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Free ride to specialisation

Briefs

Cite as: March 2013 87 (3) LIJ, p.12

For the first time, the LIV is offering scholarships to its accredited specialisation program.

Accredited Specialisation Board chair Craig Lynch said the program, which has been running for more than 20 years, gives legal professionals advanced study in specific fields to gain a potentially competitive edge. “It gives lawyers the opportunity to set themselves apart from the pack.”

Offered bi-annually across 16 areas, including criminal law and workplace relations, this year’s inaugural scholarships are being offered in two categories: to practitioners working for community legal centres and practitioners working solo or in firms with fewer than five employees.

Mr Lynch, who has been a lawyer with Slater & Gordon for nearly 16 years, studied personal injury law as his specialisation in 2001. It was a great opportunity to show his commitment to the firm and to clients, he said, as well as to his peers. “It gives me some standing with opponents,” Mr Lynch said. “They know they’re up against someone who is a specialist in that area.” This year, specialisation is being offered in seven areas of law: commercial tenancy, costs, family, personal injury, property, tax and a new administrative law specialisation. Applicants must have at least five years experience in practice to qualify.

The self-managed program is rigorous, with most candidates investing more than 50 hours in study. Assessment is a three-step process and can be a mix of a written examination, assignments based on mock files, drafting exercises, simulated interviews or practical advocacy exercises or examples of candidates’ work. Last year, the overall pass rate was 71 per cent.

The scholarship is worth close to $2000 and covers the application fee as well as relevant study materials such as past assessment papers, online resources and attendance at the candidate discussion groups and skills workshops.

Applications (http://tinyurl.com/an5e44f) open on 1 March and close on 5 April. General applicants to the program must lodge by 19 April.

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