Solicitors (lawyers) provide legal advice, draft legal documents and conduct negotiations on behalf of clients on matters associated with the law.

Lawyers are described as barristers and solicitors depending on the type of work. The work of barristers and solicitors is usually combined in South Australia.

Where solicitors are employed

Solicitors may work in private legal practices either on their own or in a partnership. They may also work in state, territory or federal government departments, in community law centres or with business corporations.

Barristers are self-employed but normally practise in chambers with other barristers. Barristers may be promoted to senior counsel and eventually be appointed as a judge.  

Barristers and solicitors may become magistrates.

Pay

Full-time solicitors (lawyers) in South Australia generally earn over $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for Solicitors

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 2,100 people employed full-time as solicitors in South Australia compared with 1,724 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a solicitor (lawyer) you usually have to complete a degree in law at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) with English. Students are often advised to undertake a combined degree course that leads to two degrees. The prerequisite subjects required for entry into these combined courses also depend on the non-law component of the combined course. 

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

Licensing or registration requirements

In Australia you must be registered as a legal practitioner with the State Authority that you want to work in. In South Australia you must hold a current South Australian practising certificate. The Supreme Court of South Australia is the admitting authority through the Law Society of South Australia.

Recognition of qualifications and skills obtained outside Australia

If you have overseas gained qualifications and experience as a legal practitioner you must apply to the Law Society of South Australia Board of Examiners for accreditation. After the assessment overseas applicants will be required to complete some further academic study at an Australian University.

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Specialist Migrant Services on 08 8303 2450 or email sms@sa.gov.au.

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.
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