- How do I apply
- Selection Criteria and Procedures
- Failed university subjects
- Length of course
- Difference between Onsite and Online
- Can course be done part-time
- Course involvement
- How we are different
- Employment or study during course
- Compulsory attendance
- Professional placement
- At the end of the course
- Job after course
- Employer sponsorship
Please click on the following link:
Yes. The Online PTC is offered part time with one intake in January each year. The Online Part Time consists of 42 weeks formal training and three weeks of Professional Placement. Applicants must provide written reasons why their circumstances (family, work, health etc) are particularly suited to part time online training.
Yes. FEE-HELP is available for both the Onsite and Online Course.
The Leo Cussen Practical Training Course trains law graduates to reach the competence level in a wide range of legal practice areas required of a first year lawyer. You will leave Leo Cussen with the skills and experience to enter legal practice and to confidently represent your clients.
In the Onsite PTC you must attend each week day during business hours. The Online PTC is also full-time and you must commit a minimum of 25 hours work each week plus 16 days onsite. See Course Structure.
The PTC emulates legal practice. When attending, you are expected to wear professional dress and conduct yourself in a way consistent with the obligations of legal professional conduct.
During the PTC you:
- receive instruction in a range of legal practice topic areas from our staff and visiting expert legal practitioners
- practise the skills required to put the instruction into practice by completing focused exercises
- conduct files (our Current Matter program) requiring you to use your skills in representing clients. You must conduct these transaction and litigation files in the same way as real life matters, including settlements and advocacy
- work in a small group of 14 – 28 students assigned to a Mentor who is a member of our staff and an experienced legal practitioner.
Among other activities, you will set up a ‘legal practice’, run a trust account (which is audited), interview clients, negotiate transactions, conduct settlements in property and commercial matters, do bail applications, do applications for divorce, appear in civil and criminal matters and draft wills. You will do all this in a simulated legal practice environment under the supervision of experienced and expert practitioners. For more details please see Course Features.
Intensive and Challenging
Mostly Guided Training
Strategically Designed Current Matters
Risk Managing You
Our Experience in Victoria
Small Group Training
We cannot speak for other Practical Legal Training Courses. However, we can assert the following facts and you will have to make your own comparisons and draw your own conclusions.
The PTC has a longstanding reputation within the profession. Many legal practitioners and employers are impressed by the levels of competence typically demonstrated by Leo Cussen graduates. We cannot guarantee you will be employed in your dream job upon graduation but we can say with confidence that many legal employers will look kindly on your standard of training.
The PTC is intensive and challenging, with a shorter period than some other Practical Legal Training Courses. Therefore your path to admission to practice may be shorter by a number of weeks with Leo Cussen.
The greater part of the PTC (21 weeks) is programmed and intensive training. Although we see our three-week professional placement as important for developing the PTC Trainee’s Work Management and Business Skills, our overriding concern is with quality assurance by ensuring that PTC Trainees are guided through tasks to maximise their learning. This is in contrast to Practical Training Courses that have longer periods of professional placement and therefore less quality assurance over the development of entry-level lawyers. Of course, there are no doubt other positives in longer periods of placement but our paramount concern is assuring the quality of lawyers entering the profession.
Over the period of the Course you run simulated files or Current Matters, formulated from actual practice but tailored to maximise your understanding and competence in the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers [67.2KB, PDF].
You are assigned a Mentor who actively oversees your progress in Current Matters and supports your development as a lawyer.
Running simulated files (the Course has a simulated Court Registry and Leo Bank) helps you to risk manage your introduction to legal practice within a safe environment while engaging with the realities of practice.
We have tried-and-tested quality assurance systems and proven learning strategies based on our 35 years of experience of practical legal training. Your skills as a lawyer-to-be are developed as we strategically introduce you to different skills and practice areas so as to maximise your skill development.
In the PTC our training goes beyond the minimum requirements of the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers [67.2KB, PDF] so that you are well equipped with knowledge, skills and confidence to exercise choice as you enter the legal profession.
Throughout the Course you participate in small-group training and seminars. A diverse range of leading professionals visit Leo Cussen to instruct in their areas of practice and skills. If you undertake the PTC Online, then you complete a substantial part of this topic work via the online learning environment. The online learning environment is monitored by experienced onsite legal practitioners.
This may not be an area exclusive to Leo Cussen, nor is this any form of guarantee, but we do know that our graduates form friendships with colleagues that endure for their whole working lives. We provide a challenging course in a supportive and friendly environment.
At present there is no other practical training course in Victoria (and few nationally) that delivers the whole of coursework face to face. Having PTC Trainees onsite is clearly a significant strength for the purposes of guidance, maximising learning, quality assurance and communication between PTC Trainees and PTC staff. Onsite PTC Trainees are assigned their own workspace at the Centre for the duration of the course. The Onsite PTC also includes Integrated Clinical Experience with Victoria Legal Aid, which provides an additional opportunity for you to have some real-life client contact and to practise your interviewing skills. The number of visiting instructors you will come in contact with is larger in the Onsite PTC than in the Online PTC but the convenience of the online environment may appeal to your particular circumstances. Similarly, professional placement is arranged by us for Onsite PTC Trainees (directly after coursework) where as Online PTC Trainees prefer the autonomy of arranging professional placement for themselves because they can schedule the placement to suit their other commitments. The Onsite PTC has further optional topics such as Duty Lawyer and Optional Advocacy. These are often taken by Trainees intending to go to the Bar to practise as a Barrister or by other interested Trainees.
