Melbourne University Law Studentsâ€™ Society
Careers Guide 2013
iNTRODUCTION cOURTS & PLT gOVERNMENT PUBLIC INTEREST cORPORATE PRIVATE PRACTICE Academia Rural & regional 2
contents! Welcome (5) Foreword (6)
Criminal Law (11) Associate to a Judge in the County Court of Victoria, Criminal List (13) Practical Training Course (15) Looking to Get an Edge? Develop Your Skills... (17)
Diverse Careers in Government for Law Grads (21) Transition from Corporate Lawyer to Public Servant (23) Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office (24) Working at the Victorian Law Reform Commission (25) Law in Government (26) Law Graduate in Government (28) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (30) Australian Taxation Office (31) Environmental Defender’s Office (33) Australian Conservation Foundation (35) Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (37) Refugee Council of Australia (39) Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (41) Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (42) Human Rights Law Centre (44) Public Interest Law Clearing House (46) North Melbourne Legal Service (47) McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer (48) Internship: Victoria Legal Aid (50) Opportunities With Macquarie (53) ANZ - A Day in the Life (55) ANZ Profile (56) Strategy Consulting at Bain: A Former Law Student’s Perspective (57) The Boston Consulting Group (58) McKinsey & Company (59) Citi - a Leading Global Investment Bank (60)
Property Law (63) Public Interest Law (64) Paralegal (65)
The Challenges of Academia (67) What it Takes to be an Academic (68)
Practising in Ballarat and Horsham (71) Practising in Warrnambool (73) 3
Chapter 1 :
WELCOME! Sophie wade & Ken kour Careers and Development Portfolio At ages 23 and 22 respectively, we took on the Careers Directorship six months ago filled with youthful optimism and excitement. We frolicked in fields and sang about how this year, public interest and government jobs would be held up as equally worthy and equal career paths to a commercial job — how they would no longer simply be deemed “alternatives”. A little of this youthful optimism has been beaten out of us, with much time being dedicated to adequately promoting clerkships. Looking at either of us now, you could easily mistake us for being around the 35 to 40 year old mark. And we would not blame you. But looking through the articles in this Guidebook has brought back some of that hope, and reminded us of what we set out to do.
provide some discussion as to when qualifications can be obtained. And it is more flexible than you may think! Pathways into non-commercial law careers are a little less well-defined, but this does not mean they are any less accessible or valid. And, for many among us, they might be infinitely more exciting! This Guidebook just gives you a small slice of the variety to be found. We would like to thank our marvellous Careers Officers for their work in producing this Guide. They have researched, emailed and called widely in order to present the breadth of information we have before you now. Brigid, Yi, Kaitlin, Kirsti, Hannah and Amanda – you are incredible! Thank you to Marco and the Marketing and Publications team who have worked hard to ensure the Guide looks fabulous, and is bold, unique and more prominent than our more narrowly focussed Seasonal Clerkship Guide. Finally, we would like to thank our amazing contributors for taking the time to write for us. The people featured in this Guide have gone out of their way and volunteered their time to show us what it’s like to work in the courts, government, public interest, corporate business, private practice, academia, and rural, remote and regional locations. We could not have made this Guidebook without them, and we sincerely thank them for their contributions.
This Guidebook provides a great many insights into possible careers for law students. Whether you imagine yourself standing in a courtroom, caught up in crime (on the right side of the law, we hope!), or penning policy for the government, we hope this Guidebook will have something for you. In producing this Guidebook we have realised the plethora of ways in which people really can use a law degree. I once thought that people would either become qualified to practice, or would not — those who did not use their law degree using their legal, analytical skills in other ways. I saw this as a likely personal path. I have come to realise how many more options are available, however. For example, there are people who are very much All the best on whichever path you choose to take! using their legal knowledge in a formal way, despite not having qualified to practise. That in fact, there are Sophie & Ken many uses for a law degree that do not involve being Careers & Development Directors 2013 admitted into practice. For those wishing to become qualified to practise, this Guidebook explains methods through which you can do this. Leo Cussen and the College of Law, both Practical Legal Training (PLT) providers, and Jo Kerr
Foreword Jo Kerr Director Public Interest Law Initiative Melbourne Law School The legal profession is a rich fabric woven from many strands. Legal knowledge and skills are required in diverse settings — law graduates can work in private practices small, medium and large, government departments, NGOs, corporations, international organisations, courts, statutory and regulatory bodies, universities, community legal centres and at the Bar. They can be private practitioners, prosecution or defence counsel, judges, transactional lawyers, academics, negotiators, in-house counsel, regulators, human rights advocates, legislative drafters and law reform campaigners, to name but a few roles. A legal career offers you many opportunities to make a valuable contribution to society and derive personal satisfaction and reward from your work. The key issue for you as a law student is to negotiate effectively through the diverse options available to you, to transition into your professional career. There are some well-worn pathways from academic study into roles available to law graduates. I expect you will have already heard much about the clerkship and graduate employment opportunities offered by large commercial law firms. You are probably also aware that completing a Professional Legal Training (PLT) course allows you to apply for admission to the legal profession, obtain a Practising Certificate and then seek employment as a solicitor. However it is vital for you to remember that just because there are obvious pathways to a professional career, these are not the only options available to you. And gaining an insight into the various alternatives may provide the inspiration you need to fully realise your potential. 6
The most important consideration as you contemplate your career options is to seek a path that will address your individual needs. To be successful you must be able to put your best effort into your work, and this is much easier if you are performing a role you enjoy, alongside those with whom you share a common purpose, in an organisation with which your values are aligned. So, how do you identify the options available and potential pathways into the career that’s right for you? This Careers Guidebook provides you with an excellent starting point, given it incorporates thoughtful entries from legal professionals from across a wide spectrum of roles and organisations — the diversity of the profession is on display, and the advice provided on pathways is invaluable. To complement these entries, here are some of my tips for success:
Put some serious thought into what you value Is there an area of law that has long been your passion? Have you come across a particular area of legal study that you find intriguing? Is there a cause you want to pursue, or client group you wish to assist? What activities provide you with personal satisfaction – do you need regular interaction with people, or do you favour academic research or document analysis? Is financial reward your key motivator, or is this the last thing on your mind? Whatever your interests may be, you need to identify them before you can pursue them effectively.
Do your research Leave the confines of the library for a while and apply your research skills to exploring life beyond the law school. Consult with an advisor in the MLS Career Development Services. Attend careers fairs and information sessions, speak to legal professionals, participate in a mentoring program – ask lots of questions and listen carefully to what people say about the day to day work they perform and the satisfaction they derive from their role. Ask lecturers about the career opportunities available in their specialised area of law. Listen to fellow students describe their clerkship or internship experiences. Sit in court and watch what the lawyers do. Be inquisitive about the many and varied job roles available in the law, then sift through the information you gather, and identify those aspects that speak to you.
Experience is invaluable Don’t make judgments from afar, but go out and seek experience in areas that you are considering pursuing. You can do this as part of your studies by undertaking a Legal Internship – the many and varied opportunities available in this regard are relevant to all practice areas. You can also enroll in an experiential learning subject such as Public Interest Law in Practice or Street Law. Beyond the law school, you can seek out opportunities for volunteering, work experience, clerkships or ongoing paid employment (in an administrative role, as a paralegal or doing legal research, for example) that will provide you with an insight into specific roles and organisations. You should then carefully assess these experiences to determine your personal fit with a future function or workplace.
