Our Video below talks about criminal law career options and our Blog post specifically discusses LPAB study.
You might think that becoming a lawyer means long years of full-time study, and for many law students, this is true.
But if you can’t undertake a full-time course, for example because you’re already in the workforce, you can’t afford a degree course, or you live too far from a university offering law, there is another way – LPAB study.
The LPAB course can get you on your way to becoming a qualified, practising lawyer, relatively cheaply and quickly. Here’s a brief look at the pros and cons of becoming a lawyer, and LPAB study.
Reasons to consider becoming a lawyer
- To help people. As a lawyer, you will be in a position where you can help individual people, and also work for the public good. You can work as a lawyer for the Department of Public Prosecutions, for example. And even lawyers who work in private practice do what is called pro-bono work, which in plain English means legal services performed free of charge. Pro-bono work is done to help low-income or disadvantaged people, who would otherwise not be able to afford legal assistance.
- Law is an exceptionally varied and interesting career, with plenty of options to specialise in areas you are interested in. Depending on your personal preferences and interests, you can choose to become a family lawyer, criminal lawyer, commercial lawyer, or work in a specialist area such as tax law or property law. If you like the idea of working in a job where no two days will be the same, and you enjoy the unexpected, law could be perfect for you.
- In terms of fulfilment, you can’t go further than a career in law. When you become a lawyer, you can help people, be mentally stimulated, meet different people from all walks of life, and earn a great income. There is plenty of room for advancement in a law career, and you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while doing something highly enjoyable and worthwhile.
Why becoming a lawyer might not be for you
- There are quite a lot of lawyers already. There are reportedly more law graduates than legal jobs both here in Australia, and overseas. The impact of the GFC is still being felt, and although they are still needed, being a lawyer is not the fail-safe job it once was.
- Little work/life balance. A good work/life balance as a lawyer can be difficult to maintain. Long hours are exceptionally common in the industry. So are the rates of depression and anxiety. In 2009, a breakthrough study was undertaken by the University of Sydney into the attitudes towards depression in Australian law students and legal practitioners. The study found a high level of psychological distress and risk of depression among them compared with norms in the rest of the community. In fact, 46.9% of law students, 55.7% of solicitors and 52.5% of barristers surveyed as part of the study reported experiencing depression. The Law Society has a range of programs to assist students and practitioners to resolve such issues, however. In addition, practitioners can contact the Lawyers Assistance Program for free and confidential counselling.
So what is the LPAB?
If like many other prospective law students, you think the positives of being a lawyer outweigh the negatives, it’s time to look at the LPAB course. LPAB stands for the Legal Profession Admission Board, which is the legislative body responsible for approving the admission of lawyers in NSW.
The board also registers students at law, who are awarded a Diploma in Law on passing exams set by the board.
The LPAB pathway for becoming a lawyer is designed for people who are unable to attend full-time university, for whatever reason. The LPAB entry requirements are generally lower than for university law degrees, and the cost is less than for tertiary study.
On completion of the LPAB, you can be admitted to practise law in NSW the same way as if you had undertaken a formal law degree or postgraduate study at a tertiary institution. You will still need to undergo some form of practical legal training before you can work as a fully qualified lawyer.
How long does it take?
The LPAB course can be completed in three years, attending classes at night and at weekends. Distance students can attend weekend schools each semester for lectures. During this time, you will complete 20 subjects in total, comprising 17 compulsory subjects and three electives.
It’s not mandatory, but given the competitive nature of the industry, it’s also a good idea to consider doing some work experience (paid or voluntary) during your studies. Relevant experience can help demonstrate your commitment to working in law, as well as give you valuable hands-on experience and an insight into how the legal system works in NSW.
If you want to become a lawyer it’s never too late to get started on a rewarding career. With the LPAB as an option, getting qualified and starting your new career may be easier than you think!