Choosing to study and practice law as your career is an excellent decision that will set you up for life. As well as offering a high salary, a career in law is rewarding and helps uphold the standards of the criminal justice system.
There are limitless options for those who choose to study law; You could judge cases in the national supreme court, you could work on international human rights cases, or you could help to change the constitutional legislation of Australia!
However, it can be a tricky subject to get your head around at the best of times. Whether you're a student in high school completing your year 12 legal studies exams, or a university student who is undertaking a degree, the journey to becoming a lawyer can be a tough and long one.
Being vigilant throughout your studies and staying motivated to revise and research in your own time is essential, especially when it comes to exam time. Resources in any shape and form make up the foundation research and revision, so their importance can't be understated here!
Let's take a look at some of the free and paid resources that are available for you to access during your time at high school, university, and beyond.
Online Resources for Law and Legal Studies
Years 11 and 12 can be a stressful time for Australian students, with the pressure of 5 subjects to study and revise for and the thought of having to apply for a degree at uni. It's important to take it easy sometimes and relax, but you also want to be motivated to revise regularly to ensure that you get the highest ATAR you can.
A quick and easy way to get some revision done is to look at the resources available to you online, you could find some on a website, a mobile app, or even YouTube.
There's a lot to cover in legal studies, you need to learn about:
- The rule of law
- Lawmakers and what they do
- Key legal institutions
- Rights protection
- The justice system
As well as taking legal principles and applying them to scenarios, court cases, and legislation. Luckily, there are a few places where you can get specific revision for each unit in your legal studies course on the web.
Some of these places are:
- ATAR Notes
- Melbourne or Sydney universities' online law library
Here you can find a heap of free resources that should be of excellent use in your studies; Extensive notes on each subject, law journals, Australian legislation, court cases & trial reports, and lots of books on any subject you could imagine.
As a university student, you can still find use in the online law library at Melbourne, Sydney, or any other uni in Australia, as they carry books that are relevant to every stage of becoming a lawyer.
AustLII also benefits uni students as it is essentially a database of 4 million documents of legalisation and the history of law, rights, and justice.
Revision Guides for Law and Legal Studies
A classic revision method is to whip out a textbook and make a note or two whilst you read and revise, if this works for you then you should take a look at some of these study guides for law and legal studies to see if they interest you.
Revision guides aren't usually free (unless you can find an e-book version you can access) and some can be quite expensive, but the content of the books should be invaluable to helping you study for any subject in your course.
Let's have a look at some of the best revision guides for high school legal studies:
- ATAR Notes - As well as their website, you can order study guides from ATAR Notes for any subject you take including legal studies, they are available for VCE, HSC, and QCE students.
- Legal Studies for VCE Access & Justice - There are two guides split into units 1&2 and 3&4
- Excel Study Guide: HSC Legal Studies Year 12
- Power Accountability and Rights for WACE Politics & Law
- Creelman Exam Questions for Politics and Law WACE
You'll be able to find other study guides for courses around Australia too, but this is a glimpse of what is out there to be used.
There are also many revision guides available for uni students, of course this depends on which topics you are studying at the time. Here are some study guides available at most uni bookshops:
- Learning Guide for Commercial Law Principles by Webb
- Learning Guide for Consumer Law by Barron
- Criminal Law Learners Resource made by TAFE Frontiers
- Taxation Law in Australia by Lehmann
- Guide to Business Law by Carvan
Again, there are many more study guides that can be found that relate to the major you have chosen for your law degree; Have a look through your local book shop or browse the web.
Books to Read and Learn From
Study guides can get a bit tedious after a while, so it's good to shake up your revision by just doing some plain old reading as well! If you want to take notes or highlight passages of your book then go for it, but either way regular reading is essential to keep you well informed and in the know.
Let's look at some of the most well-regarded books on law that you read and learn from in your spare time.
The Laws of Australia
This is one of the two most looked at Australian law encyclopaedias, published by Lawbook Co. Within it, you can find a comprehensive list of legislation, rights, constitutional laws, historical court cases and more.
Having this book by your side is potential the best resource you can have for simply having a browse through the laws of the land.
Law in Australian Society: An Introduction to Principles and Process
This is a great book for beginner students, especially those undertaking legal studies at high school. It comprehensively explains the systems of law in Australia, answering key questions about legislative procedures and the equality of the justice system.
Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia
Released in 2021, this scholarly book was written by some of the most prominent human rights lawyers and figures in Australia today. They take a look at the human rights issues that are facing Australians today and what can be done to overcome them.
It was mainly written for law students, so if you are intending on studying human rights during your law course at uni then you should definitely consider giving this a read!
Laying Down the Law
Another book for those who are just beginning their journey into the study of law. It lays out the principles of the legal system in Australia whilst also looking at the problems that it faces today, how they can be solved, and the responsibility of legal practitioners in these issues.
Visit the Library
As you can probably tell by now, books make up an important part of the study and revision process, especially when it comes to a scholarly academic subject like law.
The best part about using books for research is that a lot of them are still free! Granted you may have to fork out some cash to buy textbooks, but any additional texts you need for research or personal reading can normally be found at the library!
A library is perhaps the best resource when it comes to studying. If you study at uni then you most likely have 24-hour access to your library (at least at some points in the year), and the library is likely to be stocked with computers, tables and chairs, comfortable seats, and maybe even a café.
Where better to do your revision than in a room with thousands of books that can give you valuable information.
If you can't visit a library for any reason, then you can still get free access to online law libraries. Melbourne and Sydney University, as well as other universities around the country, have extensive law libraries which can be accessed for free by anyone!
Online libraries mean you don't have to wait if the book is taken out by someone else, and it can be much easier to use a search bar and a dropdown box than walking through aisles and aisles of books.
It's up to you how you choose to revise for your legal studies though, just remember to work hard and focus but enjoy a break when you can!
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