Balancing academic theory with practice

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Nina Holmes is a final year LLB (Hons) Legal Practice (Exempting) student and tells us about her time at USW...

The LLB (Hons) Legal Practice Exempting course balances academic theory with practice, combining a qualifying law degree with the Legal Practice Course (LPC). The course appealed to me as it allows you to condense four years of study into three. 

During the first year there is an emphasis on the foundations of law. The second year is all about developing your legal knowledge. In the final year, the focus shifts to you putting what you’ve learnt into practice. You get to see how the course content is relevant to the real world, through in-class case studies and by meeting with clients at the University’s Legal Clinic.

At the Legal Clinic, you are able to work on as many cases as you want. I’ve met with clients under the supervision of academic staff, covering areas of law that include family, employment, and probate. It’s been a fantastic opportunity, to apply the skills I developed through the course and to learn from the professional staff working there. I’ve been able to develop my research skills and have made use of the West Law and Lexis Nexis systems. I’ve also enhanced my soft skills when undertaking tasks such as writing letters to clients.

Confidence was something I lacked when I first met with clients. The more experience I’ve had, the more my confidence has grown. I’m now at a point where I could enter the workplace, feeling reassured that I am more than capable of picking up a case - even in an area of law that I’m not as familiar with. Developing this confidence will stand me in good stead when I’m looking to secure a training contract. The experience I’ve had working at the clinic has given me something to draw upon during interviews, which will help distinguish me from others at an interview.

The course has helped me to explore the many areas of law and has allowed me to get as much experience as possible. The course offers more than a traditional LLB (Hons) Law. It can be a challenge juggling assignments with working in the legal clinic and managing other commitments, but the knowledge and experience you gain is invaluable. Even though graduation is right round the corner, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.