Identify multiple pathways into your career A legal career is a series of stepping stones, where people move from one role to another within and between organisations, building their skills and knowledge, taking up opportunities as they arise, and trying out different roles. As a consequence, there are many career starting points that can achieve the same ends.
Thomas Carlyle explains it well: ‘Go as far as you can see; when you get there you’ll be able to see farther.’ Many students set their heart on a particular job they see offered, and begin to think of it as the only viable pathway into their desired legal career. This can be a serious mistake. Putting all your hopes into one position can court disaster – I have seen job applicants fall apart in interviews because they have placed too much pressure on themselves by seeing the role as their only chance of success. You will always perform better in a job interview if you have other options to fall back on. And remember that if you aren’t offered the job, it may just be that another applicant performed better on the day, or had the right previous experience. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be the right person the next time you apply. Keep going.
Stay informed, be creative and flexible Admission requirements in Victoria changed in 2008 when the option of articles of clerkship was removed — graduates must now complete either a PLT course or Supervised Workplace Training (SWT) with a qualified practitioner. The legal profession continues to adjust to these changes so that pathways into practice are not settled. The PLT option has been taken up by many legal employers, who pay fees to enable their graduate employees to participate in a course. Quite a few employers offer SWT places, and I think more may do so if they can be persuaded that it would not be administratively onerous and could deliver benefits to their practice. Therefore, be informed about the rules and be creative. Do you understand the admission requirements? Consider, what can you do to convince a potential employer that offering you a funded-PLT or SWT position would be mutually beneficial? Also, be aware that there is currently no restriction on the time taken after graduation to undertake a PLT course and apply for admission. Don’t burden yourself by thinking everything needs to be done at once. For example, you might prefer to find an interesting job that builds useful skills and provides you with an income, save for a PLT course, complete this on-line whilst working, and then be better equipped to apply for the professional role you want after admission.
When applying for professional roles, be ready to describe what you can already do
If you aren’t sure about what you want to do, don’t panic! It’s fine just to start in a role that appeals to you and go from there. Often you don’t know what’s possible until you are in the workforce. A quote from Gaining work and life experience, in a legal setting 7
or otherwise, allows you to develop and articulate transferable knowledge and skills. There is nothing more appealing to a recruiter than an applicant who can articulate their competencies and provide concrete examples of where they have used them effectively to achieve successful outcomes. Ensure you have thought this through before you send in a job application or attend an interview. In doing so, think broadly about your studies, work and personal experience, as your unique set of attributes is what will get you the position that is right for you. For guidance on this task, you can use the Careers Assistance for MLS JD Students workbook available at the MLS Law Online webpage. I congratulate the MULSS, particularly those in the careers portfolio, for compiling this excellent resource, and recommend it to you. To all MLS students, my best wishes to you as you embark on your career planning, and I look forward to hearing accounts of your achievements in the legal profession in years to come.
“As a mature age student with a young family, I wanted a firm that would recognise my life experience, value my skills and respect my family responsibilities. Managing work and family can be a challenge, but the culture at ABL makes it much easier than I anticipated.” Nancy Collins
Our solution to your career At Arnold Bloch Leibler, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to attracting and retaining the best. So when recruiting seasonal clerks and graduate trainees, we look for people who are seeking something out of the ordinary. We value our people who bring a diverse range of skill, talent and experience to the firm. Because today’s clerks and graduate trainees are our future competitive advantage, we offer them opportunities beyond the usual run-of-the mill experience. At Arnold Bloch Leibler, we are known for doing things a little differently. As one of Australia’s leading commercial law firms, our philosophy is to look for solutions. Where others see barriers, we see opportunities. For more information about our seasonal clerkship and graduate recruitment programmes, visit the careers section on our website www.abl.com.au. 'Like us' on facebook to stay connected at: facebook.com/ArnoldBlochLeibler
Level 21 333 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia Telephone 61 3 9229 9999 Level 24 Chifley Tower 2 Chifley Square Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Telephone 61 2 9226 7100
Courts & PLT
CRIMINAL LAW Sarah Leighfield Barrister Background
Practising in Criminal Law
Back in Year 10 I had a very clear career focus – there was nothing I wanted to do more than be a marine biologist. I was a pure maths/science student. That was until a series of difficulties in obtaining work experience in marine biology led me to spend a week in a small Geelong law firm. After spending one of my days following a barrister around the Magistrates’ Court in Geelong (and getting abandoned in the police cells along the way), I was hooked. Whilst my VCE was still dominated by maths and science, I managed to find my way into a Law/Arts degree at University of Melbourne (when such double degrees still existed!).
I was very fortunate – especially given my lack of work experience – to gain articles at Galbally & O’Bryan after graduating. I spent the entirety of my articles in the criminal law department as well as two further years as a solicitor advocate. Throughout those three years I worked on cases ranging from careless driving right through to incitement to murder. I acted, and appeared, for legal aid and private clients from every possible background you could imagine.
I must confess whilst at University I was one of those students who actually wasn’t really aware of the difference between the role of a barrister and a solicitor. No-one in my family was from a law background, and it didn’t occur to me to undertake clerkships or work experience to understand what work in the real world was really like. Instead I worked at the Uni as a research assistant in the Law Faculty, was a member (and ultimately Editor) of the MULR and pursued my sporting goals alongside study. The thing I was very clearly aware of by the time I completed University was that I was not interested in being part of a big firm and I was definitely not interested in pursuing any kind of commercial law. I was interested in the more human face of law – like criminal law, international humanitarian law and to some extent family law.
The beauty of criminal law is that each person who walks in the door has a different story to tell, and no two days will ever be the same. On the other hand, the work can be incredibly stressful – for many clients their brush with the criminal justice system is one of the most significant obstacles they will ever face in their life. This can be so regardless of the seriousness of the charge. For some, even a conviction or a loss of licence can have disastrous consequences; resulting in the loss of a job or a particular career; the loss of a relationship; or even the shame and embarrassment of being outed in the media. At the other end of the spectrum, clients may face many years in jail; a lifetime on the sex offenders register; or a lifetime of psychological turmoil following on from their experiences. Culpable driving cases are a clear example of the latter where very often a young person believing he or she is invincible kills their best friend or a family member and not only spends a significant amount of time in jail – but also is reminded of the consequences of their actions every day for the rest of their life.
The transition to practising as a barrister Solicitors working in criminal defence, for the most part, will appear in court on a regular basis – but more often in the lower courts (Magistrates’ and sometimes County) and very often in non-contested or lightly-contested matters such as pleas and bail applications. The higher court work and the contested matters, as well as advice work, are more often briefed out to barristers. As much as I loved being a solicitor, there was nothing I hated more than preparing a matter thoroughly, then having to hand it over to someone else to perform the final steps. So after three years I took the plunge and completed the Bar Readers Course. I have now been a barrister for almost nine years and still specialise in criminal defence – although I have recently undertaken some Work Safe prosecution work. There is no typical day or week in my work. This week, just by way of example, has involved being in the Court of Appeal on Monday – appealing against a sentence imposed on one of my clients; in the County Court for a procedural hearing on Tuesday, followed by various meetings for Bar Committees and conferences for upcoming matters; today saw me in the Magistrates’ Court in Sunshine and then hiding away at home for the remainder of the day preparing for a trial I am starting next week; tomorrow will be more meetings and preparation; and Friday I will be heading up to Loddon Prison in Castlemaine to provide advice to a client, followed by more preparation. The work can be intense, but it is almost always varied and most of the time very rewarding.
