How will COVID-19 safety measures affect my PLT studies?

We know there has been a lot of confusion surrounding COVID-19, we hope this fact sheet can help you understand the changes to PLT.

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COVID-19 FAQ: General Information

  • Will Leo Cussen continue to run courses?

    Absolutely. It is business as usual for all of us at Leo Cussen, with the necessary adjustments to keep everyone safe and comply with government guidelines.

  • How much of the course can I complete online?

    100% of course components can be completed online, including the work placement component.

  • In what form will Leo Cussen provide its PLT courses moving forward?

    For the foreseeable future we will continue to run all aspects of the Leo Cussen PLT program at distance. When safety measures are lifted, we will welcome onsite trainees to our Williams St, Melbourne premises to learn with us onsite. Online students will have the option to attend intensives onsite or to continue learning online for the entire course if they prefer.

  • What is the difference between the onsite and online courses if both are being delivered online at the moment?

    Leo Cussen has one course, with two different delivery methods. We will continue to offer these two different methods to cater to different learning styles and different lifestyle needs. The onsite course suits learners who prefer more structure and guidance from their mentor. The online course suits learners who prefer more flexibility and independence in their learning. In both courses, students have a dedicated mentor guiding them through the program and available to support them every day.

    The July onsite course – structured learning

    Until we are able to resume our regular onsite delivery, onsite trainees will receive a weekly schedule with specific activities listed for each day of that week, so they can work as though they are onsite in the building with us. They will also participate in whole group zoom meetings with their fellow trainees and their group mentor, in addition to regular 1 on 1 coaching with their mentors. They will also participate in livestreamed workshops and other training throughout the course.

    The July and August online courses – flexible learning

    Online trainees will work through the course with a more flexible timetable and intensives being conducted at distance via livestreaming and zoom. They will also participate in whole group zoom meetings and 1 on 1 coaching with their mentors.

  • I’m not sure about the technology, what support will there be for me to learn online?

    We have a dedicated IT support team to help our students with any difficulties. We use Zoom for our video conferencing and live-streaming and our online learning system is simple and easy to use. For anyone needing additional support, we will help you learn some new skills which you can take with you into the workplace.

  • Do I have to complete the onsite course at Leo Cussen’s premises once the safety measures are lifted?

    Yes, we will be happy to welcome trainees onsite, once safe to do so, so they can learn with us at our premises in William St, Melbourne.
    Online trainees can continue to learn online for all components of their course unless there is any change to regulations.

  • How will I complete the Work Placement component of my PLT course?

    VIC
    You can now complete the work placement component entirely online.
    The Victorian Legal Admissions Board (VLAB) has approved the Leo Cussen Work Experience Module as a replacement to the work placement component of the course for 2020. This can be completed entirely online.

    WA
    You can now complete the work placement component entirely online. The Legal Practice Board of Western Australia (LPBWA) has approved the Leo Cussen Work Experience Module as a replacement to the work placement component of the course for 2020. This can be completed entirely online.

  • Can I still get guidance from the Careers Advisor?

    Yes, Alex Giannopoulos is providing career consultations via email, phone and video conferencing.

  • Can I be admitted on time at the end of the course?

    VIC
    Yes, VLAB is currently completing admissions ‘on the papers’, which means that applicants are not required to attend court for admission.
    Instead applicants are required to affirm/swear an affidavit of office in which they will affirm/swear that they will:

    “well and honestly conduct myself in the practise of my profession, as a member of the legal profession and an officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria, to the best of my knowledge and ability.”

    WA
    The LPBWA has advised us that applicants can apply through the usual processes and they are processing applications in the usual way.

  • Will my admission be delayed?

    VIC
    No, as VLAB is continuing to organise admissions and the Supreme Court is continuing to admit applicants, there should be no delays in being admitted once qualified.
    WA
    Admission ceremonies for April and May are currently on hold. We understand that LPBWA is continuing to process applications and there is a slight delay to admissions at present.

COVID-19 FAQ: International Student Information

  • How will Leo Cussen support me during my PLT studies

    Support for our international students is very important to us. As an organisation, we are very experienced in looking after our international students and we greatly value the rich diversity they bring to our programs.
    Fonda Gazis, Lawyer and Mentor, is our dedicated International Trainee Advisor. He is there to provide additional support along with allocated mentors. We also have a panel of migration lawyers, who can assist international students with visa issues as required.

  • Will the online PLT course satisfy my visa requirements?

    Yes, our course can currently be delivered entirely online and still meet the visa requirements for a face to face program.

  • Can I complete Leo Cussen's PLT from my home country?

    Yes, you can currently complete the entire Leo Cussen Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice online, including the Leo Cussen Work Experience Module as a replacement to the work placement component.

General FAQs

  • How can I complete my placement with the COVID-19 safety measures in place?

    You have the option to complete an online placement program.

    VLAB and LPBWA have approved Leo Cussen students to complete an online program to substitute the work placement, if COVID-19 measures prevent them from undertaking a placement in a legal workplace.

