Student Engagement


Information for students and teachers on life as a barrister and the pathways to becoming a barrister

 

Welcome to the Victorian Bar’s Student Information webpage, brought to you by the Victorian Bar’s Student Engagement Committee (SEC).
 

What is the SEC?

The SEC was formed in 2010 with the objective of ‘demystifying’ the Bar by providing secondary school and tertiary students with a better understanding of the work of the Bar, and of the pathways to becoming a barrister.  The SEC does this primarily by arranging barristers to speak to students at Victorian universities and secondary schools, and by creating and facilitating work experience and shadowing opportunities for students so that they can see what barristers do first-hand.  Details of the Work Experience and Shadowing Programs run by the SEC are set out below.

The SEC is proud to be working together with the Victoria Law Foundation to help Victorian secondary school students better understand the law and their legal system.

The SEC hopes that you find the information on this page interesting and helpful.  If you have any queries in relation to the information on this page, or if you wish to make an enquiry about having a barrister speak at your school or university, please feel free to contact the Student Engagement Committee: students@vicbar.com.au

 

Useful links for students about the Bar and the Australian legal system

All you ever wanted to know about becoming a barrister - FAQ

Life at the Bar

About the Bar

Information for Secondary students (PDF)

Information for University students (PDF)

Understanding the Courts

The Supreme Court of Victoria has produced a video (‘One punch, a lifetime of consequences’) that gives insight into how criminal trials are run and features a companion booklet for students and teachers.

The Victoria Law Foundation also publishes useful guides about the legal system in general, as well as a range of educational resources for teachers and students.
 


The SEC Work Experience and Shadowing Program

The SEC offers two programs for High School school and tertiary students who are interested in becoming a barrister:

  • for High School students: a Work Experience Program recognised by the Department of Education and Training Victoria; and
  • for University students: a program to shadow barristers.

The Work Experience Program typically involves being placed with a barrister for up to a week in accordance with the Department of Education and Training Victoria guidelines.  Depending on the age and ability of the student, tasks that they may carry out and experiences they may have during their placement include: research, assisting their barrister mentor to organise a brief, attending court, attending a conference with a client or instructing solicitor, and attending a mediation.  Precisely what experience a student has depends largely on the practice area and current commitments of their barrister mentor. It is intended to give students an insight into the ‘day to day’ practice of a barrister at the Victorian Bar.

The SEC’s Shadowing Program typically involves one or more communications with a barrister, for example, meeting over coffee, communicating by email, or speaking by phone every few months and shadowing a barrister for a day or so.

The SEC does not offer mentoring programs for university students, but directs interested student to the mentoring programs provided by most Universities.
 

How to apply for Work Experience (High School students) or Shadowing (University students)

Students who wish to apply for either Work Experience (High School students) or Shadowing (University students) with a member of the Victorian Bar pursuant to the SEC Work Experience or the Shadowing Program should send their CV to students@vicbar.com.au, along with a cover letter stating the following information:

  1. What year level of school or year level of your law degree you are currently completing;
  2. Whether there is a particular area of law in which you are interested, and if so, why;
  3. Whether there are particular dates on which you wish to do work experience or commence shadowing with a barrister, and whether there are any deadlines associated with confirming work experience or shadowing arrangements (for example, secondary school students looking for work experience to comply with the Department of Education and Training program are often required to confirm their arrangements with their school by a certain date); and
  4. Whether you have a particular preference for a male or female barrister, or any other relevant preferences.

Please note that the SEC receives many requests every year for work experience and shadowing opportunities.  The SEC endeavours to meet all requests, but it is not always possible to do so.  Please also be patient whilst waiting for a response regarding your application.

Further, the Victorian Bar’s Indigenous Lawyers Committee has established a work experience and shadowing program for Indigenous secondary school and university students.  For more information on that program, please click here.

Students should also read the SEC’s Charter of Expectations prior to completing work experience: 

 

Contacts for students

Enquiries about the SEC’s Work Experience and Shadowing Program should be sent to students@vicbar.com.au, accompanied by the information set out above.


Contacts for schools and universities

Enquiries about school or university visits, or any other matters relating to the SEC and its work should be sent to students@vicbar.com.au