The Online PTC is suitable for law graduates with other commitments during typical business hours. Of course, there are other practical legal training providers that offer this mode of delivery. Our Online PTC has 16 face-to-face contact days and intensives. Online PTC Trainees conduct simulated files with the same parity of workload as Onsite PTC Trainees. Online PTC files are largely conducted via guided one-to-one online contact with Mentors, except when attending hearings, settlements, interviews, signings and other activities that are scheduled for the contact days and intensives. Optional Advocacy may be available to Online PTC Trainees who are able to attend onsite at the required times. Optional Advocacy is often taken by Trainees intending to go to the Bar to practise as a Barrister or by other interested Trainees. So if you are seeking a challenging course with significant strengths that still enables you to manage your other commitments, then please consider the Online PTC.
In summary, the PTC (Onsite and Online):
- has an enduring reputation
- is intensive and challenging
- is mostly guided training
- has a strategically designed Current Matter program
- has Mentors who guide you
- is safe training in the realities of practice
- maximises your skill development
- is comprehensive
- has small-group training with a diverse range of leading professional lawyers instructing you
- facilitates lifelong friendships in the legal profession
- has particular delivery strengths: whichever you choose (Onsite PTC or Online PTC).
No, there are no exams in the Practical Training Course!
Tasks and exercises emulate actual workplace practice. Our Current Matter file program covers all aspects of legal practice, including office management, trust account requirements, ethical conduct, costing and communication skills. Experienced legal practitioners progressively give feedback, support, assistance and assessment. Mentors also assess your running of simulated files, providing feedback and support at every step of the Current Matter process, allowing you to develop as practitioners in a risk-free and supportive environment. Mentors give considerable time, effort and attention to ensure you are adequately prepared to practise law efficiently and ethically in the interests of your clients.
Assessment is based on the National Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers [67.2KB, PDF].
The Onsite Practical Training Course is a full-time Course requiring you to attend at Leo Cussen each week day during business hours. Part-time work or study must not interfere with your full-time attendance or the standard of your work. If you have any concerns, then please discuss them with the Director Practical Training.
If you are enrolled in the Online PTC, then you may work full-time or part-time. However, the Online PTC is a full-time course requiring a minimum of 25 hours work from you each week plus 16 days onsite. We encourage you to discuss your work commitments with us before enrolling in the Online PTC.
Attendance requirements depend on whether you are enrolled in the Onsite or Online PTC.
In the Onsite PTC, attendance is full time, Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm and is compulsory. You sign in each morning and must have permission to leave early. The PTC operates like a workplace. You must apply to the Director for leave and explain why you wish to take the leave. We understand that special circumstances arise occasionally and that people become ill. If this happens then you must ring the PTC office and, on your return, present a medical certificate or other explanation. Attendance in the Onsite PTC is monitored. In the Online PTC you must attend all onsite intensives and contact days. Otherwise you will work in your own time offsite.
Onsite PTC trainees receive the handbook, diary and timetable at the enrolment session in the week before the Course begins. The handbook and timetable is made available to Online PTC trainees once they make final payment of tuition fees and receive their login to the learning portal.
Each PTC Trainee must undertake a three-week professional placement.
In the Onsite PTC the professional placement takes place after you have completed the formal PTC work and is arranged by us. We invite you to nominate an area of interest and we make every endeavour to find you a placement in that area. However, we cannot guarantee your first preference and allocation of places is in the discretion of the Director PTC.
In the Online PTC you must arrange the placement and it must be approved by the Director PTC. The placement can be at the same time as, or after, you participate in the formal PTC work. However, we limit the time within which the placement may be completed. We do not offer to arrange professional placement for Online PTC because most Onliners prefer being able to schedule placement with reference to their other commitments.
Admission to the Legal Profession
You graduate from the Practical Training Course with a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
Provided you have completed all other academic requirements, you are then eligible to apply for admission to the legal profession as an Australian Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Victoria. If you wish to work in legal practice as a lawyer, then you will need to apply for an Employee Practising Certificate from the Legal Services Board, Victoria. You must complete two years of ‘supervised practice’ as an employee legal practitioner before you are eligible for a full Practising Certificate.
For further information about admission to practice, please see the website of the Council of Legal Education/Board of Examiners.
Council of Legal Education/Board of Examiners:
Ground Floor, 451 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9604 2407
Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP)
The Leo Cussen Practical Training Course is approved and accredited by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) to offer a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP). This means that everyone successfully completing the Practical Training Course will receive a GDLP, together with a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion.
Going to the Bar to become a Barrister
If you wish to go to the Bar immediately after the PTC ends, then you will first have to undertake the Bar Readers’ Course. The Bar Readers’ Course runs twice each year in March and September and is a full-time 12-week course.
For further information, please contact the Victorian Bar: www.vicbar.com.au
We keep a register of graduates for the purposes of employment. We are frequently approached by firms or other organisations looking for a PTC graduate. Information about the position(s) is then circulated to the graduates on the Employment Register.
However, we do not function in the same way as an employment agency.
In some cases Employers who do not wish to employ an individual to do a Traineeship may wish to sponsor an individual to complete the PTC (Onsite or Online). The decision to sponsor is very much up to the particular firm or legal practice. Interested Employers should contact Judith Dickson, Director Practical Training:
Tel: (03) 9602 3111