Professional associations can play an important role in your legal career, but you’re probably thinking that there’s no point in joining until you’re a lawyer. In reality, many legal associations offer resources and activities to help law students, so it makes sense for students to consider joining while they’re still studying. Most law associations provide membership to law students at a small cost or for free, and there are plenty of reasons why students should get involved with law societies and associations….
Getting involved in the legal profession
Being actively involved in a professional association enables you to take part in activities that contribute to the legal profession. Every State has its own law society that contributes to law reform and advocacy on behalf of its members. If you are interested in a particular area of law, getting involved in the advocacy undertaken by a law society or association can be a good way for you to understand the practical issues that are faced by lawyers practicing in that area and might even help you decide on which areas of law you are interested in practicing in.
Professional associations are designed to support their members; therefore members are given access to lots of useful resources. Many associations even provide tailored information for law students, including providing practical career guidance.
Think of membership as a gateway to networking in the legal profession. Some of the larger law societies have dedicated Young Lawyers Sections which provide the opportunity for students to join committees to get involved in projects, network with other students and young lawyers and develop contacts early in their careers.
Many law associations offer mentoring programs for members, which is of particular value to students as mentors can provide valuable support and guidance on successfully making the transition from uni to work.
Events and Professional Development
Associations also hold events and professional development opportunities for their members. Even as a law student, you can benefit from attending seminars about current issues and new developments in the law.
A good place to start can be your state or territory’s law society:
If you have a specific area of interest, there are also plenty of legal associations that cater to particular practice areas. For example, there’s the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, The Commercial Law Association of Australia, The Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Association, the National Environmental Law Association, Australian Charity Law Association. Chances are that there’s an association out there that matches your interests. There’s even the Australian Lawyers Surfing Association!
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