Practising Law Workshop

Subject LAWS40089 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 56 hours.
Total Time Commitment: 90 hours.
Prerequisites: Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Dispute Resolution; Obligations; Contracts; Constitutional Law; Administrative Law; Property; Trusts; Criminal Law and Procedure; Legal Ethics; Evidence and Proof; or in each case their equivalents.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: Remedies; Corporations Law; or equivalents, are desirable.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

You have nearly finished your degree. You know what the law is, but do you know how to be a lawyer?

This intensive workshop will introduce students to some of the theoretical considerations related to the practice of law, as well as some of the practical skills required of legal practitioners. Instruction and demonstrations will be provided by a range of experts, including practitioners from a variety of employment settings. The workshop will be largely interactive, with students being given the opportunity to participate in a series of simulated exercises, allowing them to put their learned skills into action.

The workshop will cover the types of tasks and issues commonly encountered by junior practitioners, such as:

  • Legal research (particularly how to undertake research to solve client concerns, which may cut across a number of substantive law areas);
  • Interviewing clients;
  • Written communications of different types (letters of advice, correspondence with opposing solicitors, briefing counsel and instructing expert witnesses);
  • Drafting pleadings and other court documents, such as witness statements;
  • Negotiation;
  • Oral advocacy, with a focus on pre-trial appearances in civil and criminal matters;
  • Ethics in legal practice; and
  • The challenges of practice in a variety of work environments.

Note: This subject is available to students in the final year of their LLB degree only.


On completion of this subject, students should:

  • Understand the importance of plain English communication;
  • Be able to communicate appropriately with clients from a variety of different backgrounds;
  • Understand the importance of developing a relationship with clients;
  • Demonstrate active listening and questioning skills to achieve an accurate understanding of information provided by clients;
  • Understand how to approach legal research in order to provide clients with advice;
  • Understand the processes to go through in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of clients’ cases;
  • Be able to develop and present well-structured, well-researched and well-reasoned letters of advice, that are appropriate to clients’ needs;
  • Understand the rules, etiquette and ethics that apply to correspondence with other solicitors;
  • Understand the importance of the content of letters of instruction;
  • Be able to prepare pleadings;
  • Understand the witness interviewing process;
  • Be able to prepare witness statements;
  • Understand how to use pleadings as a form of negotiation;
  • Understand the skills and attributes of an effective advocate;
  • Understand the importance of court etiquette;
  • Be able to present a coherent and persuasive pre-trial oral submission based on relevant facts, evidence and law;
  • Understand the challenges that legal practitioners working in a variety of environments face.
  • Attendance at 80% of the intensive workshop (hurdle);
  • 1,000-word written assignment, drafting a letter of advice, due one week after the completion of the workshop (20%);
  • 1,000-word written assignment, drafting of a witness statement, due one week after the completion of the workshop (20%);
  • Participation in a 30-minute mock client interview (20%);
  • Participation in a 1-hour mock pre-trial hearing (20%);
  • 1,500-word reflective essay, due two weeks after the completion of the workshop (20%).
Prescribed Texts: Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Advanced written communication;
  • Advanced oral communication;
  • Advanced cognitive, analytic and problem-solving abilities;
  • Ability to synthesise and summarise complex facts and legal principles;
  • Ability to participate effectively as a member of a team;
  • Planning and time management;
  • Ability to provide and receive constructive feedback;
  • Ability and self-confidence to undertake common legal tasks.
Notes: This subject has a quota of 30. Please contact the Law Student Centre for enrolment information.

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