Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP)

A partnership between one of Australia’s oldest Law Schools and the voice of the South Australian Legal Profession gives graduates a unique opportunity to gain practical experience before seeking admission.

The Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, offered by the University of Adelaide and the Law Society of South Australia immerses students in real-life legal settings, enabling them to enter the market as competitive graduates.



 “The Law Society of South Australia offers a number of unique benefits to its GDLP students. First, and I believe most importantly, is having face-to-face contact. As many of the seminars are taught by current legal practitioners, it is an invaluable opportunity to network with them, and learn about the practical aspects of the profession.”

2019 GDLP Graduate - Brittany Farinola

What is Practical Legal Training?

Practical Legal Training (PLT) is the necessary step between your law degree and your admission to practice in South Australia. It is a requirement that helps you transition from Law School to real-life legal practice, helping you develop the necessary skills to enter the profession.   The Law Society SA / Adelaide University is a recognised provider of PLT.

Why Study with us?
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Flexibility

You can complete your GDLP in as little as 15-20 weeks and we can develop a timetable that works for you. There is also no set order by which to study the GDLP – it is a matter of tailoring your study to suit you best.

Courses are offered over weekdays, evenings and weekends and a typical full-time load only involves 16.5 days seminar time.

You can also enrol into the GDLP at any time and can commence with an elective or core subject.

Placement Opportunities

We are the only GDLP provider who will assist you in securing a work experience placement. The Law Society has a wide range of firms who exclusively take on our students for PLT placements. Once you are placed, the placement handbook ensures you are kept busy for the duration of the placement and walk away from it with a range of new skills.

Experience and Networking Opportunities

The GDLP provides you with direct access to the profession. Our courses put you in direct contact with legal professionals, as well as a range of other recent graduates, enabling you to build your network of contacts and work collaboratively with others.

The courses provide an experience that goes beyond the typical lecture/tutorial study, providing you with a realistic sense of what it is like to practice law in South Australia. As part of Lawyer’s Skills you will have the opportunity to develop your advocacy skills with judicial officers, senior practitioners and barristers inside an actual court!

What is the Structure of the GDLP?

Students completing the GDLP with the Law Society of South Australia and the University of Adelaide will cover three distinct components:

  1. The completion of five mandatory subjects covering a number of areas of law, as well as two electives of a student’s choice;
  2. Six weeks of legal practice (225 hours) at an approved organisation, with the opportunity to claim recent work experience;
  3. The accrual of five Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

The three components can be completed in any order and over a period as little as 15 - 20 weeks. You can, subject to conditions and approval, study the GDLP concurrently with your LLB. 

What subjects can I study?

The wide range of courses draw on experts from many areas of the South Australian legal profession to tutor students in their areas of expertise. This direct access allows you to network with barristers, solicitors and other legal experts from various backgrounds, who offer real-life perspectives on legal practice.

 Mandatory Subjects:
  • Lawyer’s Skills
  • Civil Litigation and Practice
  • Commercial and Corporate Law Practice
  • Property Law Practice
  • Professional Obligations
 Elective Subjects:
  • Criminal Law Practice
  • Family Law Practice
  • Employment and Industrial Relations
  • Planning and Environmental Law Practice
  • Wills and Estates Practice
  • Administrative Law Practice (Online)
  • Consumer Law (Online)
  • Banking and Finance (Online)


The mandatory subjects accommodate the essential skills you will need as you enter the profession, and the elective subjects allow you to study two topics of your choice. The assessment items often replicate the realistic tasks of a solicitor practicing in that area, and are marked on a competent/not competent basis.

Read more about the subjects by clicking the button below or watching the short introductory video below:


View GDLP Course Details

 


Placement

The 225-hour work experience placement puts you in actual legal setting, allowing you to apply the skills you have developed during your study to practical situations. For many students, it is the first practical experience they have and can be very influential in developing their careers.

During your placement, you will keep track of your progress in a handbook, completing a number of tasks that may include:

  • Drafting legal documents
  • Accompanying solicitors or barristers to court
  • Drafting letters
  • Observing client interviews

You can complete your placement on a flexible basis and can, subject to conditions and approval, claim credit for recent work experience. You can claim up to:

  • 75 hours for clinical legal experience; or
  • 112.5 hours of retrospective legal experience within two years of commencing the GDLP.

You will also have the option to either find your own placement or ask the Law Society to assist you in securing a placement.

CPD Points

You will also accrue five Continuing Professional Development (CPD) units as part of your GDLP program.

The GDLP program ensures all students receive five CPD units:

  • Four CPD units - practical legal research; and
  • One unit for a well-being survey completed as part of the mandatory course, Professional Obligations.

Those who join the Law Society as a Student Associate can sign up for additional CPD events at the Law Society free of charge.

The Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (LPEAC) requires that students complete their academic qualifications for admission prior to commencing PLT.

Students who want to commence PLT before completion of their academic requirements for admission must apply to the Board of Examiners for exemption prior to enrolling in a PLT course.

The Guide to making an application for exemption to the Board of Examiners is available here, and a template affidavit, is available here.

The Nyland and Caruso Prize for Meritorious Performance in the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice

The prize was established by donations from the Hon Margaret Nyland AM and 2016 Law Society President, Mr David Caruso.

The number and value of prizes awarded in any one year will be at the discretion of the selection panel.

    1. The prize shall be called "The Nyland and Caruso Prize for meritorious performance in the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice".
    2. The value of the prize per recipient will be no more than $1,500, there will be no more than 3 recipients in any year and the total value of the prizes will be no more than $1,500, or such other amount as the University shall determine.
    3. Any student wishing to be considered for the prize must be a graduate of the Adelaide Law School, be enrolled in at least 12 units of the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice in the year in whey they apply, have successfully completed the Foundations of the GDLP (or equivalent) and one other GDLP course and must not have previously been awarded this prize.
    4. Applicants must submit a written application demonstrating sufficient academic merit and one or more of the other selection criteria (refer point 6).
    5. The selection of successful candidate(s) will be at the absolute discretion of the selection panel.
    6. Particular regard will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial need, be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, be from a cultural background under-represented in the legal profession in South Australia, or have a disability.
    7. If there is no candidate of sufficient merit in any given year the prize will not be awarded. If there is more than one candidate of sufficient merit, multiple prizes may be awarded.
    8. The University may vary the rules from time to time in a manner consistent with the University's legal obligations and policies.

Read about the Prize on the University of Adelaide website.

The Law Society and The University of Adelaide are pleased to announce the continuation of their joint GDLP Indigenous Law Student Scholarship Program, after the success of the inaugural scholarship in 2016.

One Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander law student per year will have their mandatory practical legal training course program fully paid for as part of the scholarship.

The GDLP scholarship – a joint initiative between the Law Society and The University of Adelaide – is one of several programs the Law Society is involved in to promote reconciliation and a “fair go” for indigenous people. 

For inquiries, please get in touch with the Law Society’s Desiree Holland Desiree.Holland@lawsocietysa.asn.au or the Adelaide Law School’s Professor Alex Reilly alexander.reilly@adelaide.edu.au.

Contact the GDLP Team

Desiree Holland
Program Manager (GDLP)
(08) 8229 0267
gdlpenquiries@lawsocietysa.asn.au

Diane Van Bochove
Program Officer (GDLP)
(08) 8229 0266
gdlpenquiries@lawsocietysa.asn.au

Ready to apply?
Apply NOW for the Adelaide GDLP program via SATAC (using code 3GD087).
For sample course plans and enrolment enquiries contact lawenquiry@adelaide.edu.au  or go to the University Website.