Getting legal work experience has been beneficial to my understanding of the law and its operation.’ – Brianna Woodhead, AIATSIS
The ANU College of Law Internship Program offers Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Juris Doctor students the opportunity to learn from leaders in the profession, gain experience in the broad spectrum of practice, deepen their awareness of potential career opportunities and carry out a law-based research project in a legal professional workplace for credit towards their degree. The internship project has a strong focus on developing students’ employability in terms of their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Each intern will show evidence of competencies and skills acquired through close working relationships and collaboration with professional colleagues, a workplace supervisor and an academic advisor. Every individual intern will be supported by the ANU College of Law Careers and Employability team and the Course Convenor.
Designed to help students realise the potential of their university learning through real-world application and workplace research experience, the program offers placements with a variety of partnered organisations that include government departments and agencies, private law firms and companies, legal aid, legal advocacy and community law providers, and non-government organisations. Internships are flexible and enable students to be hosted in operational face-to-face roles or virtually in a research-intensive capacity.
The internship offers industry collaborators the opportunity to co-create value through students’ application of their theoretical knowledge and capabilities developed throughout their projects and provides access to our ANU talented student cohorts.
To enrol in the internship course LAWS4230/LAWS6230 students must be studying the Bachelor of Laws and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses, or be studying the Juris Doctor and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses. Students are not able to enrol in this course if they have previously completed ANIP3003 Australian National Internships Program Internship A or ANIP3005 Australian National Internship B, unless it is credited to a non-law degree.
A student may only complete LAWS4230/6230 Law Internship once
There is no mandated set amount of time to be spent in the workplace. However, a reasonable requirement would be one day per week during semester placements and the equivalent if the internship is undertaken intensively. Ordinarily, this will be a minimum of 12 full days. Interns are encouraged to meet with their professional supervisor regularly to obtain feedback on the progress of their research and to spend time in the workplace undertaking tasks separate from the research paper.
The main piece of assessment in the internship course is a research paper. Ideally, the research paper will be informed and enriched through the intern’s workplace experience and interactions with the professional supervisor and professional colleagues. We expect that the intern and professional supervisor will discuss and agree on the research topic. As each intern has a different workplace experience, their performance in the workplace is not assessed directly. Assessment details are available on the Class Summary published two weeks prior to each session or semester offering on the Programs and Courses website.
The ANU College of Law offers a limited number of college-arranged internships each session with a variety of Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory Government departments, statutory bodies, community legal centres and other non-government organisations. Internships are also available at ANU College of Law Centres, under the supervision of an academic staff member of the ANU College of Law.
Students should conduct preliminary research to ensure that they are aware of the organisation’s functions and goals before applying. Feedback from placement organisations indicates that this is very much a minimum requirement for those seeking selection.
Students who would like to be considered for a college-arranged internship must complete the college-arranged internship application form.
Due to the limited partnered internship placements available, students are encouraged to arrange their own internship with a suitable organisation and professional supervisor. This opens up the possibility to choose organisations and locations that best suit future career interests, including local or remote locations across Australia, or internationally.
All interns must be supervised by a professional supervisor. In a private sector workplace the supervisor must be a lawyer with at least three years post admission experience who holds a current practising certificate. In other workplaces the supervisor must be a lawyer, but they do not need to hold a practising certificate. The research project may receive but does not require, supervision from the internship host. The internship host has discretion in deciding whether to supervise the research project.
Where it is not possible for the student to undertake an on-premises or in-person internship, a remote internship can be arranged. This includes special arrangements to be put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student internship guidelines
To ensure students have a valuable experience during their internship, we have prepared internship student guidelines to offer advice and support.
Frequently asked questions
- I have been told I must do a Law Internship as a part of my LLB/JD degree, is this true?
No, the Law Internship course is not compulsory in the Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor degrees. LAWS4230 Law Internship is an elective course in the LLB program. JD students can undertake LAWS6230 Law Internship to satisfy the capstone requirement of their program.
- I previously volunteered or undertook a program that I think meets the requirements of a Law Internship. Can I get credit for this as a Law Internship?
Credit for previous internships will not be granted. It is recommended that students apply for a self-arranged placement early if considering an opportunity that may meet the requirements of a Law Internship.
- What is the KCLS?
Kimberley Community Legal Services (KCLS) Inc. is a non-profit civil law legal service located in the Kimberley, Western Australia. KCLS provides legal advice, legal representation, casework and community legal education, and works on systemic issues and law reform. KCLS focuses on culturally appropriate service delivery, client and community empowerment.
KCLS is the largest remotely located civil law service in Australia and over 85% of KCLS clients are Aboriginal people.
This collaboration includes Law Internships consisting of projects based in Kununurra or Broome, WA.
