By undertaking your PLT at Leo Cussen, you’ll stand out in the profession as the Whole Lawyer. Find out how our PLT program will help prepare you for your career as a lawyer.
Our new PLT program is designed to equip you with the skills employers are looking for.
To be a successful legal practitioner, not only do you need to be technically proficient, but also an intuitive, curious, creative and emotionally intelligent lawyer – the Whole Lawyer.
Develop the capabilities of the Whole Lawyer – four skills that employers want in new lawyers.
These four capabilities are developed through different and complementary parts of our course.
(1) Technical Capability (TQ)
Technical Capability is developed throughout the PLT course where you will run client matters across a range of practice areas, while being supported by expert legal practitioners.
(2) Human Skills (EQ)
Human skills are developed and appraised through immersive learning with a focus on the people skills required for effective client interaction, negotiation, and advocacy. This includes the option to be seconded as part of your PLT program to work with real clients as a paralegal with Anika Legal.
(3) Character (CQ)
Character is developed through a 20-week full-time or 30-week part-time program of mentoring with a focus on ethics, professionalism, and reflective practice. During this time, you will work closely with your mentor – an experienced lawyer – who will act as a guide through the course and a sounding board as you look to enter the profession.
(4) Adaptability (AQ)
Adaptability is developed through the Leo Justice Lab. The Leo Justice Lab is undertaken by every Leo Cussen graduate. You’ll work in a team to apply your knowledge to a real access-to-justice problem faced by a partner organisation. You’ll be taught and appraised on methods and mindsets for innovation, including legal tech awareness, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving, which you’ll use as you enter the profession.
You can view more on program details here.
What to expect at every stage of our PLT program
While completing your PLT at Leo Cussen, you’ll progress through five rotations that reflect the experience of a grad in a simulated law firm. The five rotations are:
1. Induction – The Induction rotation gives you time to transition from university into legal work, to settle you into the course and to understand the pathway to admission and the profession you’ll soon join.
2. Transactions – During the Transactions rotation you’ll work on client files in the Property Law and Commercial and Corporate practice areas.
3. Specialist – During the Specialist rotation, you’ll choose two practice areas to specialise in. You can choose two options to complete during your PLT program:
– Administrative (Human Rights) Law Practice
– Banking & Finance
– Consumer Law Practice
– Criminal Law Practice
– Employment Law Practice
– Family Law Practice
– Planning & Environment
– Wills & Estates
4. Disputes – During the Disputes rotation, you’ll work on a client file in the Civil Litigation practice area.
5. Profession Ready – The Profession Ready rotation gives you a chance to focus on your future career as a lawyer, as well as developing skills for advocacy.
Throughout the PLT program, you’ll participate in immersive learning that develops the people skills you’ll require for the legal profession. Immersive learning takes different forms in each learning mode.
For the Blended and Online courses, you’ll take part in three ‘immersives’ across the PLT program. Each immersive is a multi-day, face-to-face learning block where you’ll interact with your mentor and other grads. These take place during the Induction, Specialist and Profession Ready rotations.
For the blended and onsite programs, these take place onsite, while for the online program, immersives are conducted online via video conferencing.
You can find out more about the immersive attendance dates here.
Throughout each rotation you will be guided by your mentor. Your mentor is an experienced lawyer who will provide you with personalised coaching and help develop skills and values for reflective practice. Alongside your mentor, you will also work closely with a supervising lawyer through the Transactions, Specialist and Disputes rotations. The supervising lawyer is a practice area expert who you will work alongside throughout each client file during each rotation.
Across the entire course, you’ll also take part in the Leo Justice Lab. Through Leo Justice Lab, you’ll work in a team to generate real-world policy or technology solutions that help impact justice. You’ll develop skills for the future of law including innovation and collaborative problem-solving. Find out more about the Leo Justice Lab.
As part of our PLT program, you’re required to complete a professional placement. Professional placement provides an opportunity to further experience real-life legal work. You’ll get to practice the skills you’ve developed throughout your PLT, and apply them in a real-world setting. You could complete your placement in a law firm, a community legal centre, in the legal office of a government department or in-house.
The professional placement component of our PLT program requires 20 days in WA and 15 days in all other states and territories.