Interested in pursuing a career in criminal law? My first piece of advice is to be prepared to repeatedly answer the question – ‘How can you defend a guilty person?’ – because there is a real misunderstanding in the community about the role of criminal defence lawyers and the part they play in the criminal justice system. My second piece of advice is to do the complete opposite of what I did. Traineeships in criminal law are very rare these days – you may still be able to find a traineeship at Victoria Legal Aid or the Office of 12
Public Prosecutions, or if you are very lucky at one of the larger criminal law firms. You may also be able to look left field and find a position in an Occupational Health and Safety team either at a private firm or in a Government body such as Worksafe. However the reality is that many private firms no longer offer traineeships, and very rarely offer them to students who they have not had any previous contact with. Whilst you are at University some of the best things you can do are to try to source some work experience at a criminal law firm or a community legal centre and to offer to do some research for a barrister – or shadow a barrister. Then when the time comes, if no traineeships are available, undertake Leo Cussen, PLT or College of Law – as there are more first year positions than traineeships available these days. Above all keep persisting. A career in criminal law is very challenging but also very rewarding and well worth the effort.
Associate to a Judge in the County Court of Victoria, Criminal List How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?
What inspired you to become a Judge's Associate?
Basically I spend my days with the Judge. This means that I spend most of time in Court, where I keep track of what is happening and have a few formal speaking roles. A lot of the work that I do is administrative: managing files; preparing court orders; keeping the diary; correspondence and communication with parties; liaising with the Court Registry and external agencies; requesting pre-sentence reports and making appointments for assessments. I also do quite a lot of research as part of my role but this is normally quick, on-the-spot research rather than preparing a long paper. I help with proof-reading and editing sentences and judgments and sometimes helping with drafting. I also help to prepare material for the jury in trials.
I wasnâ€™t sure quite what I wanted to do when I finished uni but knew that I was interested in criminal law and related areas, and enjoyed being in court. Being an associate is a great opportunity to observe different styles of advocacy, to meet people and to learn about what sorts of jobs are out there. I was drawn to the idea of doing an associate-ship because I thought it would give me the chance to observe what happens in a court room and to learn more about criminal law before practising myself.
What was your pathway to becoming a Judge's Associate? This was my first full-time job out of uni. I had done several internships and volunteering positions but hadnâ€™t practised as a solicitor nor done any clerkships. My experience was mainly in native title/land rights, criminal law and community law. You can sign up to the careers website of the Victorian Public Service and receive notification on when associate positions are advertised. I had known the judge that I work for previously so knew that a position was available. I put in the application and cover letter and then there was an interview process. All judges will advertise but some will conduct the interview differently to others.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a Judge'S Associate? Being able to work with a judge is a really unique aspect of being an associate. Law is often quite a hierarchical profession and being able to learn from someone so senior is so valuable. Spending so much time in a court room has also been a really rewarding aspect. I have learnt a lot simply by being able to watch other people perform in court. Itâ€™s also been a fabulous way to meet a lot of barristers and solicitors working in criminal law and to learn more about the different law firms.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work? Some of the subject matter that we deal with in the County Court can be very challenging. A large portion of the criminal work of the Court is sexual offences and this can be difficult at times. Another challenge is that things are very changeable. I always try to be as prepared as possible but sometimes this all goes out the window, or something else comes up that has to take priority and you can’t put the time into something that you wanted to.
What skills have been the most valuable? Learning to be incredibly adaptable and accommodating is one of the biggest skills I’ve learnt. There have been times when we have put in a lot of work for a case and then the matter is discontinued or it turns from a trial to a plea or is put off to a later date. This is just part of the job and you have to expect things to change at the last minute and be able to cope with this. The other skill that I’ve developed over the course of the job has been how to look at cases more forensically and identify what the issues in a case are going to be. I’ve learnt a lot about the law of evidence and realised how crucial evidence law is to practising as a criminal lawyer, even if you are not a barrister.
Is there any other advice you would give to law students interested in becoming a Judge's Associate? Ask around and talk to as many people as you can. It’s really helpful to have an idea of what sort of matters the particular judge sits in before going for an interview or starting a job. It’s also helpful to go and sit in Court and observe what happens as a lot of the initial learning of the job is just becoming familiar with court-room practice and procedure.
Practical Training Course (Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice) Leo Cussen Centre for Law Leo Cussen has been operating since 1972 and is • Current Matter file program – run simulated client recognised as a centre of excellence for providing files within your own PTC ‘law firm’ high quality practical training and professional • Extensive advocacy training development programs for entry-level lawyers • Collegial environment with the opportunity to through to senior legal practitioners. build friendships and professional networks that can last your entire career The Leo Cussen experience enables trainees to learn • Clinical Experience Program with Victoria Legal how to practise law in a very professional, yet friendly Aid (onsite PTC) and engaging environment. Our Graduate Diploma in • Professional Placement Legal Practice is comprehensive and well respected by • Employment Register for graduates the legal profession. • FEE-HELP available Graduates wishing to do the PTC may be sponsored by an employer. Successful completion of the PTC entitles you to apply for admission to the legal profession as an Australian Lawyer which, in turn, entitles you to practise as an Australian Legal Practitioner in any Australian jurisdiction.
Practical Training Course Onsite or Online - Your Choice
The Learning Experience The Practical Training Course (PTC) is founded on the principle of ‘learning by doing’ and is designed to lead you to reach the required Competencies in an active and practical training environment.
Current Matter Program Set up your own ‘law firm’ and run up to 10 simulated files covering a wide range of practice areas and presenting a range of legal and practical problems reflecting those you encounter in real-world legal practice.
Online delivery offers flexibility to those who have work or family commitments and who enjoy the discipline of distance education. The Onsite course suits those looking for a training experience with face to face teaching and learning. It also suits those on overseas student visas. We operate an in- house registry and banking facility to assist the simulation of real practice. Features of the Practical Training Course (Online and Onsite) Mentors • Building of practical legal skills in a broad range of practice areas You work in a small group with the guidance of one of • Mentoring by in-house legal training staff who our staff. All our training staff are experienced lawyers. guide your professional development • Visiting legal practitioners as instructors 15
Collegiality You form friendships during the course and begin to build the personal and professional networks that support you during your entire career. PTC trainees organise a variety of social activities during the course.
Course Details 24 weeks including three weeks Professional Placement Two intakes a year (Online and Onsite) commencing January and July.
