gavel and law book

Becoming A Solicitor To Practice Family Law In Sydney

Practicing family law in Sydney can be a very rewarding and appealing career. They are involved within the Australian legal system providing professional advice, assistance and support in relation to separation, divorce, adoption, child support, property and financial settlements. In addition to this, solicitors practicing family law in Sydney will also give advice on situations involving alternative dispute resolutions, considerations prior to separating or prior to entering a relationship, as well as financial agreements to do with prenuptials and superannuation splitting.

But with such an interesting and diverse range of legal topics, how does one get into this career?

Here are the steps that need to be taken to practice family law in Sydney.

Complete an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in and/or a postgraduate degree

The very first step is to go to university and complete a relevant Bachelor’s degree, and either opt to continue in a postgraduate degree or stop there. Each degree takes around 3-4 years to complete, depending on how many units you take per semester. It is important to enter a credible university, so as to look good on your resume. Furthermore, it is important to obtain high marks (GPA or WAM) in order to stand out from others wanting to practice family law in Sydney, as the field is very competitive.

Complete Practical Legal Training (PLT)

In Australia, Practical Legal Training (PLT) is required to be completed upon completion of your degree, in order to be eligible for admission to practice. PLT is a structured training program that teaches and develops the practical skills required to practice in a day-to-day courtroom. PLT involves many topics of study; including problem-solving, work management and business skills, civil litigation practice, commercial and corporate practice, as well as two electives of specialized practice. PLT takes approximately 3 months to complete full time, and 8 months part-time.

Apply for admission

To be admitted to practice family law in Sydney, you must apply to the Legal Profession Admission Board for a compliance certificate. In this application, you will be asked for academic prerequisites, PLT prerequisites, national police history check and character references to show good character standing. If all these are accepted and you are admitted, you will be asked to attend a ceremony in which you take an oath and an affirmation before the court, and sign the Supreme Court roll.

Apply for practicing certificate

To practice family law in Sydney, you must apply for a practicing certificate with the Law Society of NSW. You must complete the Application form for Grant of an Australian practicing Certificate as a Solicitor. The questions on the form are to be completed, as well as the fees included to be paid. The application and paid fees are to be paid to the Law Society Registry.

Complete experience and supervised practice at a firm

Couple signing their divorce papers

This is not required; however, it is a good idea to complete around 18 to 24 months of supervised practice at an established firm. In doing so, it gives you good experience in the field and also looks very good on a resume. Furthermore, it can create connections and open opportunities for you in practicing family law in Sydney. Once this is complete, and you are a practicing solicitor, you may choose to specialize in family law in Sydney.

Overall, it can be a long and arduous process to become a solicitor specializing in family law in Sydney, however, most that have the commitment to complete the studies and the process that comes with it to become certified will find that the career that follows is very rewarding.