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 for students who are studying a single or double degree in Law. The unit gives students the opportunity to gain experience in a legal environment for academic credit. Students may undertake internships in either a full or part-time capacity depending on individual 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 oral and written communication skills and to encourage reflective practice.
The major activity in the Legal Internships unit is for students 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 the student has worked during the placement is to be completed and signed by the student and counter-signed by the student’s supervisor at the end of the placement.
Students are required to attend an induction session delivered by Curtin Law School staff prior to the start of their placement.
The unit includes 3 assessments components:
- Reflection journal: to be completed by the student 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 the student’s host organisation, and which has been approved by the student’s supervisor. This is coupled with an oral presentation of around 10-15 minutes, during which the student is required to present their key findings from the written research paper and respond to questions from their supervisor and/or their host organisation;
- Student evaluation form: to be completed by the student’s supervisor at the end of the placement (this includes, among other things, a request for feedback in relation to the student’s written research paper and oral presentation referred to above).
The Legal Internship unit is a PASS/FAIL unit.
How it works
Bring Your Own Internship (BYO)
Students are encouraged to find their own placement. We have created a template letter which may be used to contact organisations outlining all of the necessary information regarding the program. A list of Western Australian law firms can be found here. Once you have secured a placement please complete an application form and forward to the Legal Internship team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curtin Law School Facilitated Placements
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.
Students are covered by the university’s work experience insurance arrangements on the basis that they are not being paid during their placements.
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 (EOI) form and email to email@example.com along with a copy of your CV (no more than two A4 pages). Places are limited so we encourage students to apply well ahead of the study period in which they would like to undertake the placement.
Not-For-Degree Internships – Co-curricular (UniHub)
In addition to the LAWS2011 Legal Internship and the LAWS3005 Legal Clinic units (for credit), students may also undertake co-curricular unpaid placements (not for credit). Curtin University provides free insurance coverage for students undertaking work experience outside their study program. To be eligible for this insurance coverage:
- students 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 a student’s PLT work experience hours as explained below further).
This option is open to all students but may also be used to access Curtin Law School facilitated placements if students 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 please contact Legal.email@example.com.
Credit towards Practical Legal Training work experience requirements
It is possible for a student’s legal internship placement hours to be credited towards their PLT work experience hours, provided that the placement meets all of the other PLT work experience requirements.
A full list of those requirements can be found at:
- to comply with the WA PLT work experience requirements, the student’s supervisor must hold an unrestricted Australian practising certificate;
- 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; and
- the student’s internship placement must be undertaken within 2 years of starting (or finishing) PLT coursework.
Already working in a legal environment?
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 Legal.firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your individual circumstances.
Typically to be eligible to enrol in LAWS2011, students will need to:
- have completed 200 credits or more (students with less than 200 credits may be considered);
- be enrolled as a Curtin LLB student (including double degree LLB students); and
- be on good Academic Standing.
Students wishing to undertake Curtin Law School’s facilitated placements 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 Wednesday 25 August, 2021
- Induction Session – TBA
How to Apply
Students who have arranged their own internship please email your application to email@example.com
Students wishing to undertake a Curtin Law School facilitated internship should complete an Expression of Interest Form (EOI) and email to Legal.firstname.lastname@example.org along with a copy of their CV.
Further information regarding internship placements and co-curricular Legal Workplace Experience opportunities at Curtin Law School can be found here.