A Leo Cussen graduate shares their story Randeep Singh (PTC 2011) KPMG Consultant, Tax Technical Advisory Group Australian Tax Centre After graduating from Law School, I honestly felt very lost. I was unsure about what I wanted to do, and exactly where I wanted to go. Thatâ€™s why I decided to undertake the Leo Cussen Practical Training Course (PTC). Leo Cussen taught me how the legal world functioned in a practical sense, from high level lessons such as setting up your own practice, right down to the detail of how to structure your questions when interviewing your client. When I applied for my job at KPMG, I soon realised the true impact Leo Cussen had on me. One of the tests at the interview was to read 25 pages of information, filter out what was important, and then draft a letter to a client. All in just 45 minutes. Thanks to the mock files and consistent feedback from my mentor at Leo Cussen, Stephen Fair, I managed to quickly hone in on the pivotal issues and produce a letter. When KPMG called to offer me the job, they made the point of saying how experienced and professional I came across in my letter. At that point the impact of Leo Cussen was clear: being at Leo Cussen accelerates your learning curve and really gives you an edge in the workplace. I am still finding this in my everyday role at KPMG. I now work as a consultant at KPMG Sydney and have really enjoyed the move from Leo Cussen into working life. I highly recommend the Leo Cussen PTC course for budding lawyers and those who might not quite have made up their minds just yet. It helped me make up mine. 16
Looking to get an edge? Develop your skills... Madeleine Dupuche Graduate of Melbourne Law School Lecturer at The College of Law Victoria Law school is mostly about information
What skills do lawyers need?
When you are at Law School you are pretty much focussed on substantive law. You are ‘learning the law’ in the sense of the case law and legislation in relation to each of your subjects and you’ll leave uni with a head full of legal information. But then what?
The Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers were established by the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council in 2000. They describe what an applicant for admission to practice must be able to demonstrate at the point of admission. It is worth having a look at these to see what you’ll need to be able to do as a beginning lawyer. You’ll notice that these standards are all about what you can do and they use descriptors such as: • Assessing the merits of a client’s case • Initiating legal claims • Representing a client • Negotiating a settlement • Advising and communicating effectively • Writing and drafting • Generating solutions and strategies • Time and file management • Acting ethically.
Out in the real world you’ll need to work out what to do with all that information. This is where Practical Legal Training comes in. The vast majority of Melbourne Law graduates (80%) will complete Practical Legal Training (‘PLT’) and acquire a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, either through the firm that employs them or independently. The key word in PLT is practical. It’s all about the practical application of all that legal information.
For example, in Civil Procedure at uni you learn that rule 4.02 of the Supreme Court Rules permits a party to a legal proceeding to make an interlocutory application. In PLT you learn how to actually make These skills all have elements which you can start that application, what documents you need to prepare developing now. and file, how to draft an affidavit and how to prepare and present your submissions to the court.
Are skills relevant before I graduate? Lawyers employ many skills in their day to day work, so the sooner you can start to develop your skills the better. Your CV should ideally convey to a prospective employer that you are conscious of the skills you’ll need in practice and demonstrate that you are already developing those skills through work and other activities. Being able to talk about skills will also help you perform better in interviews.
Practical Legal Training The building blocks for your legal career
Leo Cussen Centre for Law was established in 1972 and continues to be recognised as a centre of excellence for practical legal training. Leo Cussen PLT is practical, relevant, comprehensive and highly regarded by the legal profession. At Leo Cussen, you learn about the realities of legal practice from leading legal professionals who support and encourage your development as a lawyer. Our training is founded on the principle of ‘learning by doing’, with no exams. At Leo Cussen you will build practical legal skills and gain the confidence to make choices about your career. Choose the course that suits you best. • • •
Online (Full-time) Online (Part-time) Onsite (Full time)
Our PLT courses are designed for law graduates seeking to apply for admission to practise law in all Australian jurisdictions. Our graduates work in a variety of professional environments including: • • • • • • •
Private legal practice Public and legal aid practice Policy & Research Politics Business In house legal practice And more ...
For more information visit - leocussen.vic.edu.au/apply
July 2013 intake: Apply by 10 May 2013. January 2014 intake: Apply by 22 November 2013. Nb: After first round offers are made, places may still be available after these dates.
COLLEGE OF LAW FOR YOUR PRACTICAL LEGAL TRAINING
RELEVANT & PRACTICAL!“
2012 COLLEGE OF LAW GRADUATE “I found The College of Law PLT course manageable and flexible. I was able to select a course which fit with my work and other commitments and was therefore a stress free experience. I was able to gain skills which have assisted me in transitioning from my university studies to a junior lawyer.”
It does matter where you do your Practical Legal Training - make the right choice for your career & contact us today!
PRACTICAL LEGAL TRAINING
Call 1300 856 111 or visit collaw.edu.au/plt and ask for a PLT Handbook 19
Diverse Careers in Government for Law Grads Steven Brnovic MPub & Int Law (UMelb) Grad Dip Leg Prac LLB (Hons) BA “So what do you do, Steve?”, I am often asked during polite conversation, to which I would reply enthusiastically, “I’m a lawyer working in government”. More often than not, the response is one of three things: either “Like in Crownies?”; the glazing over of their eyes; or a launch into a speech about the vices or virtues of the state of a government. The answer to the question of what a lawyer working in government does is as varied and unique as the functions of the State and as challenging and complex as the issues facing the communities that constitute it. Being a legally qualified public servant, a ‘legal officer’, does not necessarily involve needing a practising certificate or a career giving written advice or appearing in court, but it can give you an opportunity to develop your legal, analytical and strategic prowess. I first started a career in the Victorian public service as a graduate recruit in 2006, right after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts in Australian politics. I then did my practical legal training with The College of Law with a view to one day being admitted to practice. I did not want to be a practising lawyer straight out of university: I felt the call to public service was a way to make a difference and to use my degrees without having to bill in sixminute intervals. And so I began a career as a public policy practitioner.
strategic, visionary and innovative. And often all before the mid-morning coffee. As a policy practitioner, you are uniquely positioned to the heart of decisionmaking in the state. As a policy practitioner with a legal background, you are also able to help administer the law and have a hand in designing it. This was certainly my experience as a Policy Officer within the Victorian police and emergency services portfolios. It was even more so as a Senior Legal Advisor in gambling regulation where we implemented one of the biggest changes to gaming in Victoria since poker machines were introduced. In both cases, the subject matter was particularly sensitive or important to the Victorian community, which was a source of motivation and inspiration. My roles involved developing and delivering projects, briefing the relevant Minister on policy matters or proposing solutions to issues that arose, assisting the Minister or decision-makers in exercising their responsibilities under a range of Acts and managing the legislative priorities of the business unit.
When you are a legal officer, legislation can take on a whole new meaning and evoke more emotion than you might have thought possible. From analysing the policy behind the legislation and settling drafting instructions, to advising a Minister on the floor of Parliament during heated Parliamentary debates, the legislative development process is something of a Public policy involves shaping the community, such as particular experience to legal officers. For an Australian by crafting and managing high-profile or high-value political-system nerd like me, it was exhilarating. projects that implement the government’s agenda. It both involves and cultivates skills that align with a law For others, developing legislation can be a means by degree: requiring a policy practitioner to synthesise which to really deeply and quickly apply and hone competing interests and ideas, negotiate with a range your legal skills. Bills I have been involved in required of stakeholders, identify and mitigate risks, and be considering natural justice, using criminal law as a tool 21
to implement the objectives of the legislation, putting into practice those obscure Latin canons of statutory interpretation, and having to develop a knowledge of related State and Commonwealth laws. Legal officers can also have experiences beyond legal policy or legislation. Legal officers can also engage in more traditional solicitor-type roles outside of a corporate or in-house environment. I worked as a Senior Legal Officer in the Working with Children Check Unit, where we managed litigation before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in relation to that licensing-type regime, as well as assisting decision-makers to discharge their functions under the legislation. Government legal officers can also be involved in prosecutions, disciplinary matters, and making decisions, such as under Freedom of Information legislation. It may be clichĂŠ to say that a career in public service is a way to make a difference or to give back to oneâ€™s community. But a career as a government legal officer can have significant tangible benefits: not only for your community but also for you, wherever your career might lead you.
