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Herbert Smith Freehills has partnered with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to offer the firm’s Australian graduates a tailored and innovative Practical Legal Training (PLT) course. Known as the Graduate Diploma in Legal Professional Practice (GDLPP), the program allows graduates to be admitted to practice months earlier than with previous offerings.

Offering a fresh approach to PLT, the program was developed by the UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice as a digital first, using insights from a diverse group of industry leaders and subject matter experts.

The program includes engaging and practical modules on values and ethics in practice, transactional and litigation practice, as well as legal project management. It has a focus on plain language communications and best practice resilience and wellbeing training, and also includes a streamlined program of 40 days of workplace experience for graduates to garner firsthand experience.

Ranked 14th[1] in the world and as the only Go8 provider of a multijurisdictional PLT program, UNSW Law and Justice’s  focus has been on a student experience premised on excellence and a quality offering that upskills PLT. To that end the Herbert Smith Freehills and the UNSW teams have worked closely to provide a seamless transition to admission for the firm’s graduates.

Herbert Smith Freehills graduate recruitment manager James Keane said: “UNSW’s course will impart the perfect balance of technical and commercial skills, fully preparing our graduates for practice and helping them to achieve the important milestone of admission sooner. To facilitate the environment needed for the successful integration of the program within the firm, Herbert Smith Freehills will give participating graduates dedicated study leave to complete their PLT commitments.

“We were impressed by the comprehensive content in UNSW’s graduate diploma, particularly its commercial, technology and future-focus. The legal profession is evolving at a rapid pace thanks to the impact of digital transformation, and lawyers of the future will need to navigate the impact of this on clients and the practice of law itself. This course explores those issues and will equip our grads with the skills they need as lawyers now and throughout their careers.

“Our grads will also have access to the full suite of support services available to UNSW students including academic and practice mentors, study support, professional development, as well as assistance in managing their personal finances, health and wellbeing.”

Dean of the UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice, Professor Andrew Lynch said: “Our course is designed to give graduates practical skills and proficiency in the day-to-day practice of law, ensuring that they do not merely satisfy the competency standards for entry-level lawyers but surpass them.

“The course is taught by subject matter experts, utilising technology that aligns with the realities and tools of modern practice. Our course prepares lawyers for success, and we are thrilled that a firm of the calibre of Herbert Smith Freehills has chosen the course for its graduates.”


[1] QS World University Rankings for Law and Legal Studies 2022