Engagement with the School of Law

Want to get involved with Western Sydney University Law School? Here are some opportunities for employers and organisations to engage with us.

Pro- Bono Opportunities through the Western Sydney University Justice Clinic

What does the Justice Clinic do?

The Western Sydney University Justice Clinic responds to, and contributes to, identified law reform and access to justice issues, especially those relevant to the Western Sydney community. The Student Legal Service also operates through the Justice Clinic and provides free legal assistance to students at Western Sydney University.

Law students work and study in the Justice Clinic under the supervision of the Director of Clinical Legal Education, School of Law and the Principal Solicitor / Clinical Supervisor. They learn law while practising law, and critically reflect on the role of the law and of lawyers in advancing justice. They gain academic credit for the subject they are completing while at the Clinic.

Justice Clinic work includes:

  • Working on advice, casework, policy development, submissions and/or research and reporting in substantive law reform or access to justice projects in collaborations with community stakeholders and partners; and
  • Participating in client instruction and advice appointments.

The increased profile of the Western Sydney University Justice Clinic has led to members of the GWS community asking for free legal support which, at the moment, the Clinic does not have the capacity to provide. The Clinic is seeking help from law firms in the GWS area to whom we can refer community members and / or students needing pro bono legal assistance.

If you would be interested in participating in this scheme, please contact Jenni Whelan, Director of Clinical Legal Education at j.whelan@westernsydney.edu.au.

Internships

Internships are unpaid, short term placements that allow students who are close to the end of their law degree to experience practical legal work. Only students undertaking the Legal Internship Unit with the School of Law currently participate in the internship program, and receive academic credit towards their law studies, and Practical Legal Training (PLT) credit, where eligible.

There are many benefits to organisations taking on a legal student intern. Enthusiastic and talented students provide extra assistance to complete new and existing projects. You can develop the leadership skills of your staff, while nurturing the next generation of lawyers, by mentoring students. Internship partnerships with the Law School also develop direct links for future projects, partnerships and opportunities. And you have an opportunity to see potential employees in action.

Internships are invaluable for students. Our students are among the most diverse across Australia. 64% of them are first in family to go to University, and 45% speak a language other than English at home. Internships give students valuable professional skills, connections with other lawyers, access to mentors, a deep understanding of law in practice and its challenges, and supervised practical work experience.

We really are committed to changing our legal profession from the inside and hope you will also contribute to that through our internship program.

The Law School has developed simple processes to make taking on interns easy:

  • A brief internship manual for the student supervisor in your organisation with information about effectively mentoring student legal interns and ‘pre-start’, ‘during’, and ‘post internship’ checklists
  • A Law School point of contact for the student supervisor in your organisation
  • A standard form Student Placement Agreement that outlines our mutual rights and obligations (including Work Health and Safety, Insurances and indemnities, Confidentiality and personal Information). The Student Placement Agreement can be entered into for up to 5 years. You have no obligation to take on future students but you can elect to for the life of the agreement, thus minimising the paperwork for subsequent placements.

If you are interested in participating in the internship program, please contact Jenni Whelan, Director of Clinical Legal Education at j.whelan@westernsydney.edu.au.

Cadetships

The Law School currently partners with Coleman Greig in a paid cadetship system. The students are recruited in their first year of study and remain employed by Coleman Greig throughout their degree. This is an elite program and attracts the Law School’s best and brightest students. We are keen to develop other cadetship opportunities for our students.

A cadetship program particularly benefits employers in the Greater Western Sydney area, because it attracts high achieving students who are likely to want to remain living and working in the area once they graduate. It provides employers with the opportunity to screen these potential lawyers, right from their first year of study: to see how they operate in the ‘real world’, before they are offered a job as a graduate lawyer.

If you are interested in developing a program such as this, please contact Sandy Noakes, Director of Academic Program, First Year Law at s.noakes@westernsydney.edu.au