Professional Experience Requirements
Deakin Law School’s Professional Experience (PE) placement involves a student working in a law-related environment undertaking law related work.
Types of workplaces include: Law Firms – working directly under the supervision of a lawyer; Community Legal Centres working directly under the supervision of a lawyer; Court of Law; Tribunal; Statutory Authority working under the supervision of a person who has completed a law degree; Barrister; police prosecutor. The role must be law related. See ‘What counts as PE’ (below for further details.
The purpose of PE placement is to enrich the student's formal legal education and produce graduates with practical experience of how the law operates. As well as being a benefit in itself, this will also make the student's university study more meaningful.
Your course structure
Students must complete their placement based on their enrolled course version –
Previous course version (pre 2017):
You will be required to complete 30 days of PE and submit the appropriate PE forms on completion of your placement as part of the requirement of the pre-2017 course structure.
New course version (2017 onwards):
Students are not required to complete professional experience. However, professional experience can still be gained through MLL351 Legal Internship, a Deakin Law Clinic or, in some instances, MWL303 Business Internship.
MWL303 Business Internship can only be undertaken as a LLB elective if 100 hours of supervised contact is completed in a legal environment approved by the WIL team. If approval has not specifically been given MWL303 will not act as a LLB elective.
How to complete your Professional Experience
Students may participate in more than one PE placement. For example, a student may initially spend some time within one law firm, then work within a statutory authority, followed by some experience in a Court or a legal centre.
If a student is unclear about whether or not their PE placement host is suitable, please contact email@example.com before commencing to obtain clarification.
Students on placement are covered by university insurance when the placement is 'University Approved'. Some PE placement hosts will require a copy of this.
Students who have applied to graduate must submit their completed Professional Experience documents no later than the Results Release date of the trimester prior to your graduation. Failure to do so may delay your graduation.
Please check the Important Dates for information on eligibility to graduate.
Where do I find PE?
It is a student's responsibility to locate and formalise a professional experience placement. Work readiness is an extremely important aspect of you completing the LLB degree and it is in the student's best interests to make the most of the resources available to you.
Deakin University offers a number of fantastic services to students including cover letter writing, resume writing services. UniHub can assist in developing skills in relation to approaching employers for placements and future employment.
MLL351 Legal Internship unit enables you to gain an appreciation of certain aspects of legal practice and to extend and deepen your theoretical knowledge and critical thinking skills while working in a legal environment.
Deakin Law School coordinates the Professional Experience Placement Scheme where students are placed at various firms and legal aid offices. Review the DLS Placement Scheme page on a regular basis as other opportunities are often advertised.
WIL Student Support Scheme
The WIL Student Support Scheme can help you by easing the financial stress and allowing you to have that hands-on, relevant work experience whether it is locally or overseas. Find out more: WIL Student Support Scheme
What counts as PE
What counts as PE?
undertake Professional Experience part-time or as a full 30 day placement. For
this purpose, the Deakin Law will consider 7.5 hours as being the equivalent of
one working day. MWL303 students must complete at least 100 hours of supervised contact.
Professional Experience placements may only occur in an environment in which a student can gain experience on how the law, or the legal system operates in practice. Placements with a solicitor or barrister; in a public law or regulatory office such as the ACCC, ASIC or Crown Law Department; in a court; or with a police prosecutor are examples. It is not necessary for students to undertake placements at separate firms. Seasonal Clerkships are an ideal way to satisfy this requirement. Where students work within a legal environment undertaking legal work this may also qualify as PE.
Placements may only
occur in an environment where the student will be supervised by a lawyer
(solicitor or barrister), judicial officer, statutory legal officer, police
prosecutor or court staff.
It is not expected that there be any formal instruction for the student. Rather, they are expected only to be able to experience the work undertaken by those working at the placement. In particular, it is hoped that by being supervised in the above outlined legal environments students will be able to experience some or all of the following:
- the types of routines and procedures commonly found in the legal departments and/or legal settings (courts etc)
- the dynamics which are commonly associated with the provision of legal services
- the process of becoming a professional law practitioner
Insurance, OH&S, Police Checks
Insurance cover and will I be paid?
Under the University's insurance policy, it is not expected that students be paid for Professional Experience.
Students will be afforded coverage under Deakin University's insurance policy regardless of whether they will receive paid or unpaid (voluntary) work experience.
Students must, however, work in a law-related field, performing law-related duties.
Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)
If students are concerned about any aspect of occupational health and safety, they should discuss the matter with their organisation host. If their concerns persist, they should notify firstname.lastname@example.org who will either advise students directly or seek advice accordingly.
Some Victorian host organisations may require the student to undertake a police check. Information and relevant consent forms can be found at the Victoria Police website.
Completed relevant forms must be forwarded to the student's host organisation.
Working with Children Checks
Some Victorian host organisations may require the student to undertake a working with children check. Information and relevant consent forms can be found at the Working with Children Check website.
Completion of placement
For students enrolled in the pre-2017 course version only
A Completion of Placement form is submitted once a student has completed their PE placement (paid or unpaid).
How to apply
A student may only submit a Completion of Placement (PDF, 99.8 KB) when all three criteria listed below are satisfied:
- completed of a maximum of 30 days of placement;
- employment placement is in a law-related field, eg legal executive, police, prosecutions or magistrates clerk;
- a signed letter is supplied from the host employer on formal company letterhead that states:
- commencement and conclusion dates
- total number of full-time days completed
- brief list of legal duties performed
The student must satisfy all three criteria above. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
Submit all documents to email@example.com and allow three weeks for the processing of the application. Your Professional Experience status will be updated on the your StudentConnect once the 30 days have been submitted and processed. Days credited will only be approved once the student has successfully submitted the required documents.
Please note: Do not leave this to the last minute, as you could risk missing out on your preferred graduation date!