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Graduate Program 101

Updated: Mar 29

If you’re a final year law student it’s likely that you’ve heard  the buzz around graduate programs. You’re not alone if you’re not quite sure what this means, what's involved and why you too should apply.

At the NDSLS our job is to assist law students in every facet of their tertiary education. This includes their budding legal careers! So sit back and let us guide you through everything you need to know to secure the next step in your legal career. 

What are graduate programs?

Graduate Programs are a recruitment program offered by most private practice firms.  These programs allow recent graduates to act in the legal profession. The object of these programs is to bridge the gap between graduation and admission as a lawyer. 

Some Governmental Organisations also offer Legal Graduate Programs including:

  • The Department of Public Prosecution;

  • Legal Aid;

  • ASIC;

  • ASIO, and;

  • NSW Treasury.

Graduate Programs can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months and take into account the requirements of Practical Legal Training. 

What are the benefits of graduate programs?

These structured programs allow graduates to experience a range of legal work. This allows graduates to gain the skills, training and experience that is required as a young lawyer.  Some firms even offer a series of rotations between different areas of practice based on business needs and student choice.  

Who can apply?

Applications are limited to students who will graduate within the period set out by each firm. Typically this is for students who are to graduate at the end of the year before the program begins. For example, if you will have finished your degree at the end of 2024, you will apply for the 2025 Graduate Program. 

No prior legal experience is required.  Nor is an applicant required to hold a specific grade point average (GPA) or Weighted Average Mark (WAM). 

What are the deadlines?

Applications for the 2025 Graduate Programs are now open

Applications must be submitted by:  7 April 2024

Interviews commence on: 29 April 2024

And successful applicants should expect an offer by: 17 June 2024

All offers must be accepted or rejected by: 19 June 2024

What will I need to apply?

Most firms require applicants to supply:

  • A Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV);

  • A Cover Letter;

  • An Unofficial or Official Academic Transcript; and, 

  • The completion of an online application form. 

If you want to learn how to write an effective resume and cover letter, you can refer to our 2023 NDSLS Careers Guide:

To learn more about which firms are participating and how to apply, you can read more from the New South Wales Law Society website.


To all final year law students, 

We at NDSLS would like to wish you all good luck in the graduate application process. We look forward to hearing of all your successes in the years to come whether in your graduate roles or otherwise.

- The 2024 NDSLS Executive

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