You can take the stress out of finding a professional placement, and have it organised for you for a fee of just $630. This fee can be included as part of FEE-HELP if you’re eligible.
What is your learning style? There are currently three formats available for law grads.
Blended Learning (BL)
Mostly self-paced online, plus 10 days of immersive face-to-face learning onsite.
Get the best of both worlds. Enjoy the flexibility of online training, with some face-to-face learning where you’ll receive instant, in-person feedback from your instructors and socialise with other PLT trainees.
The 10 days of interactive face-to-face learning are mandatory and held on specific dates onsite. To find the attendance dates, check out the course dates.
Online Learning (OL)
Mostly self-paced online, plus 8 days of immersive sessions held via video conferencing.
Giving you the flexibility to work at your own place, online PLT can be completed from any location.
The 8 days of interactive face-to-face learning are mandatory and held on specific dates via Zoom. To find the attendance dates, check out the course dates.
Two days per week of onsite structured learning and three days per week of self-paced online, plus 10 days of immersive learning.
Location: 15 William St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Make the most of the opportunity to engage in our simulated legal practice. Attend 10 days of Immersive learning onsite at our Melbourne office, and then continue working collaboratively with other grads, mentors and supervising lawyers on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the program.
How long does PLT take?
Leo Cussen’s PLT course can be completed both full-time or part-time.
Full-time PLT will take 20 weeks plus professional placement to complete and part-time PLT takes 30 weeks plus professional placement to complete.
Professional placement runs for 15 days (or 20 days for Western Australia).
Is PLT compulsory?
Now that you’ve finished your law degree, what’s next? You’re hopefully feeling quite a buzz knowing that your years of study, sacrifice and perseverance have paid off, and you’re itching to go to work, in a law firm, not-for-profit, or some other organisation needing your newly acquired skills and knowledge. Before becoming a qualified lawyer, graduates need to complete an important, compulsory and stimulating step: Practical Legal Training (PLT).
PLT is generally started after you’ve completed your degree, or in some cases, beforehand, when you only have two elective subjects left to do in your studies. PLT is distinct to Supervised Legal Training (SLT), as PLT consists mainly of coursework plus some work experience in a law firm, whereas SLT consists of supervised workplace training plus additional training through an external provider.
While PLT includes coursework, it is different from a law degree in that each subject is designed to give graduates experience in applying the law in real-life settings, with mentoring from currently practising lawyers and law professionals, rather than simply on a theoretical basis in the classroom.
PLT is compulsory because it is important that law graduates gain more experience in a broad range of subjects related to the law before they start practising. The subjects on offer were created to satisfy the National Competency Standards for Entry-Level Lawyers, as set out by the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015 (which can be read here).
At Leo Cussen, graduates can undertake PLT on a full-time or part-time basis, with each course covering 13 subjects, comprising 11 core subjects and two electives:
SKILLS AND VALUES
- Lawyer’s Skills (communication skills, interviewing, letter writing, drafting, negotiation and advocacy)
- Problem Solving (problem analysis, statutory interpretation, practical legal research)
- Trust and Office Accounting
- Work Management and Business Skills (including professional placement, file management and risk management)
- Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- Wellbeing for Lawyers
- CLIP – Client/Lawyer Interviewing Program
CORE PRACTICE AREAS
- Litigation Practice
- Commercial & Corporate Practice
- Property Practice
- Criminal Law Practice
CHOICE AREAS OF STREAMS (must complete 2)
- Administrative Law Practice
- Family Law Practice
- Consumer Law Practice
- Employment & Industrial Relations Practice
- Planning and Environmental Law Practice
- Wills and Estates Practice
- Banking & Finance
- At the completion of PLT, graduates are awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP), which is a prerequisite for admission to the Australian legal profession. It is important to note that PLT providers need to be accredited by a state’s legal admissions board, to ensure that graduates receive proper training to begin their law career.
What qualification will I receive after completing PLT?
The course qualifies you with a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) and eligibility to apply for Admission to the legal profession in any Australian state or territory.
Are there days that require attendance?
For our blended courses, there are 10 face-to-face immersive days: 4 at the beginning of the course, 3 in the middle and 3 at the end.
For our online courses, there are 8 immersives throughout the course, held via video conference.
