Certificate in Legal Practice

Work in legal practice or support, para legal or other law related jobs.

Course Code: VBS016
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Take a first step toward working in the Law.

This course can be valuable for anyone who needs to work within a Legal office, Paralegal or Legal Support  situation (eg. Law office staff, Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Solicitors, Law Professors, Legal Receptionists/Secretaries, Private Investigators, Authorised Government Inspectors and Officers, Law Enforcement Officers and many others).

How to Get Your Career Started:

If you haven't worked in either an office or legal situation before, you are wise to take a two pronged approach to improving your chances to work in this industry:

1. Enrol  in a course.   If you have limited time to study, start with our 100 hour Legal Terminology short course. You can always upgrade to a full certificate later on. If you have the time though; consider enrolling in this full certificate from the start. Obviously, the more you study, the more your opportunities for employment are advanced.

2. Get some experience.  Qualifications alone are rarely enough to win out in a job interview or a contest for promotion once you are in a legal office. Volunteering with community based organisations can be a great way to get some initial experience, particularly if the organisation has a relevance to law (eg. Neighbourhood Crime Watch committees, Victims of Crime support bodies, Local Government bodies, etc). Volunteering can impress potential employers, and help you stand out from your competition.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Legal Practice.
 Legal Terminology BWR108
 Office Practices VBS102
 Criminal Psychology BPS309
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 7 modules.
 Bookkeeping Foundations (Bookkeeping I) BBS103
 Research Project I BGN102
 Bookkeeping Applications (Bookkeeping II) BBS203
 Ethics BPS217
 Information Security BIT203
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301
 Technical Writing (Advanced) BWR301

Note that each module in the Certificate in Legal Practice is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Office Practices

The course covers the following in 8 lessons:

  1. The Modern Office: Scope of office work, procedures, the home office vs commercial premises, etc.
  2. Communication Systems: Using the phone, business letters, faxes, couriers, postage, etc.
  3. Interpersonal Communications
  4. Phone Skills
  5. Writing Letters and Other Documents:Writing Letters and Reports. Structure of a report, memos, business letters.
  6. Computer Applications: Scope & uses of computers, types of computers, software types, peripherals, word processing, CD Roms, Modems, setting up and care of a PC.
  7. Office Organisation and Procedures: Stationary, Office furniture, Paper specifications, Filing & record keeping etc.
  8. Health and Safety in the Office: Office layout and organization, security.  

Legal Terminology 

There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Scope and Nature of Legal Terminology
  2. The Legal Workplace –People & Processes
  3. Legal systems –Australia, UK, International Law etc.
  4. Contract & Business Law
  5. Property Law - Buying & selling property, Conveyancing, Intellectual Property
  6. Wills, Probate, Estate Law
  7. Criminal Law
  8. Other –Tort law, Family Law, Civil Actions, Bankruptcy, Insurance, Accidents Compensation

Criminal Psychology

There are ten lessons consisting of -

  1. Introduction to Criminal Psychology
  2. Psychological approaches to understanding crime
  3. Psychology and understanding serious crimes
  4. Mental disorder and crime 1 – Learning disabilities and crime
  5. Mental Disorder and Crime 2 - Psychopathy
  6. Gender and Crime
  7. Youth and Crime
  8. Psychology and the Police
  9. Psychology in the Courtroom
  10. Psychology and Crime Prevention

Working in a Legal Support Role

Working in legal services, goes well beyond just being a lawyer. A knowledge of the law is critical to a wide range of industries, from law enforcement and security work, to government services and business operations.

This course may open improve employment opportunities across a broad range of legal support roles.

Working as a Legal Receptionist

Legal receptionists work at the front desk of a law firm. They are the first port of call for client and visitors coming to or contacting the law firm. Because of this, it is important the legal receptionist projects a good representation of the law firm – being well presented, professional and articulate.

Different sizes and types of law firms will have different requirements of the legal receptionist. In smaller firms the legal receptionist may double as the legal secretary. Some duties include:

  • Meeting and greeting clients and visitors that come in to the law firm.
  • Answering phone calls and taking messages or forwarding on to other staff members.
  • Screening incoming calls to determine whether the caller needs to speak to an attorney. Forwarding to an appropriate attorney.
  • Administrative tasks 
  • May be required to draft correspondence, such as letters to attorneys, courts or clients. 
  • Scheduling appointments. 
  • Creating files for clients.
  • May be required to handle billing.
  • Providing general information to the public.
  • Serving coffee or tea to visitors and clients. 
  • Office tasks such as managing office supplies, scanning, photocopying, faxing and filing.


Legal receptionists are employed by law firms, government offices, legal departments and courthouses. They will generally work during business hours, and not be required to work overtime, evenings, or weekends. Legal receptionist work is relatively stable, and employment opportunities for receptionists in general are set to stay constant, or increase.

Legal receptionists tend to earn more than general receptionists as they do specialised work, however their salary level will largely depend on the size of the firm, the firms location, the receptionists level of experience, amongst other things. Generally speaking a legal receptionist will earn a low to middle level income (which can be a higher income depending on the previously mentioned factors), with the added bonus of a relatively stable employment.

Working as a legal receptionist can be a foot in the door to working as a supervisor, legal secretary, or paralegal. Because the legal receptionist communicates with everyone in the law firm, as well as everyone who deals with the law firm they will have opportunities for networking.

Risks and Challenges
Working as a legal receptionist can be stressful at times. Working at a busy law firm with strict deadlines can create stress. The legal receptionist will also  be required to deal with people who are experiencing stressful circumstances which can be challenging.
A legal receptionist will spend the majority of the day sitting down at a computer, so may experience issues associated with that, such as headaches, lethargy, eyestrain, and repetitive strain injury.

How to become a Legal Receptionist:

Whilst there is not a specification education requirement to be a legal receptionist, it is generally preferred that the candidate has completed a high school qualification, as well as preferably some formal secretarial or office training. Law firms will also often look for someone who has had experience working in a law office, or in a similar type of role.

To become a legal receptionist, then, it is important to try to gain work experience within a law firm in some capacity, even if it is unpaid work initially.

Maybe of greater importance are the types of skills you will need to work successfully as a legal receptionist. These include:

  • Knowledge of office practices
  • Familiarity with the legal system and legal terminology
  • Computer skills
  • Communication skills – both verbal and written expression and comprehension
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills
  • A polished appearance
  • Attention to detail
  • Respectful of confidential information

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.

David Crothers

Extensive international experience in business and finance. Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practicing environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Michael Brugman

Mike is a graduate of Rhodes University and has experience in the Earth Science field. His working experience includes working as a consultant in geology, environmental and atmospheric science.

More recently he has been focused on research and academia including research interests in areas such as air quality and carbon emissions.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

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