Are you an international student who is interested in becoming a lawyer in Australia?

Practical Legal Training, or PLT, is an essential step that all law graduates must take in order to practise law in Australia. This blog will explain the requirements for international students who want to undertake PLT in Australia, including guidance on visa rules


PLT, also known as the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, involves applying the knowledge learnt during your law degree to real-world legal situations. PLT needs to be completed before you can practise as a lawyer within Australia, and at the end of the course, graduates undertake a professional placement within a legal office.


So, how do you become a lawyer in Australia if you are an international student? As Leo Cussen has a long history of providing PLT for international students and assisting them with all aspects of the process, we are ideally placed to ensure you enter the legal field fully ready to practise.


For international students, there are several conditions which determine whether you can complete PLT in Australia, such as your visa conditions, where you completed your law degree, and whether you are eligible to complete it in-person or online.


As per Practical Legal Training requirements, if you are on a student visa and have graduated in law from an approved Australian university, you are eligible for the onsite Practical Legal Training at Leo Cussen (although please note that due to current COVID-19 restrictions, all PLT will be conducted online. We will update our website and policies when this restriction changes).


If you are on a student visa, you may be able to study the online course if you are in your final semester of your law degree, provided you have completed all of the 11 core ‘Priestley’ subjects and have no more than 2 electives left to complete. Additionally, if you have recently completed your law degree (depending on the timing of your completion, and the time remaining on your student visa), you may be eligible to complete PLT online.


If you are on a bridging visa or other temporary residence visa with no restrictions on study, then you may study the online course of our Practical Legal Training program. Please ensure that you check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as to what conditions there are on your visa. International students will also be given support in order to find a suitable law firm in which they can complete their three-week placement.


Leo Cussen can help support your application for a visa in order to complete PLT in Australia. The first step is to enrol in one of our PLT courses, after which you’ll be issued a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE). The COE can help you to apply for or extend your visa so that you can complete the PLT course in Australia.


International students who enrol in the Leo Cussen PLT also gain access to a range of support services, including referrals to migration lawyers, one on one support from the International Trainee Advisor and a tailored career advice service. International students are also eligible to access flexible payment arrangements for their PLT fees.


If you completed your law degree overseas, then you will first need to have your law qualification assessed by the one the state admitting authorities before you can undertake PLT within Australia, even if you have already been practising law outside Australia. In some cases, you may then be required to complete some or all of a PLT course in Australia.

So, now you know some of the first steps you can take in becoming a lawyer in Australia. For more information, contact us today.