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Becoming a Lawyer

Becoming a Lawyer


The legal profession in New Zealand and globally is undergoing significant change. Often discussed as being ‘disruptive’, in fact it indicates that the practice of law will always adapt to the changing needs of clients and will harness the opportunities that new technologies present. 

It also means that lawyers are able to access a wider range of career opportunities, both within and alongside the profession. This makes it an exciting time to contemplate a career in law.


There are six universities offering law degrees in New Zealand.













There are various types of law degrees available depending on the university. A Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is undertaken at the undergraduate level. Students often undertake conjoint or double degrees for example Commerce/Law or Arts/Law. You can also undertake a JD (Juris Doctor) degree at the postgraduate level. 

Your university law course will provide the foundation of knowledge you will need to understand the discipline. Once you graduate and if you wish to practise law, you will undertake  ‘Profs’ or the Professional Legal Studies Course. This is the preparation course for admission to practice. 


A law degree is a very useful grounding for a range of careers outside the law. 

None of us can predict the future but it is often the case that law graduates may come to a career in law some years post-graduation. We encourage law graduates to undertake the requirements to be admitted to practice soon after graduation for the following reasons:

  • the Professional Legal Studies Course ‘(Profs’) builds on the learnings in the law degree so undertaking at a later time means additional review is needed 
  • it is easier to continue into Profs with your cohort from university as you will be able to share the experience and assist each other 
  • The New Zealand Council of Legal Education may direct you to undertake further study if your qualification for admission (law degree) is more than 10 years old when applying for admission. The 10 year restriction is from the start of your qualification.


To become a lawyer in New Zealand, you are required to:

  • complete a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) or LLB (Honours) degree approved by the New Zealand Council of Legal Education
  • complete a Professional Legal Studies Course
  • obtain a Certificate of Completion from the NZCLE, and
  • be admitted to the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand and
  • hold a current practising certificate issued by the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS).

For a full guide on New Zealand's admission process, click the link below:

 Admission to the Bar