  • Is face to face attendance compulsory? I'm worried about COVID-19.

    In light of the restrictions on face to face attendance created by COVID-19, we have changed our face to face attendance to enable our trainees to complete these components wholly online.  For further information on attendance, go to Course Dates.

  • If the onsite program is currently being delivered online, will it still comply with my visa requirements?

    Yes. Due to COVID-19, we are able to deliver our onsite program at distance, so that it complies with requirements for international students to study in an onsite program.

  • I've heard admission ceremonies are currently cancelled. Does this mean I would be delayed in getting admitted?

    No. Whilst admission ceremonies are not taking place due to COVID-19, Victorian admissions are instead being completed ‘on the papers’.  The Victorian Legal Admissions Board website has further information: Victorian Legal Admissions Board

    So there are no delays on being admitted in Victoria and graduates of our program will be eligible to apply for admission in the same time frame as usual.

    In WA the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia has not yet announced changes to its process but may take the same approach as Victoria.

  • What qualification will I receive when I graduate from the Leo Cussen PLT course?

    When you graduate you’ll receive a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GLDP). Our GDLP is a level 8 qualification in the Australian Qualifications Framework.  By comparison, a Bachelor’s degree is level 7 and a Masters Degree is level 9.

    Provided you have completed all other academic requirements, you are then eligible to apply for admission to the legal profession as an Australian Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

    For further information about admission to practise, please see the website of the Victorian Legal Admissions Board or the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia.

  • Does Practical Legal Training at Leo Cussen include exams?

    No. You are continually assessed, based on the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers. The program replicates actual workplace practice, with the aim of making you ready to practise law efficiently and ethically in the interests of your clients.

  • Can I attend any other full-time onsite PLT course in Victoria? What about Western Australia?

    No. At present, Leo Cussen is the only provider of full-time onsite PLT courses in Victoria. There is currently no full-time onsite course in Western Australia.

  • What sort of reputation does Leo Cussen Centre for Law have in the legal community?

    We have a longstanding reputation within the profession, also expressed tangibly in the number of Leo Cussen graduates who gain employment, and the number of practitioners who choose to pass on their knowledge and expertise here by working as instructors.

  • What is the length of the PLT course?

    In simple terms, Leo Cussen runs two full-time onsite and online courses per year in Victoria, each lasting for 24 weeks – a relatively short, but intensive and challenging, program. There is also a Part-time Online course that follows the same format as the full-time online course, but which runs for 42 weeks, starting in January. There is currently one Online PLT course a year for Western Australian trainees, including 21 weeks of course work plus placement as required by the WA Legal Practice Board. For detailed information, go to Important Information for Applicants, Course Dates page.

  • Is FEE-HELP available?

    Yes. FEE-HELP is available for our courses for eligible trainees.

  • Just how practical is the Leo Cussen PLT course?

    You will run simulated client files (connected to our simulated Court Registry and Bank) to help you manage your introduction to legal practice within a safe environment while engaging with the realities of practice. We have a proven record for providing our graduates with the skills and confidence required to be work-ready.

  • How much focused guidance can I expect on the Leo Cussen course?

    Our overriding concern is ensuring that PLT trainees are guided through tasks to maximise their learning and prepare them as well as possible for entry to the profession. To that end, you are assigned a mentor who actively oversees your progress and supports your development as a lawyer.  Our mentors are allocated small groups of trainees, so they are able to be really hands on and they have time to interact with you as much as needed to meet your learning preferences and requirements.

  • Is Leo Cussen a good place for collegiality and networking?

    With a combination of friendly, well-connected instructors, the intensity of undertaking challenging work in small groups, and a supportive, friendly environment, it is commonplace for our graduates to form lifelong friendships and professional connections.

  • What are the major differences between Onsite PLT and Online PLT?

    Probably fewer than you would think. We appreciate that trainees will have good reason for preferring the convenience of online learning, but the major difference is obviously face-to-face contact. However, our online course includes 13 days of personal contact – more than usual for a course like this – which is designed to meaningfully build your practical skills and networks.

  • What does professional placement entail?

    Onsite placement takes place at the end of the course, while online placement can take place during the course itself or after course work is completed.

    We invite onsite trainees to nominate an area of interest and we make every endeavour to find you a placement in that area.

    Allocation of places is at the discretion of the Director PLT.

  • Who organises professional placement?

    This differs between our onsite and online courses.

    Leo Cussen arranges professional placement for onsite trainees.

    We find that online trainees prefer the autonomy of organising their own placement, which they can then schedule to suit their own timetables and commitments.

    However, our Graduate Placement and Careers Advisor assists online trainees when they need help.

  • Will Leo Cussen help to find me a job after I graduate?

    We’ll try!

    We are frequently approached by firms or other organisations looking for a Leo Cussen graduate.

    Information about positions is regularly circulated to the graduates.

  • Can I get an employer to sponsor me?