Transition from corporate lawyer to public servant Brian Lau Graduate Policy Officer in conversation with Nicole Lynch the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Driven by an interest in politics and public policy, diversity before I transitioned into the public service Nicole Lynch’s career has seen the transition from as part of my longer term aspirations.” corporate lawyer to senior public servant. In recalling her time at Minters, Nicole describes the Nicole graduated with her Bachelors of Arts/Law first year as challenging but rewarding. (Hons) in 2008 after six years of study, knowing that an understanding of the legal system would one day “I got on really well with the partners in my practice prove useful when crafting public policy. group,” she says. “I learnt how to work really hard, to be accountable for my time, and I developed highly Despite always having long term aspirations of a career transferrable skills in research, analysis, conceptual in public policy, halfway through her course the idea thinking and building a persuasive case.” of working in corporate law for a short time appeared when other law students around her began preparing While working on some really interesting and their clerkship applications. challenging matters early in her career, Nicole tells me that her longer term aspirations of serving the public “I hadn’t intended to practice, but I thought that interest were still on her mind throughout this time. undertaking a clerkship might be a useful way to try out corporate law and to get a sense of whether I was “I obviously wanted to get admitted [to practice as a interested in pursuing that,” she says. Having made lawyer] but after 18 months I felt that I had extracted this decision, she went out and secured a role with a lot of value from the experience and it was time to Minter Ellison. pursue my public sector interests,” she explains. Over the four week program with Minters, Nicole gained insights into two working groups that had considerable alignment with her public sector interests – for example discovering a large government practice, in administrative law and other areas. Having seen how the legal work from this clerkship related to her longer term goals in public policy, Nicole unsurprisingly opted to apply to the firm for her articles year.
Her opportunity to move to the public service came when a friend who also took the “law to public service” path recommended she apply for a new strategic policy team being established. Despite knowing very little about the field, she took the leap of faith, knowing that working in a high performing and highly-engaged team with talented colleagues would lead to good things. Since starting a little over two years ago, Nicole has risen through the ranks from “I could see there were some very valuable skills to be policy officer to manager, where she finds the work gained, and so I decided to start my post university extremely interesting. work career in a private practice,” she explains. “I wanted to get that little bit of experience and “[As a corporate lawyer] your complete focus is on 23
your clients so it’s a very adversarial environment, As I ask Nicole about her plans for the future, she whereas in the public service you get to look creatively coyly informs me about her current Masters in Public at all the stakeholders’ interests.” Administration at the Australian and New Zealand School of Government – a focus for the next two years. Nicole’s unequivocal advice for those seeking a career While she won’t be drawn on specific career plans, I’m in the legal sector before a move to the public service told by her that she’s hoping this masters will help her is to work hard, effectively communicate with Partners contribute to the next wave of good public servants in order to get good feedback and high quality work out to create greater public value through policy. and to ask the right questions. She says this approach will serve any young professional well amid the stress of the environment.
Victorian Government Solicitor's Office Sam Funnell Managing Principal Solicitor Commercial, Property and Technology Branch The Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office (VGSO) provides strategic advice and practical legal solutions to the Victorian Government and its agencies. I work in the Commercial, Property and Technology branch of the VGSO and am part of the Information Technology (IT) / Intellectual Property (IP) team. The team acts on behalf of the Victorian Government on IT / IP projects. We provide a broad range of services from start to finish for these projects and act as a trusted adviser to guide the executives to reach a successful outcome.
expertise in systems integration and IT Outsourcing matters. During this time, I have gained a great deal of experience from the aspect of the supplier, which I will be able to utilise beneficially in my role at the VGSO.
I first became involved with the VGSO six years ago when I was working as a solicitor for a university acting on a transaction with the Victorian Government on which the VGSO was also acting. After the deal had finished, a VGSO solicitor suggested that I apply for an ongoing position with the VGSO, which I did and I have provided legal advice on many major, high- joined shortly after. profile technology procurements for Victoria Police, Department of Justice, Department of Education There are a number of things that make the VGSO and Early Childhood Development, Environmental an attractive workplace including the variety of Protection Authority, Country Fire Authority and work, reasonable work hours, a collegiate working CenITex. environment, involvement in important Government decisions and actions, flexibility to pursue an interest I have recently returned to the VGSO after taking 12 outside of work and maintain a work life balance. months leave to work for Hewlett-Packard, where I was responsible for managing IT contracts on Federal From my perspective, the most attractive aspect of Government accounts and gained considerable the VGSO is the ability to develop your own area of 24
interest and build a practice with your own clients over time. Once you have your own practice, you have a great degree of control and freedom over your own work.
My advice for current students would be to consider your future, what type of lawyer you would like to be and seek a work environment that is consistent with your goals. If you have a desire to work with matters that impact the public interest then the VGSO is a The principal duties of my role revolve around being great way to fulfil your values. a trusted adviser to my clients in my area of expertise, technology procurement and the management of IT contracts. I analyse problems and work with clients to come up with a strategy or solution and often assist with the implementation of this strategy. Within this role I am often required to rely on clear thinking and my strong communication skills.
Working at the Victorian Law Reform Commission Natalie Lilford It was not until my final semester of law school that I began to form a picture of what I might want to do within the law. I was lucky enough to gain a spot as a student case-worker at a community legal centre, working in welfare rights and public housing. The placement was the first time I realised that all the skills you gain studying law in the abstract are actually valuable and applicable to people’s lives. It was frustrating, however, to see clients dealing with similar legal problems over and over again. Although the staff had great advocacy skills and a clear picture of the areas causing problems, their heavy case load meant they didn’t have the resources or time to engage in projects to address the causes of their clients’ difficulties. After university, I began working at the Victorian Law Reform Commission. I applied for the role because I wanted to work in an environment that was geared towards looking at systemic problems and had the ability to influence change to the law. The Commission is an independent, government-funded organisation that develops, monitors and coordinates law reform in Victoria. Its goal is to recommend changes that improve the law, reflect the views of the community and are practical to implement. The Commission is the main body for law reform in the state, and has a
mandate to consult with the community. There are two main parts of the Commission’s work— projects referred to us by the Attorney-General (references), and smaller projects that are internallygenerated, usually after a suggestion from the community (community law reform projects). Each of the Commission’s projects goes through distinct phases of intensive research, community consultation and analysis of external submissions. This makes for extremely varied work, and allows staff to use a wide range of academic, interpersonal and critical analysis skills from day to day. Research and policy officers need to have very strong writing skills, and must have the ability to adapt their writing—often about very complex legal issues—to a wide range of audiences. I am currently working on the succession laws project, which initially involved a large amount of legislative interpretation and in-depth research into systems of succession in other jurisdictions. Once we felt we had a clear picture of the current issues in the law, we worked to think of ways to improve not only the legislation, but also the systems around the laws. This process can be surprisingly creative and the Commission allows its staff a lot of scope to direct their own work and methodology. 25
The project is now at the stage of consultation with a large variety of stakeholders, from those affected by the law, such as individuals and community organisations, to those who implement and deal in the law, such as the judiciary and the bar. As most groups are keen to have their views heard, the Commission enjoys good relationships with stakeholders, and great access to information and personal perspectives. The final step is analysing the views and opinions we are given and then writing a report that makes quality recommendations.
