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 Law Society of South Australia and the University of Adelaide immerses students in real-life legal settings, enabling them to enter the market as competitive graduates. For domestic students, this is a Commonwealth supported course. 

Nadeesha Indigahawela - Current GDLP Student


Listen to what our teachers have to say about the Program

Fidelis McGarrigan

Marita Pangallo

Complete your GDLP in as little as 15 to 20 weeks! 

View GDLP Course Details

Draft Timetable for 2023

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.

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 six mandatory subjects covering a number of areas of law, as well as two electives of a student’s choice;
  2. Three weeks (105 hours) of legal placement which must be undertaken while enrolled in the GDLP;
  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 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
  • Work Experience Placement 

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.

Domestic students who satisfy the criteria may have access to Fee Help.

The fee for domestic students for 2021 is $9,920.00 Enrollment  You can enroll in the GDLP at the start of any academic month! 


You can complete your GDLP in as little as 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.

Courses are offered online in the evening, or you may attend in class weekdays or weekends and a typical full-time load only involves 16.5 days seminar times.  

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!


The 105-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 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 researchand
  • 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.

Early Commencement of Practical Legal Training

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 Statutory Declaration, is available here.

Prizes & Scholarships

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 Adelaide University 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 enquiries, please get in touch with the Law Society’s Desiree Holland or the Adelaide Law School’s Dr Anna Olijnyk

* Conditions apply

Contact the GDLP Team

Diane Van Bochove
Program Manager (GDLP)
(08) 8229 0266

Vanessa Cianfaglione
Program Officer (GDLP)
(08) 8229 0270

Georgia Thompson
Administration Assistant (GDLP and Projects)
(08) 8229 0200

For more information about the structure of the program

Ready to apply?

Apply now for the Adelaide GDLP:

Book an appointment to speak with the GDLP team

Please note, bookings are limited to Australian students/residents.
Your booking is automatically accepted. If you are unable to attend and need
to cancel please contact us as soon as possible

See Online Booking Page