Maybe you’re a top-notch debater. Maybe you’re interested in justice. Maybe you’re one of your favourite TV series is Suits. If so, you might be interested in studying a Bachelor of Laws at WSU!
With a Bachelor of Laws at WSU, you’ll be able to set foot in the legal world and practice law!
Want to know more? Just keep reading on.
What is a Bachelor of Laws at WSU?
A Bachelor of Laws at WSU provides you with professional accreditation in order to practice Law in New South Wales. Throughout the four years of the degree, students take subjects learning various fields of Law and they are also taught legal skills that are necessary for practicing legal advocacy, negotiation, research and legal drafting.
If you have just finished your HSC, and are therefore a current school leaver, a Bachelor of Laws at WSU must be studied as a double degree, which means you’ll actually be studying for five years. But, don’t fret — you’ll have many options when choosing the other degree, and these are:
- Bachelor of Business (Advanced Business Leadership)
- Bachelor of Information Systems
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Communication
- Bachelor of Construction Management Studies
- Bachelor of Criminal and Community Studies
- Bachelor of Criminology
- Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology
- Bachelor of International Studies
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Social Science
There is an option of undertaking an Honours program within the Bachelor of Laws. Luckily, this means that students won’t need to study the additional one year. Instead, after the five years of their study, they’ll also be awarded an Honours degree in Law!
For admission into the Honours program, you must have a minimum WAM of 65 or a minimum GPA of 5.5. Students must also complete the subject ‘Law Honours Dissertation’.
What are the career options after studying a Bachelor of Laws at WSU?
A Bachelor of Laws at WSU opens many career paths for a graduate since the degree refines a strong skill set that is versatile in many career areas. However, some career options relating to legal practice include:
- Corporate Legal advisor
- Human Rights Advocate
- Judge’s Associate
Core Units for this Degree
There are 16 core units for any Law degree in Australia which are called the ‘Priestley 11’. Different universities may have different names for these subjects, although they teach the same principles.
For a Bachelor of Laws at WSU, these subjects are named:
- Fundamentals of Australian Law
- Criminal Law
- Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics
- Legal Analysis and Critique
- Torts Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Government and Public Law
- Equity & Trusts
- Property Law
- Administrative Law
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Procedure and Evidence
- Civil Procedure and Arbitration
The core units cover the essential fields of Law, and therefore, each subject is quite different from each other. However, you can expect to go through lots of research, writing and even presentations in most subjects!
For example, Contracts focuses on the civil area of Law wherein students are taught what makes a legal binding contract and use problem-solving skills to advise on hypothetical situations. In Criminal Law, students learn about the principles that apply to the criminal justice system and similarly to Contracts, it focuses on legal problem-solving.
What are the Majors?
Typically, there are no majors in a Bachelor of Laws at WSU unless a student undertakes a Bachelor of Laws (Non-graduate entry). This non-graduate entry degree offers a major in Indigenous Australian Studies. However, this degree is not offered to current school leavers.
Is there built-in work experience?
There are no mandatory work experience subjects within a Bachelor of Laws at WSU. However, students can undertake an internship or placement for one of their LLB Alternate Units. This is under the subject ‘Judicial Internship’ or ‘Clinical Legal Placement’.
How to Get into a Bachelor of Laws at WSU
For people who have just finished their HSC, a Bachelor of Laws at WSU must be studied as a double degree.
The most common entry is through an eligible ATAR. All of the double degrees have a cut-off of 93 with the exception of the Bachelor of Business (Advanced Business Leadership)/Bachelor of Laws, which has a cut of 95.00.
Fortunately, when it comes to ATAR cut-offs and alternative pathways, WSU is forgiving!
You may be able to grab up to 10 bonus points if your ATAR does not meet the cut-off. If you live in Western Sydney, WSU will automatically add five regional bonus points to your application. If you performed well in relevant HSC subjects, you might be eligible to subject bonus points too.
Alternatively, you may choose to take one year’s study of another WSU degree and transfer to the Bachelor of Laws (Non-graduate entry). This will take into your WAM and may make your academic merit more competitive!
You may be eligible for scholarships when studying a Bachelor of Laws at WSU. For example, Academic Excellence scholarship is open for current school leavers who have a minimum of ATAR 90, in which the recipient will be awarded $5000 per year for the duration of their degree.
For new students who identify as female, the Bartier Perry Leadership Scholarship for Women is available if you study full-time in the Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Business (Advanced Business Leadership)/Bachelor of Laws — this scholarship awards the recipient $7500 per year for the duration of their degree!
What’s the Teaching Format?
A Bachelor of Laws at WSU is taught in semesters, and most classes are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials.
The lectures for most classes are an hour long and pre-recorded to watch online — so you won’t need to go into campus for these sessions.
The content of the lecture is used to introduce students to legal concepts and principles relating to the subject, important common law cases as well as any legislation attached to the type of Law. In the odd case of a physical lecture, expect to find around 100 students attending with you!
Tutorials focus on the practical side of the subject. While in these classes, there will be a recap on the lecture content, the aim of tutorials is to get students to participate in class discussion, apply principles to hypothetical situations and use their problem-solving skills.
For core units, tutorial sizes can go up to approximately 30 people. For elective subjects, tutorial sizes depend on the popularity of the subject; an advocacy class may have a maximum of 8, while family Law classes can go over 30 people!
How much time do you spend on campus?
Studying a Bachelor of Laws at WSU is, of course, a rigorous course where you can anticipate a heavy workload. However, the contact hours are usually reasonable to accommodate for self-study.
Attending lectures and tutorials will total to 12 hours (3 hours per core subject). With the addition of readings or any assignments, each unit is an estimated 10 hours per week of work.
For most core units and electives in a Bachelor of Laws at WSU, the main types of assessments are final exams, weekly quizzes and a couple of mid-semester written assignments. In a few classes, students are assessed on their class participation.
Final exams for core units often have a weighting of 55%. So, try not to put your eggs into one basket and create a safety net by doing well on smaller semester assignments!
There will also be forms of assessments specific to the subject. As an example, an assessment in Criminal Law is writing a bail application. In contract law, students are assessed a moot (an exercise to practice one’s debating skills) on a hypothetical scenario.
Skills that you refine and learn
Problem-solving skills prepares students for real-world legal practice, where they will be handling the issues of their clients and advising on the best legal route for them. By engaging in hypothetical scenarios presented in assessments and tutorial discussions, students will sharpen their ability to apply different laws and principles to solve problems.
Critical thinking is necessary for law students to think on their feet and come up with legal solutions that will help their future clients. Basically, you don’t only learn what the Law is but also how to apply it cleverly and ethically.
Since the bulk of practicing Law is handling conflicts between people and organisations, there’s no doubt that you’ll be shaping your communication skills, both in spoken and written form. Students will learn a large spectrum of communication skills from persuasion and professionalism.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
You’ll always find help at WSU Law! All of the lecturers and tutors are known to be really friendly and willing to help students.
Be sure to ask if you’re having doubts on your work and want feedback. The faculty staff are also very approachable and will help where they can.
Western Sydney Law Students’ Association
On the social side of things, it is recommended to join the Western Sydney Law Students’ Association to have opportunities both to make friends, as well as future career and industry connections.
The association has sponsorships with large law firms such as Ashurst, King & Wood Mallesons and Clayton UTZ, which can help you to land a clerkship or graduate program in your latter years of the degree! Events-wise, there are year-round mooting competitions, talks with notable legal persons, as well as the annual Law Ball!
If students are feeling behind their classmates, WSU offers a range of academic assistance from student advisors. Student advisors can help with essay writing and research advice, as well as give feedback on written work.
Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.