If you are interested in the process of improving the law and enjoy research, writing and consulting with a wide range of people, then working in law reform is worth considering. The Commission does not have a dedicated graduate scheme, as staffing depends on the projects that are referred by the Attorney-General and teams are hired for the duration of a project. Casual researcher positions and internships are also advertised on our website from time to time.
If you apply for a role, remember that the Commission recognises that a wide range of skills are needed to Most research and policy officers working at the promote good law reform, so be sure to highlight Commission have law degrees and those who do not not only your academic work, but also your creative usually have strong subject-matter experience from thinking and interpersonal skills. past employment or study to add to the project. Staff members have worked in community legal centres, For more information about the Commission, see law firms, government departments (such as the www.lawreform.vic.gov.au. Department of Justice or the Government Solicitor), academia and research positions. As a law graduate, it is not necessary to be admitted to practice to work at the Commission. The job has standard hours, flexible working arrangements, and a small, friendly and supportive environment (the Commission employs about 20 people).
Law in Government Cathryn Stephens Lawyer Liability Claims | Workplace, Discrimination & Disputes Unit Department of Education and Early Childhood Development One of the best bits of career advice I can give to law students is to cast your net wider than the standard clerkship at a top or middle tier firm. While a clerkship can be a rewarding experience, it wonâ€™t be for everyone, and there are other fantastic opportunities for law graduates â€“ many of which will give you more responsibility and a more diverse experience earlier on. 26
I studied law at the Australian National University, which had a strong focus on public, international and human rights law. Between this, my development studies Arts major, and working as the Cambodia Country Manager for the Oaktree Foundation alongside my studies â€“ I was never going to be a corporate lawyer.
As I wrapped up my final year and looked to graduate jobs, I knew a clerkship wasn’t for me, and set my sights on working in the community law sector. I quickly realised that opportunities for Graduate and yet-to-be-admitted lawyers were limited and hotly contested. Moreover, I thought I’d be more likely to get into this area (and do more good!) with a couple of years’ experience under my belt. The obvious destination for a public service graduate role is Canberra – but having lived in Canberra my whole life (I actually really like Canberra, which apparently renders me anomalous and/or insane…) I decided a change was imminent. I relocated with my partner to Melbourne to do the Victorian Public Service Graduate program and completed rotations at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Legal Branch), Department of Justice (Native Title Unit) and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Legal Division).
the State’s obligation to act as a model litigant, and the ability to collaborate intra- and inter-departmentally to influence or reform the systems and circumstances which might have led to the legal problem in the first place. My greatest reward is when I am able to use my various knowledge bases (legal, policy, common sense) and the collaborative input of my colleagues to deliver a holistic (not just legal) solution to what presents as a legal problem, but is vastly more complex and human in origin. In my humble opinion, the opportunities to do this kind of legal work are greater in government than in the world of corporate law. I think anyone who seeks this kind of reward – and challenge – in their legal career should spend some time as a government lawyer.
My Graduate year exposed me to a huge variety of interesting work and I had a lot more responsibility and participation in decision making than I had expected. Lawyers have so much to contribute to the work of government, from justice and corrections policy, to legal advice on policy and programs, to working as in house lawyers for Departments such as Education and Human Services. My fluctuating enthusiasm for the law of textbooks and lectures left me thinking my relationship with the law would be lifelong, but tenuous – if not volatile. But in the workplace, the law comes to life, and I surprised myself by being a true law nerd at heart. This was particularly true of my time with the Legal Division of the Department of Education, where I was exposed to the nexus of law, policy and the State’s role in one of society’s most integral institutions – the school. I ultimately secured an ongoing position in the Workplace, Discrimination and Disputes area of the Division and have had the opportunity to work on both legal matters and policy issues in family, education, workplace, commercial, discrimination, tort and administrative law, among others. Both the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of my work are due to the inherently human issues involved. Sometimes the law is a blunt instrument, and limited in its ability to deliver win/win, sensible outcomes for people. Thankfully, working for government means these aspects of the law are somewhat mitigated by a number of things, including 27
LAW GRADUATE IN GOVERNMENT Catherine Luong Graduate Legal Division — Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Where did you study law, and did you to it; the first was a role play where we had to be a representative of one of the departments and say undertake any additional studies?
what we thought about a certain issue. The second I did a Bachelor of Commerce/ Law at the Australian component was report writing. We were given about half an hour to write up a report. The third component National University in Canberrra. was a behavioural interview.
What were your reasons for making the If we passed the assessment centre, we were put on decision to pursue a career in the public the order of merit and then we just had to wait for the service? departments to call and interview us. I volunteered at a legal centre in Canberra for about 9 It was a really long process and each stage after the months and I liked how nice and relaxed people were selection criteria was really hard and I thought I failed. when the focus is not on making money but moreso It was really unenjoyable but worth it in the end. on helping people.
As a Graduate at the Department of What was involved in the application Education, what kind of work do you process? predominately deal with? It was actually really difficult but I’ve talked to There are four units in the Legal Division: Commercial graduates in other jobs (private and public) and it is and Property, Legislation and Government, Workplace, Discrimination and Disputes and Children, Families no worse than any of their recruitment processes. and Education. It started with an online application — there were about 5 questions and we were to write a maximum I am working in the Children, Families and Education of 200 words for them. This was in a way the easiest unit. We get calls from principals of schools around part of the process because the questions were not too Victoria with legal problems and we provide advice. hard to answer. But it was also quite difficult because Principals have quite a variety of legal issues so it is it was your only chance to get your foot in the door so really interesting. it had to be great. Also, in our grad year, we have to work in three If we passed that we had to do an online psychometric government departments. So I’m starting in the test. That was really hard. We laugh about how terribly Department of Education but in June I will move to the Department of Justice, and then four months difficult it was. later I will work at the Department of Health. It gives If we passed that, we were invited to attend an you an opportunity to see how the other departments assessment centre. There were three components work and also to try out different sorts of work. 28
What does a typical day involve? My days are pretty varied and it just depends on what sort of work needs to be done but I guess a typical day would be one of the lawyers would give me a matter file that they need further instructions about. I would call the principals to get all the details about their legal matter. Then I would look at legislation and policy to find out how the Principal should deal with the issue. Having undertaken this research, the final step is to draft a letter of advice to be approved by the lawyer responsible.
Does your current role require you to draw on the skills you learned as a law student? If so, which of these skills is most necessary for a career in the public service? Definitely research skills. I have had to do quite a bit of research and it is useful to know how to use the legal databases like Austlii and LexisNexis. It is important to be able to write clearly. Writing is so important that all of the grads are required to attend a ‘Writing for Government’ training course.
What are the most challenging aspects of your work? This is a hard question because everything I’m doing is quite new to me so everything is hard because I don’t know anything. But at the same time, I haven’t been thrown in the deep end at all. I haven’t been given any work I can’t handle. Everyone is also so helpful and supportive.
