Considering a career as a family lawyer in Sydney? Whilst it can be rewarding work, make sure you do your research first, as becoming a solicitor can require up to 6 years of study and training.
This article outlines what you need to know about working as a solicitor and how to become one.
What a family lawyer in Sydney does:
A family lawyer in Sydney may work with a range of domestic-related legal issues, including:
- Separation and divorce
- Child and/or spousal support
- Child custody
- Financial settlements
- Domestic violence
- Child neglect and abuse
Most solicitors work across a range of issues, though some may specialise in a certain area, such as child custody. Some of the specific tasks a family lawyer in Sydney may carry out on a daily basis include:
- Drafting and negotiating contracts and other legal documents
- Litigation of contested matters
- Client counselling
- Attending court
- Dispute resolution
- Responding to emails and phone calls
- Referring clients to other professionals
A solicitor should possess excellent interpersonal skills and communication skills and be able to work under pressure in potentially emotionally turbulent situations.
Where you might practice
The majority of professionals working as a family lawyer in Sydney operate in small or midsized firms, or non-profit organisations.
Job opportunities and salary
Job growth in the field is predicted to rise by 2.1% in the next 5 years. The average – and starting – salary for a family lawyer in Sydney is around $100,000, though experienced solicitors could earn as much as $210,000.
Pathways to employment
Becoming a solicitor takes around 5-6 years and requires you to undergo the following process:
Obtain a Bachelors or Juris Doctor degree from an appropriate university. Both courses take 3-4 years to complete.
Practical legal training (PLT) is required to work in the field; it is a structured program which teaches you the daily skills you will need as a solicitor. It can be completed in 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time.
- Apply for admission through your relevant Admissions Authority no more than 5 years after graduating.
- Obtain a Practicing Certificate.
- Perform 18-24 months supervised practice at a firm.
You are now a practicing solicitor! You may want to study a master’s degree but this is not compulsory.
How to boost your job prospects
To stand out from your competition and improve your odds of getting hired, you may want to consider doing an internship at a legal organisation and/or taking classes in your desired area of study.
- Benefits of the job
- Some of the benefits to working as a family lawyer in Sydney include:
- Make a positive difference to people’s lives
- Intellectually stimulating
- Engaging work environment
- High salary
- Drawbacks to the job
- Some of the potential downsides to working in the field include:
- Lengthy education and training process
- High stress environment
- Emotionally challenging
- Latest trends in the field
Collaboration is becoming increasingly popular in the legal field. Going to court can be both stressful and expensive, so trying to resolve matters outside the courtroom is important. Through negotiation, discussion and group meetings, a collaborative approach between solicitors, their clients and involved parties can be highly beneficial in minimising the need to go to court. Collaborative approaches are commonly used in separation and divorce cases.
Working as a family lawyer in Sydney can be an engaging and rewarding undertaking, though it is not without its challenges. Ensure that you do your research and consider whether the job is well-suited to your personality and strengths before studying to become a solicitor.