Monash Law School’s practical legal experience
When you’re considering studying law, one of the things you’ll probably think about is the kind of practical experience your course will provide.
Monash Law School‘s Clinical Legal Education Program is designed for undergraduate and postgraduate law students seeking real-world experience as lawyers. This means you work with real clients on real cases, all while gaining course credit toward your degree.
Depending on your placement opportunity, you can work directly with clients, solicitors and other professional staff, gaining real-life experience and skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. You’ll gain practical skills in mediation, negotiation, collaboration and arbitration—all essential skills for your future. You will gain communication skills and emotional intelligence—essential for effectively attracting, representing and maintaining relationships with clients.
Ultimately, you will develop a profound understanding of your legal coursework material, the social dynamics of a legal workplace, the challenges faced within the legal sector and how the law serves the broader community.
Juris Doctor students can apply for their clinical legal education program in their second year. Offerings may vary by semester. You’ll manage between 10 to 12 client files over a 17- to 19-week period; the community legal centre becoming your defacto classroom for this period.
- Law Firms: Work with or within a boutique or well-established law firm, providing legal advice and assistance for their different legal practices (e.g., criminal law / human rights law / corporate governance law).
- In-House Legal: Work with or within an in-house legal team for one of Australia’s leading retail property groups, a budding start-up company, or an iconic Australian brand like Carlton & United Breweries (CUB).
- International / Human Rights: Provide legal advocacy for issues relating to human rights, modern slavery, and the death penalty.
- Courts: Work with judges and other judicial staff members in the Supreme Court of Victoria or County Court of Victoria on legal research, preparing case summaries and drafting speeches.
- Community Legal Centres: Provide legal advice (under the supervision of a qualified lawyer) to vulnerable members of the community who are without access to legal aid.
- Government / Governance: Work with key government organizations such as the Australian Law Reform Commission, Victorian Ombudsman, and Public Transport Ombudsman.
- Other: You also have the opportunity to work with the Innovations / Start Up Clinic, Climate Justice Clinic or a self-sourced placement.
Why is Clinical Legal Education Important?
Clinical legal education is instrumental in developing a law student’s confidence and skills. The benefits this type of education will provide is threefold:
First, this hands-on experience within the legal system helps you to better understand concepts discussed in the classroom as you are able to apply theoretical knowledge under the guidance of a qualified lawyer (your supervisor).
Second, exposure to a variety of legal environments will help you decide which field of law you’re most interested in, and will give you the professional networks and support to pursue this chosen field of law.
Third, and at the heart of this program, is the people you will meet; the relationships you will develop with your fellow students, supervisors and clients. Your contributions may have lasting effects on the area of law in which you’re involved in, the lives of individual clients, and the wider community.
Monash’s Clinical Guarantee
Monash Law School offers a guaranteed clinical education experience for all students who wish to incorporate a practical component credited towards their Monash Law degree. And Monash is the first law school in Australia to offer a guarantee like this for their students, reflecting their belief in the transformative effect of experiential education.
- Improved graduate employability driven by the skills and knowledge gained through participation
- Providing all students, regardless of social or economic background, with pathways into the legal profession.
- Increase connection points and enhanced opportunities
- Build professional networks.
- A deeper understanding and appreciation of the law and its application in the community, government and commercial world
- Potential to be involved in meaningful and high-profile law reforms.
About the Monash Juris Doctor
Monash offers high-quality teaching by leading academics and practitioners who are experts in the teaching of law and legal practice. Additionally, the JD program offers an interactive learning environment, small class sizes and innovative teaching.
The Monash JD program is unique as it allows you to undertake up to six elective units from the extensive Monash Law master’s program once the compulsory units have been completed. This allows you to tailor your degree and choose units that complement your interests and professional aspirations while ensuring you graduate as a well-rounded professional with the core skills required to follow a wide range of legal and professional career paths.
Program: Juris Doctor (JD)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intakes: January, May, August
Duration: 3 years (accelerated option 2.5 years)
Application deadline: Applications are generally assessed on a rolling admissions basis. The sooner you apply the better.