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A man and a woman in formal dress talk about how long it takes to become a lawyer in Australia.
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Television shows about lawyers tend to focus on the more glamorous aspects of the profession. They give the impression that being a lawyer involves only wearing expensive suits, going to fancy restaurants, and making witty remarks while making compelling legal arguments.
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While the life of a lawyer can mimic art, a career in law offers many different rewarding experiences beyond what you typically see on the small screen.
According to University of Canberra (UC) Associate Professor and JD Program Director Dr Trevor Ryan, “The law, and criminal law in particular, is overrepresented in the media. Maybe that’s why people are drawn to it. However , many of our law students study law because of their personal experiences. “It can be a bit more realistic than some media portrayals, which are often filmed in another jurisdiction, usually the US or the UK.”
Realistic does not mean uninteresting. In fact, lawyers play a key role working in complex areas of law, including:
Dr. Ryan adds that law offers many exciting opportunities for students, many of whom work in areas outside of the traditional television theater arena.
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“Many graduates go into private practice as lawyers. However, others will negotiate and draft contracts in business, advise industry and government on litigation and legal compliance, or work as corporate lawyers. Others may become attorneys or work in community organizations or community centers,” he says.
In addition, Dr. Ryan explains that new and complex areas of law now offer students many more opportunities and options beyond the mere practice of civics.
Beyond the list above, it highlights intellectual property (IP) as an emerging area of law that is relevant to many different areas of our lives, especially the content we create on social media. Another issue, he continues, is healthcare, especially the relationship between intellectual property and healthcare, and how the law regulates both.
A law degree course in Australia usually takes four years. Upon completion of the 12th grade or an equivalent degree, students may enroll in a single course or a combined course.
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Those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline can choose to study online for a Juris Doctor degree, which typically takes three years.
A Juris Doctor degree is a great option if you want to advance your career, change industries, or embark on a completely different career path.
This flexibility means you can earn your Juris Doctor degree wherever you are, fitting it around your work and family responsibilities.
Dr. Ryan says it can appeal to professionals looking to make a career change. “In a lot of careers, you can be dead in 10 or 15 years,” he says. “In our Juris Doctor, I teach many students in their 40s and 50s who come from different industries and now want to do something more interesting. Some want to bring value to their communities by helping people solve their legal problems.”
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In addition to obtaining an approved law degree, the path to becoming a lawyer also includes:
After completing practical legal training, you can apply for admission as a barrister to the Supreme Court of your state or territory.
Once you have been accepted as a solicitor, you will not need any additional qualifications to become a family lawyer in Australia. So the time it takes to become a family lawyer is the same as the time it takes to become a lawyer in Australia.
Many firms specialize in family law and practice in groups where older employees mentor younger employees. This team structure allows new lawyers to gradually take on more complex roles, such as speaking in court.
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Family law in Australia is governed by the Commonwealth and basically follows the same set of rules throughout the country. It is therefore a very mobile field of law that uses many of the alternative dispute resolution methods taught in the University of Canberra Juris Doctor online course.
Once you complete your science or engineering degree, it can take you 3-4 years to become a registered patent attorney in Australia, as you need:
Patent law can be very lucrative and there are also many opportunities in government such as IP Australia.
Many Australian universities now publish cost estimates for a law degree, both for the first year of study and for the entire course. This transparency means you can choose the university that suits you best and plan accordingly.
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Check out this 2020 comparison chart to find out how much it costs to get a Juris Doctor degree in Australia. The table shows the Australian universities that offer this degree, as well as their:
There are 24 units in the University of Canberra Juris Doctor online course. Each unit takes about seven weeks to make and will cost $3,750 in 2022 (rates are revised annually, so check our rates page for up-to-date information).
If you are an Australian citizen or have a permanent Australian humanitarian visa, you may be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan from the Commonwealth Government. This can help you pay for the costs and materials associated with your degree.
The University of Canberra’s online Juris Doctor course takes place six times a year, so you can start and finish your degree sooner and apply it to your work faster. You can take it part-time wherever you are, making it ideal for busy professionals who want to quickly take the next step in their career. It is also ideal if you need to balance your studies with family and work responsibilities.
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Law is a complex field with its own set of problems, moral and ethical dilemmas. The good news, according to Dr. Ryan, is that it also has a solid foundation to help lawyers resolve any dilemma.
“Lawyers must maintain a delicate balance between their duties to the client and their primary duties to the court, regardless of the type of law they practice,” he says.
Give an example where a lawyer may be asked to represent the former spouse of a current client. The profession has strict rules regarding such conflicts, so the lawyer has guidance to turn to and does not have to struggle with dilemmas alone.
Although being a lawyer often requires long hours, it can be an incredibly rewarding profession. And not all legal careers require grueling hours, Dr. Ryan says.
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“There are options for everyone,” he says. “You may be willing to spend those hours building your career and moving up. If not, you may be more interested in New Law, where law firms have a flatter partnership structure and more flexible work hours.”
Either way, he says, there’s always a trade-off between being an accomplished lawyer who makes a lot of money and a career that supports you financially and personally.
Law can also be a step in politics or the defense of justice. For example, both Barack and Michelle Obama were lawyers well known for their social activism before entering politics.
“Studying law is a flexible entry point into industries that have access to power,” says Dr Ryan. If you want to have the power to advocate for people, he recommends working in sectors such as non-governmental organizations, the public sector, public law and community legal services.
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In addition, he suggests that his students often consider doing pro bono work, meaning providing free legal services to those in need. This can be a rewarding way to use those hard-earned legal skills for altruistic purposes.
“Pro bono work allows people to drive change and contribute to the wider justice system,” he explains. “In my opinion, we need a certain percentage of our profession to step up and offer more free services.”
Dr. Ryan also notes that many companies contribute in other ways, such as sponsoring causes or building community relationships. “Our universities often rely on the local legal community to sponsor awards for our students,” he concludes.
“The law can allow you to do whatever you want. You can represent people pro bono or through community legal centers. You can take on the role of attorney, guardian and attorney,” he adds.
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However, one thing is clear: a Juris Doctor degree is a path to much more than practicing law in a courtroom. Whether you want to make a complete career change, gain qualifications to advance in your current industry or make a contribution to your community, a legal qualification can help.
And if you’re looking to take the first steps towards a new career as a lawyer in the future, our Juris Doctor course could be the perfect starting point.
If you are not currently a Registered Nurse (Division 1), you may be interested in studying a Bachelor of Nursing on campus.
The University of California recognizes the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the lands on which the Bruce campus is located. We want to recognize and
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