Legal Internship

Subject offered January, Semester 1, June, Semester 2 and November in 2023

What is Legal Internship?

Internships, externships, placements, experiential or work integrated learning. By whatever name, these opportunities are all about practical experience. Students have a choice of applying for a MLS Clinic-led internship or finding their own internship independently.

Note: Legal Internship and Independent Legal Internship come under the same subject code (LAWS50059). Students may therefore only undertake one internship placement for subject credit as part of their JD.

View Handbook entry

What will I learn?

Undertaking a public interest legal internship provides students with the opportunity to:

  • Develop practical legal skills that cannot be obtained in a classroom
  • Apply their legal knowledge to real-world problems and enhance their ability to undertake legal work in a professional environment
  • Deepen their awareness of the wider social and policy issues relevant to particular areas of legal practice
  • Establish a valuable professional network with lawyers and staff at their host organisation
  • Include practical legal work on their CV
  • Clarify their interests and guide their future career choices.

Where can I go?

Photo of Valerie
Valerie is pictured at the Young Workers Centre in Carlton.

Postcards from Placement

Valerie spent part of her summer interning at the Young Workers Centre in Carlton, where she helped equip future workers with information and facilitate representation and assistance in a variety of employment matters. “It has been an incredibly insightful and rewarding experience to have worked alongside a passionate team who fights for an important cause, for everyone and a better future,” she says.

Angus and Tom are pictured at Capitol Hill, Washington DC.

Angus and Tom spent their summer interning at the United States Congress. “From impeachment proceedings, committee hearings and policy briefings to constituent mail, phone calls and research, my time on Capitol Hill is one I will never forget!” Angus says. As someone aspiring to work in public policy, Tom says that “seeing the world's most consequential lawmaking from the inside has been an invaluable learning experience".

Samantha and Emily are pictured at Naaja Legal Agency in the Northern Territory.

Samantha and Emily spent part of their summer interning at the Naaja Legal Agency in the Northern Territory. Samantha says it's been a privilege to work for an organisation that's built on a commitment to community. "We've been working on civil matters, which include police misconduct, government complaints and child protection, that all comprise some part of the systemic disadvantage Indigenous Australians face in the Territory. We'll be returning to Melbourne feeling very inspired by all the legends we've met and worked with along the way." Melbourne Law School is proud to participate in the Aurora Project Internship Program, which places law and social science students in native title and other indigenous sector organisations throughout Australia.


Where will this take me?

A Legal Internship is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate your law studies with the reality of legal practice. There are a number of ways to approach the choice of placement – students can use the internship experience to learn more about an area of law or legal practice, explore a workplace that may be of interest or to build their legal skills and employability in supervised and supported environment. The flexibility of the Melbourne Law School Clinics program gives you the opportunity to direct your own learning.

Kate Fischer-Doherty
Kate Fischer-Doherty

About your coordinator

Kate Fischer-Doherty is the MLS Clinics Director at Melbourne Law School. Prior to joining MLS, Kate worked as a lawyer in the community legal sector for 10 years, focusing on legal education and assistance for disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Her current research interests include student professional and ethical development through clinical legal education.

How do I apply?

Melbourne Law School Clinics recommend that students interested in the Legal Internship attend one of our information sessions aimed at providing key information and answering any questions students may have about the subject.

As a general guide there are two main periods to undertake the Legal Internship:

  • November–June (Summer period, Semester 1): Applications open the previous October
  • July–November (Semester 2): Applications open the previous April

Information sessions and application details will be announced on the Canvas LMS JD Community.

Login to the LMS

For industry: Interested in hosting MLS legal interns?

If you are a public interest law organisation that would like to partner with Melbourne Law School and host student interns throughout the first or the second half of the academic year, we would love to hear from you. Please contact MLS Clinic Director Kate Fischer-Doherty to discuss the possibility of hosting a student intern(s), the requirements for our host organisations and our students, and your expectations of the program.