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How to become a Lawyer in Australia

Discover how to begin your career in Law.
We’ve all seen lawyers in television and films, maybe read a legal thriller or two, but are these portrayals accurate? What exactly is the role of a lawyer? Moreover, what types of lawyers are there? And how long does it take to become a lawyer? If you are considering a career in law, it’s important to do your research before embarking on your study journey. 

Let’s discover the answers to some common questions and explore the potential career pathways that await you if you choose to dive into the law profession. 

What is the role of a lawyer? 

A lawyer is a professional who has studied and obtained relevant qualifications in the field of law. Lawyers use their expertise to advise clients of their legal rights, and work to provide the best outcome for their clients within the confines of the law and their ethical obligations. In Australia, a lawyer can also be known as a ‘solicitor’ or ‘barrister’, although the legal work carried out in these roles is quite different. A solicitor is generally based in a law firm and the role often involves extensive research, gathering of evidence, preparing legal documentation, and meeting and advising clients. Barristers are generally self-employed and their role involves representing clients in the courtroom with a focus on trial preparation, courtroom advocacy and litigation.    

What types of lawyers are there?

Before you learn how to become a lawyer in Australia, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the various career avenues that law can take you. As a law graduate, you’ll be qualified to step into a range of roles – from barrister or solicitor, to community lawyer or in-house counsel for large corporations. You’ll also have options to pursue and specialise in an area of interest such as civil litigation, criminal, taxation, family, or environmental law, to name a few!  

If you're starting your journey and aren’t exactly sure where your passion lies, that’s ok! Most law degrees will cover a broad range of topics, allowing you to gain an understanding of how to become a lawyer in each area of law, as well as an idea of what future roles in that particular area would involve.  

How long does it take to become a lawyer?

Life is busy, with many of us juggling work, social and family commitments. So it’s understandable that one of your main questions might be ‘how long does it take to become a lawyer?’. The path you take to become a lawyer will be unique in nature and dependent on factors such as previous study and qualifications. Your study duration may also increase depending on the area of law you want to specialise in. At a minimum, you will need to study a 3-year Bachelor of Laws (otherwise known as an LLB) or an equivalent degree (if you have an existing undergraduate degree, you can complete a Juris Doctor). 

At UniSQ, you have to option to fast-track your studies and complete a Bachelor of Laws in 2 years full-time over six consecutive semesters. Otherwise, you can study a typical full-time load over three years or undertake the part-time equivalent for up to 6 years. The flexible nature of our degrees means you can also choose to study online, giving you the freedom to study on your own terms, in your own time.  

How to apply for a law degree at UniSQ

Wanting to take the next step and apply to study law at UniSQ? First you’ll need to check that you meet the relevant entry requirements for your chosen Law degree. If you do, then you can begin the application process. For undergraduate degrees, (i.e. Bachelor of Laws), in most cases you will need to submit your application through QTAC. However, if you are a current or previous UniSQ student returning to study with complete or incomplete qualifications (excluding Head Start students), or have recently graduated from TAFE, you may be able to apply directly to UniSQ. You are also able to apply directly to UniSQ for postgraduate degrees, such as our Juris Doctor

If you happen to find that you don’t meet the entry requirements for the Bachelor of Laws, there’s no need to panic! At UniSQ, we know that everyone’s journey to study is unique. We have the pathway options to get you one step closer to your career goals. Complete our free Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) or enrol in a Bachelor of Arts (Legal Studies) to kick-start your studies.  

Making the decision to study is a significant life step. It’s important to remember to get in touch if you have any questions along the way regarding eligibility or the application process. You won't be alone in your journey - we’ll be there with you, to provide support and help you reach your study goals.  

How much do lawyers earn in Australia?
According to, the average annual salary for a lawyer in Australia ranges between $85 000 to $105 000. That being said, your earning potential as a lawyer can change dramatically depending on the field of law you choose to pursue.  
What subjects are needed to become a lawyer?
Entry requirements such as subject pre-requisites may vary slightly depending on the learning institution you choose to study with. At UniSQ, the pre-requisite subject required for entry into the Bachelor of Laws is English.  For more detailed information, view the Bachelor of Laws entry requirements. 
What ATAR do you need to be a lawyer?
To study a Bachelor of Laws at UniSQ you need to meet a minimum ATAR along with any subject pre-requisites. For further information on ATAR view our Bachelor of Laws entry requirements. 
If you haven't got an ATAR, we can derive a selection rank score based on your prior study, work experience or professional qualifications. 
What qualifications do I need to be a lawyer?
To practise law in Australia, you first need to have completed a Bachelor of Laws or an equivalent qualification (i.e. Juris Doctor). You will then need to complete an approved Practical Legal Training (PLT) course. A PLT is necessary in order to meet the requirements to seek admission to practise law in your relevant state or territory. Lastly, you’ll have to apply for a Practising Certificate.