​Corporate and go​​vernment lawyers!
Are you practising?
Have you been admitt​ed? ​
Read on...

​Recent changes m​ean you may need to be admit​​​ted ​

Publication date: Friday, 10 June 2016

Are you practising as a corporate or government lawyer, but have not yet been admitted to the legal profession? Recent changes to the law mean you may need to take action – and soon!

Due to the commencement of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) on 1 July 2015, all corporate lawyers and some government lawyers in NSW are no longer exempt from the requirement to be admitted or to hold a practising certificate in order to engage in legal practice.  

​The NSW Government has introduced transitional arrangements to help manage the impact of this change.  

For corporate lawyers, the periods of transitional exemption are:

  • ​until 1 July 2018 for a person who was not admitted as at 1 July 2015, and was either a corporate lawyer within the period of 12 months before 1 July 2015, or became a corporate lawyer after 1 July 2015, or
  • until 1 July 2017 in all other cases (for example, for a person who is a corporate lawyer, and had already been admitted as at 1 July 2015, but does not currently hold a practising certificate).

These exemptions also apply to anyone who commences work as a corporate lawyer during the three year transition period up until 30 June 2018.

For government lawyers, the periods of transitional exemption are:​

  • ​until 1 July 2018 for a person who commenced work as a government lawyer after 1 July 2015, or

  • until 1 July 2017 for government lawyer who had already been admitted as at 1 July 2015, but does not currently hold a practising certificate.

​People who were employed as a government lawyer in the 12 months before 1 July 2015, and who were not admitted as at that date, will have a permanent exemption from the requirement to be admitted or to hold a practising certificate.

Any government or corporate lawyer who is practicing pursuant to one of the above transitional exemptions must also notify the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board by 30 June 2016 (or within 12 months of commencing such practice). An online form is available for this purpose at www.lpab.justice.nsw.gov.au/clause19notice, and takes only a few minutes to complete.

The intention behind these changes is to bring all persons engaged in legal practice into the new regulatory scheme and ensure such persons are maintaining mandatory regulatory obligations such as undertaking continuing professional development. The uniform requirements for practising certificates also make it easier for legal practitioners to move between private, in-house and government practice.

An application to become admitted to the Australian legal profession in NSW must be made to the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board. People who need to be admitted should not delay until 2018, because of the lead times involved. Anyone who obtained their law qualifications outside Australia, or completed them more than five years ago, should allow additional time in case they are required to undertake further study in order to be eligible to apply for admission.

An application for a practising certificate in NSW must be made either to the Law Society of NSW (to practise as a solicitor) or the NSW Bar Association (to practise as a barrister).

More details about the prohibition against unqualified legal practice, and the definitions of 'corporate lawyer' and 'government lawyer', is available in information sheets at www.legalservicescouncil.org.au.

Further information about giving notice of practising pursuant to a transitional exemption, and applying for admission to the legal profession, is at the website www.lpab.justice.nsw.gov.au.​



Quick​links to more information

Online exemption notification form: ​notify the LPAB if you're practising ​pursuant to a transitional exemption

More about notifying the LPAB of an exemption PLUS applying for admission

Legal Services Council​: definitions of 'corporate' and 'government' lawyer PLUS details about prohibition against unqualified legal practice​