Top 10 Questions about PLT we get from Law Grads. Answers you won’t find in a text book.
Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of law grads navigate their way to a legal career, so we know a thing or two about transitioning from uni student to a successful lawyer. We also know that the process can be a bit confusing and you may have some burning questions that you feel hesitant to ask.
Don’t worry, we’ve compiled some of the most common questions that students ask us, so you get the information and guidance you need to successfully launch your career.
1. What is PLT and is it compulsory?
Before becoming a qualified lawyer, graduates need to complete an important, compulsory step: Practical Legal Training (PLT). PLT is generally started after you’ve completed your degree. PLT is different from law school, as it focuses on the practical training of a lawyer, and at Leo Cussen, you’ll work in a simulated law firm environment. This is a safe way to learn so you enter the legal profession as a confident and capable lawyer.
2. What if I don’t know what area of law I want to specialise in?
It’s okay not to have a clear idea of the area of law you want to specialise in. Many law students and grads are unsure about their career path initially. Take your time to explore different areas of law through internships and networking. You don’t need to settle on a specialty as you complete PLT at Leo Cussen, you’ll get a chance to try different areas of law, including a ‘specialist rotation’ where you can choose two practice areas to specialise in. This will give you a feel for what it’s like to practice in that area.
3. Is it normal to feel overwhelmed by the workload of study and work?
Whether you’re studying or working or both, it can be demanding, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It’s important to manage your time effectively, seek help when needed and prioritise self-care to cope with challenges. Tara Stark, Lawyer and Mentor at Leo Cussen has extensive experience in the mental health sector. She gives some tips and inspiration for wellness in her article ‘Best of the Best Wellness Tips for Exams’
4. How important are grades in law school for my future legal career?
Grades can be important, but they are not the only determinant of your future legal career. Other factors such as practical skills, networking, internships and experience also play a significant role in your legal career. Non-legal skills and work experience can also be valuable. It’s important to strive to be the Whole Lawyer where you use other skills-sets such as character, adaptability and human skills.
5. What if I make mistakes or don’t do well during my PLT?
Mistakes are part of the learning process. It’s important to be resilient and not be too hard on yourself. Seek feedback, reflect on your mistakes and use them as opportunities to improve. The good news is that if you don’t get something right during the Leo Cussen PLT, you get a chance to resubmit, with lots of feedback and support to help you get it right the next time. So, it’s highly supportive and less stressful than you may think. You’ll also be guided by your Mentor who is an experienced lawyer and they’ll provide you with personalised coaching to help you develop your skills.
6. How do I balance PLT with work and life?
Balancing PLT with work and your personal life can be challenging. It’s important to prioritise self-care, have healthy relationships and set boundaries. Effective time management, organisation and communication skills are key to finding a balance that works for you. Look at the range of study modes offered and see what suits your learning style – blended, online or onsite, part-time or full-time. Choose what works best for you.
7. How can I handle ‘imposter syndrome’ as a law student/grad/junior lawyer?
Imposter syndrome – the feeling of inadequacy – is common among law students and grads. Remember that it’s normal to feel this way and you’re not alone. Be sure to acknowledge your achievements and remind yourself of your capabilities.
8. If I miss out on a graduate program in a major law firm, is my legal career over before it starts?
No, it’s not the end of your legal career at all. The legal profession offers many opportunities to succeed. In fact, the vast majority of employers don’t even offer graduate programs – so it is certainly not the only (or even the main) pathway to legal employment. You can work in smaller or mid-sized firms, not-for-profits, in-house or government agencies. Alternative paths offer benefits such as increased responsibility, personalised guidance, mentorship, flexibility in your work arrangements and opportunities for growth. By pursuing these pathways, you can gain valuable experience, develop more skills and have a successful and rewarding career.
9. Will I make a lot of money as a lawyer?
The legal profession often requires hard work and dedication, however it’s a great profession with many rewards and pathways. And yes, lawyers can earn a good income depending on factors such as the area of practice, the size of the firm and your level of experience.
10. If I have questions or need support before I start PLT, how do I get in touch?