For our onsite courses, there are two days of attendance each week for the duration of the course, as well as 10 face-to-face immersive dates.
If you miss any immersive days due to illness or any other extenuating circumstances, we can arrange for you to catch up.
How does Professional Placement work?
The requirement for professional placment is 15 days and can be completed during or after your PLT course (or 20 days for Western Australia).
If you need help securing a professional placement, Leo Cussen can organise your placement for you. There is an admin fee of $630 which is built into the course fee, and can be included in FEE-HELP.
Is FEE-HELP available for PLT courses?
Yes. FEE-HELP is available for our PLT courses for eligible graduates.
What are the requirements for completing the PLT course?
Practical Legal Training, known as PLT, is a course that all law graduates must complete if they want to work as lawyers in Australia. This blog will take you through the eligibility requirements for enrolling in PLT so that you can begin your career in law.
PLT is the application of a graduate’s theoretical knowledge acquired during their law degree into a real-world setting through a structured training program. PLT is undertaken after you have completed your law degree, as it allows you to further develop certain skills that will be indispensable when you are working in the legal profession. It is imperative that you have completed all of the requirements of your LLB or JD from an approved law school before beginning PLT.
However, it is possible to begin PLT before you have officially completed your degree, provided you have no more than two elective subjects left to complete. However, you must have completed all of your compulsory ‘Priestley 11’ subjects. Also, if you’re a law student who has a summer school subject or a supplementary exam where the results will not be available until after the course commences, you are eligible to enrol in the PLT and commence your practical legal training. For students wishing to do this, you must make a Concurrent Study Application to the admitting authority in your state ,such as the Victorian Legal Admissions Board or the WA Legal Practice Board for approval to commence PLT before completion of your law degree, and evidence of approval must be provided to the PLT provider before your course begins.
In terms of residency status, international students are eligible to complete their PLT requirements in Australia. If you have graduated in law from an approved Australian university, you will be eligible for either the onsite or online PLT at Leo Cussen depending on your visa type and individual circumstances (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).
As part of the PLT, graduates will practice the many tasks that lawyers carry out in legal offices by running cases and files in a simulated law firm setting. This means you will essentially be treated as a first-year lawyer, and given tasks that reflect the real-world of legal practice.
The cases and files you work on will include:
- Property transaction: you will sell or buy residential property
- Commercial transaction: you will sell or buy a business
- Civil Litigation: you will represent a plaintiff or defendant in a breach of contract case
- Criminal Charge: You will defend a client accused of theft
You will also get to choose the following electives:
- Elective one: choose between Administrative law or Family law
- Elective two: choose between Consumer, Employment, Planning/Environment, Wills/Estates, or Banking/Finance law
Through running those matters, you will develop skills in areas such as advocacy, negotiation, drafting and client interviewing – all the key skills that employers look for when hiring graduates
The final stage of PLT involves professional placement in a legal practice, where you will have a further opportunity to improve your legal skills. Once the above have been successfully completed, graduates will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP). This allows you to apply for admission through your state’s Admitting Authority, after which you will obtain a practising certificate and complete a period of supervised practice.
As you can see from the above, PLT is a challenging but also thoroughly satisfying experience, which will get you ‘job ready’ for your first role as a lawyer. Leo Cussen is here to ensure that your PLT experience is as rewarding as possible for you.
What are the Terms and Conditions for Enrolment?
Can international students undertake PLT courses in Australia? Are there different requirements on visas?
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.
Book a chat with us!
We would love to talk with you! If you would like to know more about the perquisites of our PLT course, learn more information about studying with us, or discuss your personal situation, please give us a call on 1300 039 031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll book a time for you to talk with one of our team about how our PLT program can set you up for career success.
How to Enrol
To enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at Leo Cussen, please complete your enrolment form online via our Enrol Now page. If you need assistance or would like to talk to someone about the course, please give us a call on 1300 039 031 or email email@example.com and we’d love to help you!
Are there any PLT requirements?
Before completing a PLT application, check below to see if you’re completed these law prerequisites for the PLT course.
You are eligible to commence the Practical Legal Training Course (PLT) if you have completed all the requirements of the LLB or JD from an Australian approved law school.
You may enrol in the course while you are completing your final law degree subjects. Please note when submitting your PLT application enrolment is conditional on you providing evidence that you have completed the requirements of the degree.