There have been over 80 ANU law internships so far. The law internships have focused on topics nominated by KCLS and negotiated and agreed with the interns concerned.
- Can I apply for a Law Internship if I have already done a Law Internship previously?
Students cannot undertake LAWS4230 or LAWS6230 more than once. If a student has already completed a Law Internship under LAWS4230/6230 they are ineligible to apply again.
However, students are able to undertake both a Clinical Course and a Law Internship within their degree.
Students who have completed an ANIP internship in their other degree are still able to undertake a LAWS4230/6230 Law Internship. If a student has completed an ANIP internship in law to count towards their law degree, they cannot undertake another law internship under LAWS4230/6230.
- What is the role of the professional supervisor?
The professional supervisor has the role of supervising the activities of the student during the internship and in ensuring a learning experience for the student as an outcome of the internship in accordance with the expectations and protocols of the workplace, the legal profession, and the ANU. They are not required to supervise the student's research paper unless they wish to.
- Can I organise my own internship?
Yes. Students are able, and encouraged, to organise self-arranged internships. Students must ensure that the host organisation is aware of the assessment requirements and the supervisor meets the qualification requirements.
Previous experience has proven that self-arrangement provides opportunities for students to choose organisations and locations for the internship based on their future career interests. This can include regional, rural or remote and international locations.
Where a student has arranged their own internship that meets the requirements of LAWS4230/6230 Law Internship they should apply via the self-arranged internship online form. Students can apply at any time once arrangements have been made.
- Can I do an internship overseas?
Yes. Students are able to self-arrange placements overseas, provided the eligibility requirements are met. Students must ensure that the proposed host organisation is aware of the assessment requirements and the supervisor meets the qualification requirements.
This would be limited at the moment due to travel restrictions.
- Can an internship be undertaken remotely?
Yes. Where it is not possible for the student to undertake an on-premises or in-person internship, a remote internship can be arranged. This includes work-arounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to apply
- Do I have to apply for a Law Internship?
Yes. Applications should be submitted using the appropriate online form. Links to the forms can be found on the Internships page.
Where there are many applications for an internship at a particular partner organisation, only shortlisted applications will be forwarded to the host organisation for consideration. Students may be required to attend an interview with the organisation. The process is competitive.
Students will be notified through their ANU email address regarding the outcome of their application.
- How are students selected for a partnered law internship?
A shortlist of applications is forwarded to the partner organisation for consideration. The decision rests entirely with that organisation. Organisations receive many applications but only take a limited number of interns. Some organisations may choose not to take any interns from time to time. The ANU College of Law does not and cannot prescribe the way in which a partner organisation goes about selecting interns. As an example, an organisation may choose not to consider any applicants below a certain grade point average.
Where a student applies for a partnered internship the student should conduct preliminary research to ensure that they are aware of that organisation's functions and goals. Feedback from placement organisations that have rejected student applications indicates that this is very much a minimum requirement for those seeking selection.
Students who are unsuccessful in gaining a partnered law internship are encouraged to apply again at a later date, or to consider self-arranging an internship.
- What are the application requirements?
To be considered for an internship, students must:
Show good academic achievement and research skills in Law courses (if applying for partnered internships offered by the ANU College of Law).
For partnered and self-arranged only (not KCLS): provide a summary of their proposed research paper (max 500 words). (Note: the proposed research paper may be amended as a result of discussion between supervisors and interns, following approval to undertake the course).
If applying for a self-arranged internship, have organised a suitable placement and supervisor.
Experience cannot be credited retrospectively. All students who wish to gain course credit for an internship must apply, enrol and meet other requirements for LAWS4230/6230 specified in the Class Summary.
- What is the process for enrolling? / How do I get a permission code?
When your internship has been approved, Law Student Administration will provide you with a permission code to enrol in ISIS.
- Do I still need to submit an application form if I have arranged my own internship?
Yes. Please use the self-arranged application form located above. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
- Can I start the internship before I receive approval from the College?
No. Students wishing to undertake a self-arranged internship will need to arrange, apply and be approved before they start their internship. All internships must be approved by the Course Convenor and permission codes to enrol will not be provided until this has occurred.
- Can I do my internship where I work? / Can I get paid for the internship?
Provided that the Internship arrangement made meet the course requirements, any payment arrangements are between the student and host organisation.
- Am I guaranteed to be approved for a Law Internship If I arrange my own placement?
If the internship complies with the Law Internship requirements it will usually be approved.
- Who can be my professional supervisor?
Students must have a lawyer supervising them in the workplace. This person is referred to as the ‘professional supervisor’.
If the workplace is a private sector legal workplace, the student must be under the supervision of a lawyer with at least three years post admission experience who holds a current practising certificate.
For other workplaces, the professional supervisor must be a lawyer but does not have to hold a practising certificate.