    Yes, many employers sponsor their graduates to complete PLT. The decision to sponsor is up to the particular firm or legal practice.

  • Can I undertake employment or study during the course?

    Sure, but you’ll need to ensure you have time for your coursework.

    If you are enrolled in the Full Time course, you may work full-time or part-time but you’ll need to  commit to 25 hours of course work each week.

    In the Part Time PLT course, you will need to commit to 15 hours of course work each week.

  • How soon before commencement can I have access to the timetable?

    The handbook is made available to trainees once they make final payment of tuition fees and receive their login to the learning portal.

    For further information about the timetable email pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au and we’ll be happy to assist you.

  • Can I defer from the course?

    Yes. Contact the PLT Co-ordinator before making a deferral application. There is more information on deferrals in our Important Information for Applicants page.

  • What if I apply for PLT and then discover I have failed one or more university subjects?

    In most cases, applicants in this situation forfeit their place on the PLT course and receive a refund of any part tuition payments they have already made. You will generally be subject to our Withdrawal Penalty, although in special cases this can be waived. To learn more, go to the Failed University Subjects and Withdrawal Penalties sections of the Important Information for Applicants page.

  • If I wish to become a barrister after graduating from Leo Cussen, what is the process?

    You will first have to undertake the Bar Readers’ Course. The Bar Readers’ Course runs twice each year, in March and September, and is a full-time 12-week course.  For further information, please contact the Victorian Bar.

  • Can the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice gain me credit towards a Master’s Degree?

    Some university Masters programs in law, legal practice and global business law recognise the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (PLT) for the purpose of advanced standing or credit (sometimes referred to as ‘articulation’), but conditions vary. We encourage graduates to direct any queries to the relevant university.

  • Where do I go if I have a grievance or complaint?

    You can find our Complaints Policy and Procedures here.

  • Does Leo Cussen offer tuition assurance?

    Leo Cussen meets all the tuition assurance requirements of the Higher Education Support Act 2003. For more information, read the Higher Education Provider Guidelines.

International Student FAQs

  • I have completed my law degree in Australia. Am I eligible for PLT?

    You are eligible to apply for either the onsite or online course, depending on your visa conditions. In our onsite course offered in Melbourne, we find the professional placement for international students. See below for more information on visas. The Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice is a CRICOS approved course with the provider number 02224A.

  • I obtained my degree overseas. Am I eligible for PLT?

    Any applicant whose LLB degree or equivalent is from outside Australia must have their qualifications for admission approved by the Victorian Legal Admissions Board or Legal Practice Board of Western Australia before applying for the course.

  • I am an overseas practitioner. Am I eligible for PLT?

    You must obtain a determination from the Victorian Legal Admissions Board or Legal Practice Board of Western Australia about any requirements for admission to the legal profession. If such a determination requires you to complete some or all of a course of Practical Legal Training, you are welcome to enrol with Leo Cussen Centre for Law to complete these requirements.

  • Can I take the PLT course online?

    If you are on a bridging visa or other temporary residence visa with no restrictions on study, you may take the online course.

    However, it depends on the conditions of your visa, so if unsure you should check this with the Department of Home Affairs or seek advice from an agency. See below.

    Leo Cussen checks your visa when you enrol. Overseas students on a Student Visa are only eligible to study the full-time onsite course.

  • Am I eligible for FEE-HELP?

    Australian citizens and applicants on a Permanent Humanitarian Visa are eligible to apply for FEE-HELP.

  • Do I need to arrange my own Overseas Student Health Cover?

    Yes. Find out more at The Department of Health.

  • When is the full tuition fee due and can I pay via instalments?

    You are required to pay a $500 part-tuition fee within one week of acceptance of your offer to secure your position. The balance of the tuition fee is due two weeks prior to the course start date. You may be able to pay the course fee by instalments but an application for permission to do so must be made in writing to the Director PLT no later than two weeks before the commencement of the course.

  • Will Leo Cussen help me apply for my visa?

    We can offer advice about our course, and assistance in what is best for you regarding onsite or online options, but you are required to arrange your visa yourself. The following resources can assist you:

    • The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) for details of registered migration agents who can help.
    • Local law associations for each State often have a referral service that will connect you with lawyers who work in migration matters. In some cases the first 15-30 minutes are free. This may vary in each state so please check.
    • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection

    Contact our International Student Advisor, Fonda Gazis, for further advice and referrals:

    Email: fgazis@leocussen.edu.au
    Tel: 1300 039 031

  • Do I need to complete an IELTS test to be eligible for PLT?

    No. You are not required to take an International English Language Test to enter PLT.

  • What are the fees for international students?

    To view our most current list of fees, go to our Course Fees page.

Comprehensive Information

You will find comprehensive and detailed information covering most general queries in these pages:

Course Dates

Course Fees

Course Structure

About our PLT

Why Leo Cussen

Important Information for Applicants

International Students

 

Please also refer to our 2020 Course Guide.