And the best part about the job? It would definitely be the people. The people I work with are so nice and helpful all the time. They know that I am just a grad and I am only starting out so they are really patient with me and will take the time out to explain things to me. I also really like the other grads. I don’t actually work directly with them but there are about 10 other grads in the Department and we catch up every week to share stories. Especially in the first couple of weeks when you feel a little lost, it’s definitely good to know there are other people who are feeling the same way and we give each other tips to get through it. 29
dEPARTMENT OF fOREIGN aFFAIRS AND TRADE As a dynamic agency working in a complex and business administration. environment, the department is looking for graduates from varied backgrounds. Applications for the 2014 graduate programs will be open 21 February – 18 March 2013. We are looking for graduates with high-level analytical and communication skills. People who are adept at Need more information? working in teams. Practical, results-oriented people who are able to work under pressure, occasionally in Website: www.dfat.gov.au/jobs/graduates difficult environments, meet tight deadlines, and who are pro-active in getting out and about and making Email: email@example.com contacts. We are looking for graduates with a strong record of academic achievement, as well as extra-curricular activities in whatever form that might take, be that paid work supporting yourself through uni, involvement in community groups and events, or a range of other activities. We are looking for graduates who have a genuine interest in international issues and understand the contribution Australia can make internationally. Successful applicants will have a strong record of academic achievement and usually have honours, combined or higher degrees. However, academic qualifications are not the sole criterion for selection. Applicants will also be assessed on the quality of work experience, extra-curricular achievements and community activities. The department is looking for graduates who are: • talented and highly motivated • good communicators • strategic thinkers and practical problem solvers • team players, flexible, adaptable and resourceful • sensitive to, and appreciative of, difference and diversity. In recent years DFAT policy graduates have had degrees in Antarctic studies, architecture, arts, Asian studies, business, commerce, communications, computer science, economics, international relations, language studies, law, medicine and science. Corporate graduates have had degrees in commerce, accounting, human resource management, arts, ICT 30
Australian Taxation Office Join our world-leading community of more than • develop a network of contacts across our 24,000 people determined to keep Australia’s revenue organisation. system vital, fair and progressive. You will receive technical and corporate training, and We interact with a diverse range of individual and a starting salary among the highest in the Australian business taxpayers, as well as tax and superannuation Public Service. professionals. You must have successfully completed your relevant We offer the opportunity for diverse experience degree in or before semester two, 2013 and you must and the unique chance to play an important role in be an Australian citizen by October 2013. supporting the tax and superannuation systems that underpin the Australian way of life. For graduate testimonies and for further information about the program please visit our website, www. By working in our dynamic, innovative and destination.ato.gov.au. internationally recognised organisation, you can be sure that you are enhancing your professional Recruitment Process reputation. The recruitment process usually consists of an online Use the qualifications and experience you have application, quiz, testing and interview. This process attained and realise more about your chosen specialist can take up to 5 months from when applications area in a professional, practical environment. close as we do traditionally receive a high number of applications. We value the diversity your discipline brings and we know that one job does not fit all. We offer a number Applications for the 2014 Graduate Development of different specialities or streams in our graduate Program are open from 4 March 2013 to 2 April 2013. program, depending on your qualifications. You can send an email to GraduateProgram@ato.gov. If you have the relevant degrees you can apply for au if your question is not answered on the Destination more than one of these streams: ATO website. Law, Finance and Accounting; Information Technology; Business Design; Marketing Communication; People Management; and Business Management. You will be exposed to a variety of work situations to develop, enhance and hone new skills and knowledge while you engage in a number of key business activities. Experiencing diverse work environments will help you identify areas that interest you most. During your 12-month graduate program you will: • • • •
be offered challenging, interesting work; undertake relevant specialised hands-on training; develop your skills and knowledge; shape your career; 31
Environmental Defender's Office Nicholas Croggon Lawyer What does the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) do?
impacts of mining, giving legal advice over the phone to people trying to protect their environment or attending Court to stop logging in threatened species The EDO is an independent, not-for-profit, habitat. community legal service, specialising in public interest We are a small office, and we are the only office in environmental law. Our work includes: • providing legal advice and legal representation to Victoria that works on public interest environmental individuals, community groups and conservation law — so our days are never dull! organisations working to protect and enhance the environment. What was your pathway to becoming • contributing to environmental law reform and involved with the EDO? What inspired policy development by monitoring developments you to work for the organisation? in Victorian and Commonwealth law and, where appropriate, making submissions to Government I first worked as a lawyer at a commercial law firm. I relating to existing and proposed legislation. • developing and promoting community legal ended up moving to the EDO, because I realised that education programs to assist communities commercial law was not for me. While the training and individuals to be involved at all levels in was great, in the end I kept asking myself: what are the long hours and stress for? environmental decision-making processes. • conducting seminars, workshops and conferences. I certainly haven’t left behind stress and long hours, but I now love my job — because I know that my efforts How would you describe what you do on a are meaningful, going towards something important, day-to-day basis? that I can feel proud of. We have two teams, who do two different types of work. On any given day, our law reform team might be writing up a submission to a State government proposal to change a law, researching a report on what new Commonwealth environmental laws should look like or preparing to make oral submissions before a Senate inquiry in Canberra.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work?
Public interest law always has its challenges. Unfortunately, these usually boil down to power and money. When you are trying to use the law to protect the environment, particularly in cases involving climate change, you are often fighting against vested interests. Similarly, people or groups trying to On the same day, the lawyers in our casework and protect the environment often have few funds, which advice team will be running workshops in eastern makes running important cases very difficult. These Victoria about how the law regulates the environmental problems add an extra layer of difficulty to normal lawyering work. 33
Fortunately, Victoria has a great tradition of public additional study in a related field such as science interest legal work, and we can always turn to people or environmental policy are encouraged to apply. for help. • Early-year law students should consider our semester placements rather than internships.
What opportunities does the EDO have for:
1. Current law students interested volunteering with the organisation?
EDO semester placements see students volunteer one full day per week during semester. Students assist with all aspects of our work. Duties include: • answering the phones • undertaking legal research • assisting with casework, law reform and educational projects • carrying out administrative tasks. 2. Current law students interested in interning with the organisation?
What skills do prospective employees need to work at the EDO? • post-admission experience in a relevant field such as environmental law, litigation, administrative law or similar areas of practice. • Knowledge of current environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity protection and water management. • An ability to work with and relate to clients from community groups, conservation NGOs and similar organisations. • Good file management skills. • Demonstrated commitment to and interest in environmental and social justice issues.
What advice would you give to current
The EDO offers voluntary internships of two weeks law students who are interested in over both the winter and summer breaks.
working at an organisation like the EDO Opportunities available include providing paralegal later in their career?
support in EDO cases, contributing to policy and law reform projects in areas such as biodiversity Stay in touch with us! protection and climate change, and researching and You can do this by: updating publications. • Volunteering – most of our staff are former volunteers. We treat you as a member of our staff team and expect that you will contribute to our work accordingly. • Coming along to our public events – we usually run something once a month. You will help us run cases, sit in on client meetings, conduct legal research, and contribute to our work of • Participating in our fundraising – every year we fundraise by participating in the Melbourne using the law to protect the environment. Marathon (even our very unfit lawyers). You can join us! 3. Recent law graduates? The EDO has professional legal volunteers with experience in environmental law who volunteer one full day per week in the office, assisting with all aspects of work.
What skills do prospective volunteers and interns need to work at the EDO? • Should be law students with a genuine and demonstrable interest in environmental issues, social justice issues and environmental law. • Completion of an environmental law subject is useful but not essential. • Later-year law students and those pursuing 34
Australian Conservation Foundation Sari Baird General Counsel What does the Australian Conservation Foundation do?
What was your pathway to becoming involved with the Australian Conservation Foundation?
