Legal Internship

Subject LAWS40048 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Pre-Internship 'Getting Ready for Work' session - 1 day.
Total Time Commitment:

178 hours (being 4 weeks internship plus research and writing).


Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory.

It is a prerequisite for enrolment in this subject that students be offered a place in an approved internship of a minimum of four weeks full-time. Approval for a particular internship, which may be in Australia or overseas, and which must involve substantive legal work, is required in writing from the subject coordinator.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:

The Melbourne Law School recognises that many of its students take the opportunity to engage in significant and exciting law-related work during their time at the Law School.

Legal Internship allows students to gain credit for research arising out of their work in an approved internship of at least four weeks of full-time work in an approved organisation. Students gain credit for a substantial research essay involving critical legal research and analysis on a topic developed by the student during or after their approved internship.

Examples of approved internship organisations include international organisations, government departments, non-government organisations, and law reform bodies. The internship must involve substantive legal work. The student must organise, prior to obtaining approval from the Coordinator and formal enrolment in the subject, an academic staff member from the Law School to act as supervisor for the writing of the substantial research paper which forms the basis of assessment in the subject. Students may choose to combine Legal Internship with Advanced Legal Research, with approval of the coordinators of both subjects and their supervisor.

Students are encouraged to attend an optional post internship debriefing session that provides a structure for reflection on, and learning from, the internship experience itself.


The aim of Legal Internship is to encourage and to recognise the initiative of students in obtaining for themselves an approved internship and to provide academic credit for self-directed legal research carried out under academic supervision.

Students who complete Legal Internship should have:

  • Strengthened their ability and self-confidence in legal work, derived from their real-life experience doing challenging work in an approved internship organisation;
  • An enhanced knowledge of a particular legal area relevant to the internship;
  • The ability to develop, scope and write a substantial and thoughtful research essay on a topic chosen by themselves;
  • Increased capacity to participate in constructive public discussion about law and policy and to speak out against prejudice, injustice and the abuse of power; and
  • A range of new opportunities and contacts through doing an internship in a field in which they are interested.
  • Pre Internship ‘Getting Ready for Work’ (Internship) session - 1 day session (hurdle);
  • 5,000 words of legal research; max of 2 pieces of assessment; weighting to be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the student; due 2 months after the completion of the internship (100%);
  • Post internship report, approx 500 words, due 2 weeks after completion of internship – to be submitted to Student Centre (hurdle).

The assessed work may take a variety of forms (including substantial research memoranda or advice, briefs or written submissions, legal policy advocacy, and research essays). It may include work carried out during the internship (subject to agreement with the host organisation) or after the internship but directly connected with the internship.

Prescribed Texts:


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:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • The ability to engage with and solve real-life legal issues and problems in an intense and unfamiliar environment;
  • Academic legal writing skills.

Students must submit a 5,000 word research essay in this subject for it to be regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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