A completing law student who has a summer school subject or a supplementary exam where the results will not be available until after the course commences is eligible to submit a PLT application and to commence their practical legal training.
In Victoria, a law student who at the commencement of the course has one or two elective subjects outstanding may be eligible to commence the course. If you are in this position you may enrol. However, you must also make a Concurrent Study Application to your local admitting authority for approval to commence PLT before completion of your law degree.
Evidence of approval must be provided to Leo Cussen before the commencement of the Practical Legal Training Course. If you wish to discuss your particular situation before submitting your PLT application, please contact the PLT Co-ordinator, Michelle O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Blended Learning or Face to Face Learning you must have a residency status permitting you to reside and study in Australia.
International Students on student visas may only be eligible to apply for the Onsite course. International Students on other forms of visa may be eligible to apply for the Online course subject to the conditions of their visa. See International/Overseas Applicants, Course Fees and Selection Criteria and Procedures.
All applicants: please note that as (a) the course amounts to a single unit of study and (b) entrants to the legal profession require currency in legal practice, prior course credit (or Recognition of Prior Learning) is not typically granted.
If you are an Overseas Qualified or Requalifying Lawyer/Legal Practitioner seeking admission, you must first seek guidance/approval from the relevant state admitting authority before applying to the Leo Cussen Practical Legal Training Course.
Course dates and fees
Confirmation of Enrolment
We aim to confirm your enrolment within 3 business days of receipt of all your documentation.
Confirmation of enrolment is subject to:
- The provision of outstanding documentation (refer Application Form); and
- Part Tuition payment of $500 OR Completed Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form
If your preferred course is full, then you will be placed on the Wait List and offered a place in an alternative PLT course.
Failed University Subjects after Enrolling
If you have enrolled and subsequently fail a subject in your law degree then your place in the course is generally forfeited. You will receive a refund of any part tuition payments they have already made. Alternatively we can defer your place to a later course.
Please note that the applicant will generally be subject to the our withdrawal or deferral fee. However, this policy may be waived by the Director PLT if it is clear that the applicant has promptly notified the Leo Cussen of their situation and their initial enrolment objectively appears to have been made in good faith.
NOTE: An applicant may be permitted to continue in the PLT while completing the final law degree subject. Applicants should contact the Director PLT to discuss this option.
Applicants wishing to defer should first carefully read the PLT Deferral, Transfer, Suspension and Cancellation Policy and Procedure and contact the PLT Administrator before making an application.
A summary of the Deferral component of the policy is as follows: The applicant must:
- be an ‘eligible deferee’ by having been offered a place in the Centre’s PLT and;
- demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances (e.g. illness where a medical certificate states that the eligible deferee/trainee is unable to attend classes, family, travel, economic issues or other matters) and;
- submit a written Deferral Application to the Director PLT.
A Deferral Application must be in writing and addressed to the Director PLT. It may be emailed to: email@example.com. Applications will be considered by the Director PLT, who will respond promptly.
Applicants for Deferral should note that tuition fees may increase from year to year and they will be liable to pay the fee applicable at the time of enrolment.
Overseas Student deferrals (and suspension or cancellation of enrolments) are made in compliance with Standard 13 of the National Code 2007.
Transfer Prior to Completion
As the entire Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (Practical Legal Training) is a single unit Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) completed within twenty-one weeks (full time) plus professional placement, it is not possible to transfer into the PLT from another Registered Provider once the course has commenced. Nor is it possible to transfer out of the PLT with any relevant EFTSL completion before completion of the course.
The entire PLT comprises a single unit EFTSL because the PLT is a course that prepares law graduates for admission to the legal profession and eligibility for ‘admission’ is an indissoluble concept. A lawyer is either admitted to the legal profession or not based on their satisfactory completion of the entire complement of Practical Legal Training under the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015.
Living Allowances (Austudy and Youth): the PLT is a full-time course
Commonwealth tertiary education assistance in the form of payment of means-tested living allowances is normally available to full time PLT students on the same basis as to undergraduates.
Part-Time Work or Study
Other study or work is ok, as long as it does not interfere with the recommended time commitment for each PLT course. See Course Structure for more details.
Please contact the Director PLT to discuss any concerns you may have.
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