preparation, writing and presentation of entire legal submissions, as well as court etiquette and appropriate dress, as a law student rather than on your first day in court. Competing in student competitions also has the added benefit of increasing your chances of success if you do intend to apply for articles.