Legal Internship Program
The Curtin Law School offers a Legal Internship Program, a professional skills unit within the Bachelor of Laws curriculum. This unit, LAWS2011, complements the Law School’s focus on integrating authentic professional practice experiences with higher education.
LAWS2011 is an optional unit if you are studying a single or double degree in Law. The unit provides the opportunity to gain experience in a legal environment for academic credit. You may undertake internships in either a full or part-time capacity depending on your circumstances. The duration of internship placements can range from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 20 days. The workplace experience is supplemented by an assessment program designed to build your oral and written communication skills and to encourage reflective practice.
You are covered by the university’s work experience insurance arrangements on the basis that you are not being paid during your placement.
The major activity in the Legal Internships unit is for you to spend one day per week (or equivalent in intensive mode) working under the supervision of an employer in a professional legal environment in the form of a placement. Placements are for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 days. A form containing a record of the hours that you have worked during the placement is to be completed and signed by you and counter-signed by your supervisor at the end of the placement.
You are required to attend an induction session delivered by Curtin Law School staff prior to the start of your placement.
The unit includes three assessment components:
- Reflection journal: to be completed by you and submitted to, and assessed by, the Unit Coordinator of the Legal Internships unit;
- Written research paper: of no more than 2,500 words (excluding footnotes) on a topic which is of interest to your host organisation, and which has been approved by your supervisor. This is coupled with an oral presentation of around 10-15 minutes, during which you are required to present your key findings from the written research paper and respond to questions from your supervisor and/or your host organisation;
- Student evaluation form: to be completed by your supervisor at the end of the placement (this includes, among other things, a request for feedback in relation to your written research paper and oral presentation referred to above).
The Legal Internship unit is a PASS/FAIL unit.
How it works
You are encouraged to find your own placement. We have created a template letter which may be used to contact organisations outlining all of the necessary information regarding the program. See a list of Western Australian law firms. Once you have secured a placement please submit an Expression of Interest form.
Curtin Law School is proud to have an ongoing relationship with the Magistrates Court, barristers, community legal centres, in-house legal teams and law firms and can usually place students with one of them. These are generally face-to-face placements but can be remote/online. For example, during the COVID-19 lockdown period, we placed students with the Pilbara Community Legal Service Inc, with the placements taking place online and under remote supervision.
If you would like to be considered for one of Curtin Law School’s facilitated placements, you must generally either have completed, or be concurrently enrolled in, the Legal Clinic (LAWS3005) unit. Please complete an Expression of Interest form. Places are limited so we encourage you to apply well ahead of the study period in which you would like to undertake the placement.
In addition to the LAWS2011 Legal Internship and the LAWS3005 Legal Clinic units (for credit), you may also undertake co-curricular unpaid placements (not for credit). Curtin provides free insurance coverage for students undertaking work experience outside their study program. To be eligible for this insurance coverage:
- you must be enrolled as a student at Curtin at the time of the placements;
- the placement must not exceed 150 hours (i.e. 20 days);
- the work experience must be unpaid; and
- the placement cannot be used for course credit or a course requirement for graduation (although it may be credited towards your PLT work experience hours as explained further below).
This option is open to all students but may also be used to access Curtin Law School facilitated placements if you have previously completed the Legal Clinic unit (LAWS3005). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
There are also two international legal internship programs with funded places and language and cultural immersion training as part of the program. These international internships take place in Jakarta, Indonesia (through ACICIS) and Beijing, China (as part of the New Colombo Plan). These international internships are under review due to the COVID19 travel restrictions and the ACICIS law professional practicum will be offered online in 2021. For further information on international opportunities contact email@example.com. Please note that you may not be able to enrol in, or receive credit for, these international legal internship placements as part of the Legal Internship Unit. They may also not count towards your PLT work experience hours.
It is possible for your legal internship placement hours to be credited towards your PLT work experience hours, provided that the placement meets all of the other Curtin PLT Work Experience Rules.
Some of the key requirements of the Curtin PLT Work Experience Rules are:
- your supervisor must hold a current unrestricted Australian practising certificate or fall within one of the other categories of the Curtin PLT Workplace Experience Rules;
- the work performed during the placement must be meaningful legal, or law-related, work that includes most or all of the following: (a) significant interaction with external or in-house clients; (b) drafting documents; (c) legal research; (d) using a file management system;
- the placement must be undertaken within 2 years of starting (or finishing) PLT coursework; and
- the placement must be undertaken on a minimum attendance pattern of either:
(i) 1 x 7 hour day per week; or
(ii) 2 x 4 hour days per week (excluding breaks).
If you are seeking to have your legal internship placement hours recognised by another PLT provider, you should contact the provider to determine whether such credit will be provided under that provider’s PLT work experience rules. Links to the national and WA PLT work experience requirements are included below:
If you are already working in a legal environment, you may be able to utilise your existing placement for your internship. However, you cannot be paid during the internship period. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your individual circumstances.
Typically to be eligible to enrol in LAWS2011, you will need to:
- have completed 200 credits or more (if you have less than 200 credits you may be considered);
- be enrolled as a Curtin LLB student (including double degree LLB students); and
- be on good Academic Standing.
If you wish to undertake Curtin Law School’s facilitated placements, you must generally also be enrolled in, or have completed, the Legal Clinic unit (LAWS3005).
Enrolment in LAWS2011 is subject to the approval of the Curtin Law School. You cannot enrol into the unit without an approved internship. We do not guarantee all internships will be approved. Each application is individually screened and assessed for suitability based on its own merits.
Wherever possible, internship placements should take place within existing trimester study periods (Trimester 1, Trimester 2 and Trimester 3). It is possible to undertake a placement outside these dates, however you will need to seek approval from the unit coordinator.
You must attend an induction day before the commencement of an approved internship placement.
Trimester 1 2021
- Submit ‘Expression of Interest’ & CV or BYO application by Wednesday 16 December 2020.
- Induction Session – TBA
Trimester 2, 2021
- Submit ‘Expression of Interest’ & CV or BYO application by Wednesday 28 April 2021.
- Induction Session – TBA
Trimester 3, 2021
- Submit ‘Expression of Interest’ & CV or BYO application by Friday 23 July 2021.
- Induction Session – Friday 10 September 2021
If you have arranged your own internship, please submit an Expression of Interest form.
If you wish to undertake a Curtin Law School facilitated internship, please submit an Expression of Interest form.
Download the FAQs [.PDF 200KB] for more information regarding internship placements and co-curricular Legal Workplace Experience opportunities at Curtin Law School.