Becoming a lawyer requires so much academic work and yet law firms seek law graduates who are confident in speaking with clients and working in a professional environment. You can obtain law firm work experience while you are studying and during your PLT in a professional placement. In this article, we discuss both, so you are across “what’s what” in legal work experience, while giving you some tips to finding those all those important opportunities.

What will I learn in legal work experience?

Work experience opportunities can include exposure to workplace etiquette, administrative skills that underpin workplace organisation and communications.

Your experience will vary depending on the employer, work available and your ability to adapt to the work environment. Work experience opportunities can include exposure to workplace etiquette, administrative skills that underpin workplace organisation and communications.

Activities might include:

  • research tasks and written memos
  • attending client interviews, meetings, conferences, mediations, conciliations or court hearings
  • drafting and reviewing legal documents

Where can it be done?

  • law firms (any size)
  • government departments
  • courts or tribunals
  • in-house legal departments
  • community legal centres
  • barristers’ chambers (subject to special conditions)

Can my university help?

Your university will have strong connections with different law firms and community centres which are worth exploring. Your lecturers and law societies will be great connections into this world, so make sure you use these connections to find legal work experience. Many law schools also offer clinical legal education subjects which contribute towards your degree while also giving you a taste of legal practice in a community legal setting.

What opportunities can I find myself?

One of the best places to find legal work experience is to apply to a community legal centre (CLC), where students and law graduates can work with community clients and gain exposure to real responsibility for court matters. While there are many CLCs covering a variety of areas of law, family and criminal law tend to be a focus for many of them. You can apply directly to a CLC to go onto the waitlist as a volunteer in your local community. We encourage you to sign up for these centres as early as you can, as the waitlists can be long!


Another great way to get legal experience is through clerkships, mostly in commercial law. Most firms provide 3 – 4 weeks of legal work experience mainly to law students who are in their second-to-last year of their law degree. Some of these firms will also choose their graduate lawyers from their pool of clerks. The recruitment process is highly structured and selective, but there are lots of firms offering legal experience.

While they may not offer larger-scale clerkships, many small and medium-sized firms are open to receiving direct requests from law students to do work experience. This can be a great way to get exposure to not only a range of commercial experience but also to non-commercial areas of law such as personal injury, criminal and family law.

Virtual Internships

Now more than ever, students need online work experience options. Leo Cussen has partnered with Forage to build two Virtual Internship Programs designed to provide students with valuable insight into what it’s like to solve real issues in legal practice. We offer internship in Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Family Law. The virtual internships are free, entirely online, and accessible to all law students and graduates. Once complete, the internships can be put on your CV. They are led by leading practitioners in these areas and designed specifically to create real work experience for law students, graduates and junior lawyers.

PLT and work experience placements

All PLT students do a work placement as part of the program, and Leo Cussen provides lots of support to help secure that placement. Placement provides a chance to hit the ground running and build your confidence with the support of your mentor and instructors.

You have two options on how you wish to organise your placement:

  • We organise: you can opt in for an additional fee for our team to find a placement for you
  • You organise: you can find your own placement with our support

Find your work experience

If you wish to have a career in law, work experience will be greatly beneficial to you. There are plenty of options available for you to complete work experience in law, both during law school and PLT, either in-person or virtually. Whilst there can be a lot of work involved in applying for the placements, it is one of the best things you can do for your career in law. At Leo Cussen, we are big believers in work experience and this is seen in our simulated practice learning model. If you have any questions or want to know more about our PLT placement programs, book a time to chat or check out our program overview.


Alex Giannopoulos
Alex Giannopoulos is our Manager of Industry Engagement & Careers. With a background as a lawyer and in recruitment, Alex provides best practice insights into helping law graduates ensure the success of their pathway to becoming a lawyer.