A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a 'brief'.
~ Franz Kafka ~
In all seriousness, though, law is considered one of the more difficult subjects to study and it is incredibly competitive to get into in Australia. The ATAR score required to be accepted into a university law degree sits around the mid to high 90s and once you're in, the minimum grades for graduating are higher than they are for other degrees.
These high requirements are more reflective, perhaps, of the popularity of legal studies in Australia rather than the academic difficulty of the subjects themselves. In fact, many students report that their university law degree is more emotionally challenging than super intellectually challenging.
This is not to dissuade students from pursuing law studies, but it is best to be realistic about what you might be facing.
For students living in Canberra, the three university campuses all offer various options (graduate certificate, bachelor and post-graduate studies) for face-to-face and online legal studies:
- Australian National University (ANU), College of Law
- University of Canberra (UC), Canberra Law School
- Australian Catholic University.
The good news, apart from the wide choice of degree options and locations, is that there is also an abundance of help available in the way of tutoring — both from existing or newly graduated students, as well as law professionals and teachers who often work part-time as tutors.
Finding a law tutor in Canberra is a matter of knowing what you need and where to look — but the first step, for many students, is actually realising you need help from a law teacher or tutor.
Why Do You Need Law Tutoring?
It's important to get things straight about what tutoring actually is — what its purpose is and what tutors can and can't help you achieve.
The first thing to realise is that tutors, even the best ones, can not magically improve your grades — that is entirely up to the student. What private tutors can do, however, is:
- boost student self-confidence — knowing there is someone who can help can do wonders for confidence
- provide extra practice
- explain subject matter in a different way, so it is easy to understand
- provide extension lessons or fill the gaps if a student has missed subject content
- help students revise for exams
- give advice and feedback on assignments and presentations.
An improvement in results is a team effort between student and tutor — the tutor needs to have experience, know the subject matter and be able to teach it well; the student has to put in the effort to listen and practice. At the end of the day, it is the students who are responsible for their learning.
Do you need law tutoring?
Statistics show that a large percentage of students who have enrolled in an Australian university law degree drop out during or after their first year of studies. For some students, it may be because their circumstances have changed. Others may have realised that law isn't actually for them.
But most find it hard to keep up with the workload, getting further behind until it becomes so overwhelming they feel dropping out is their only, and best, option.
If you find yourself heading towards the latter category — do something about it before it's too late.
First of all, identify exactly what it is you are struggling with:
- Time management and study skills
Perhaps, in high school, your teachers didn't teach you how to manage your time, juggle your assignments, organise your research, revise or study for tests? Not all students naturally have these skills and when it comes to the truly independent learning expected at university, they come undone. A law teacher or tutor can certainly help you develop these skills. Bear in mind, if it's not the subject matter you're finding tricky, there are also tutors who specialise in study skills tuition for any subject.
- Writing essays or learning in English
Not all students find it easy to put their thoughts and understandings into words. If it is your writing skills that are letting you down, engaging an English tutor would certainly be worthwhile to help you fill that gap and raise your confidence when it comes to writing long essays, reports and briefs in good English. Additionally, students who are non-native English speakers may find comprehending written subject materials just as difficult as writing in English. For these students, hiring a specialist English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) tutor would definitely be a worthwhile investment.
- Specific subject content in law
At some point, many students will find particular concepts, or even whole units, difficult. Finding some law tutoring is certainly a good idea — whether it's short term to help you overcome an understanding hurdle, or ongoing if you're really struggling with a particular topic.
So, now you understand what you need help with, your next step is to find some tuition or a law tutor in Canberra.
Where to Find the Best Law Tutors in Canberra
Being such a specialised subject, tuition in law and legal studies is not something you can readily access at a franchised tutoring agency. However, there are many other options if you know where to look.
Online tutoring platforms
In recent years, huge numbers of online tutoring platforms have popped up all over the internet. Online platforms such as TutorFinder, Tutorsfield and Preply are often the first to pop up in a Google search for law tutor in Canberra. These platforms allow anybody to list themselves as a tutor for a whole range of subjects. Basically, the student does a search and when they find a tutor they either get in touch through the platform. You may hit gold — or not. There are, however, other online tutoring platforms who give that little bit extra in ensuring value for students and tutors alike.
- Australian Law Tutor is an online agency specifically for law students. They offer traditional tutoring as well as one-off answers, essay writing help and proofreading.
- Superprof currently has over 1500 tutors offering law tuition. Superprof tutors provide online, face-to-face and group tuition and may be students themselves, retired law teachers or legal professionals. All the information you need is right there under the tutor's profile.
Your best bet when it comes to finding a law tutor in Canberra is to start with your law teacher, the faculty administration or student services. These people will have a register of tutors who are available for tuition, or if not, they will be able to point you in the right direction and assist you to find the help you need.
Often, university law teachers also have contacts in legal firms, many of whom are willing and available to assist with short-term help and practical experience. Alternatively, they may know a final year student who is available for tuition. The best thing about accessing tuition with a current or newly graduated student from your university is that they are closely familiar with the subject content and learning expectations.
Other places to look include:
- university noticeboards, particularly those in the law faculty or outside the library, where students who are looking for tutoring work will often post advertisement flyers with their contact details on a tear-off strip.
- Gumtree — believe it or not, a lot of students and tutors in Canberra advertise their tutoring services via Gumtree, so take a look.
- ACT Law Society.
Of course, whenever you're struggling with a topic or a concept, you should always make an appointment to see your teacher. The job of a teacher does not end when they finish their lecture or tutorial for that session and good teachers will always make time to provide extra help and support to students who ask for it.
Law Teacher Tips — Getting Through Your Studies
One of the first things you should do when you enrol in your law degree is join the ACT Law Society. This is basically a networking group with the purpose of supporting and representing the legal profession in Canberra — from students through to practising lawyers and solicitors.
To finish, here are a few tips from ex-students who've 'been there and done that' and survived to tell the tale — and help students like you succeed.
- Be realistic — go in to your degree with your eyes open, know that it will be hard at times, and be kind to yourself.
- Admit it when you need help — being proud doesn't guarantee success.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people — if your friends don't support you, or if their activities are impacting your studies, ditch them.
- Go easy on the extra activities — university is an exciting place and full of opportunities, but hold back on the extras until you have your time management sorted.
- Network, network, network — join the law society, go along to events, meet people who may become great contacts or mentors.