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is Australia’s leading protector of the environment and My career pathway was from a conventional was established as a nationally focused NGO nearly commercial base: After I graduated from the fifty years ago. University of Melbourne I worked as a solicitor in commercial law (at Freehills) in Australia and at their ACF stands for ecological sustainability and we overseas office in Indonesia. work for lasting social and economic change so all Australians can enjoy a healthy environment Six years later, I moved to regional Victoria and while my children were young I did some law lecturing How would you describe what you do on and volunteered at the local community legal centre. I studied my Master in Law, which deepened my a day-to-day basis? interest in the connection between effective laws, As ‘General Counsel’ I am a lawyer employed by society, culture and values. the ACF who focuses on the legal needs of that organisation. ACF, like any organisation or company, I then returned to commercial practice as a Legal has to abide by laws that regulate how it owns assets, Counsel with an ASX listed company and at the receives funds, how it accounts to its stakeholders and same time I joined two charity boards in the arts and museums sector. how it presents in the real and digital world. The variation in my work is both interesting and challenging: the other day I worked on a contract for community programs about uranium, an advice about taxation and donations, an advice on complying with the Commonwealth Electoral Act and then I rounded the day out by completing a policy submission to the Commonwealth and State Governments on State and Federal duplication in associations law (ACF is an incorporated association).
What inspired you to work for the organisation? My ‘extra- curricular’ involvement with boards, the community legal centre and volunteering at my children’ sporting clubs gave me an insight into the valuable contribution that has been made to our lives by the not for profit sector. So many of the institutions which give our life meaning and which are humanising emerge from the community.
I also work with specialist lawyers, like the Environment Defenders Office and our pro bono law I also became aware that law can be a real barrier for firms who offer support and expertise that deepens this sector as it is not easy for people without formal ACF’s resource base. legal training to understand complex laws and they do not always have the funds to pay for advice. I was 35
lucky that I had worked on tax, trusts and the basic 2. Current law students interested in interning with business and company laws in the commercial world. the organisation? I was inspired to work for ACF as it has a fantastic history and a reputation for effective advocacy for the environment. ACF also has a tradition of working with all sectors in the community and it has been a national leader amongst home-grown Australian environment organisations through some of our biggest environmental challenges.
I do accept interns from the Melbourne Law School over summer. 3.
Recent law graduates?
ACF is happy to take expressions of interest but there are currently no vacancies.
Taking up this role gave me an opportunity to combine What skills do prospective my legal career and interest in not for profits with my volunteers/interns/employees need interest in a better more sustainable environmental to work at the Australian Conservation future.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work?
• A passion for achieving lasting change to Australia’s complex environmental solutions. • Legal volunteers need to be able to work Mine is a very, very busy and unpredictable role. independently, collaboratively and with initiative. The areas of legal practice are diverse. It is hard to be • Good analytical and writing skills. ‘current’ on each area, so you need to be effective at refreshing your knowledge of the law or finding out What advice would you give to current about unfamiliar areas of law, analysing and applying law students who are interested in it to a particular scenario.
working at an organisation like the Australian Conservation Foundation later in their career?
In-house legal practice is also challenging compared to, say working in a large law firm. In law firms your colleagues speak the same ‘language’ whereas inhouse you have to keep it plain and simple. For work as an in-house counsel: undertake some initial work in as broad a range of legal practice In facing these challenges, I would like to acknowledge as possible, definitely gain exposure to corporate the important support our sector receives from law or general commercial work. Volunteer with an firms. In ACF’s case Arnold Bloch Liebler, King & organisation that you want to help, in any capacity, Wood Mallesons and Corrs Chambers Westgarth especially in organisations that are located in less welllawyers are all generous with their time and for serviced areas in like the regions or outer suburbs. example, may provide help with a contract for digital services or with training on the law of defamation. It makes a difference here and I hope they enjoy some satisfaction from having contributed their talent to the not for profit charity world.
What opportunities does the ACF have for: 1. Current law students interested in volunteering with the organisation? ACF often puts out calls for volunteers for a range of events, festivals, seminars, Melbourne Open House and sometimes for administrative support to the legal ‘team.’ 36
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre James Wardlaw Staff solicitor What does the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre do? The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia's largest asylum seeker aid, health and advocacy organisation. We care and advocate for asylum seekers and work with individuals, couples, and families, primarily from the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. The ASRC is an independent and non-government funded human rights organisation.
What is your role at the Asylum S eeker Resource Centre? I am a staff solicitor in the Human Rights Law Program. The Human Rights Law Program (the Law Program) is a Community Legal Centre accredited by the National Association of Community Legal Centres, auspiced within the ASRC. It comprises 4 full time paid staff and 100 volunteers, and currently assists approximately 200 clients. The Law Program provides legal services to asylum seekers and other people at risk of serious harm upon return to their home country. Solicitors represent our clients before the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Refugee Review Tribunal, the Federal Courts and UN bodies when required. They also provide legal advice to non-clients, engage in legal policy work, research and community legal education on a regular basis.
valuable file management and administrative skills. After volunteering in this role for 6 months I was transitioned to a legal casework role where I worked closely with asylum seekers completing statements of claims. Following this I was provided the opportunity to start attending Department interview and Refugee Review Tribunal hearings with the solicitors of the ASRC. As a volunteer I was also provided the opportunity to draft several legal submissions ranging from submissions in support of clients protection visa applications to Individual Communications to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. In late 2012 I was admitted and offered a solicitor position with the ASRC Human Rights Legal Program.
What inspired you to work for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre? Has it met your expectations? The plight of asylum seekers in Australia is a commonly misunderstood issue. After actually finding out the facts about those who seek asylum in Australia, I realised there was a disproportionate political agenda and adverse media response to an incredibly small group of people seeking protection in our country. After meeting and working with asylum seekers and refugees and developing a keen interest in international law and migration law, I could think of no better opportunity than to work with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
How did you become involved with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre?
The ASRC has significantly exceeded all expectations. Despite being significantly under resourced, the ASRC has managed to create a cheaper and more humane In early 2011 I was lucky enough to secure a volunteer model for how asylum seekers can be processed in position with the ASRC Human Right Law Program. Australia without people coming out of detention with I started as paralegal volunteer where I gained severe mental and physical health concerns, without 37
the need for mandatory detention and without the need for expensive offshore processing.
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?
What skills do prospective volunteers/interns/employees need to work at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre?
• Interest in refugee law Much of my role as a staff solicitor is actually • Excellent organisation and administration skills resource and people management such as volunteer • Excellent communication skills, including the capacity to work with vulnerable clients and with coordination, training and client file management. I am the assistance of interpreters currently responsible for around 45 active files, which means I oversee everything that is happening on each • Ability to take initiative and work independently file. Whether it is a client waiting for an interview with • Ability to take and follow instructions the Department of Immigration and Citizenship or a • Qualified solicitor and Migration Agent (for employees) pending Federal Court matter, I spend time working • Experience working with clients in a legal setting with volunteers, barristers and clients to ensure that (desirable) all the required documents and materials are being completed and submitted to highest standard possible. Regularly, I am also required to attend department Do you have any tips for students interview, tribunal hearings and court hearings to on how to approach the application advocate on behalf of our clients. process?
What opportunities does the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre have for:
On a regular basis the ASRC will list on the website a call for applications for specific programs. The ASRC also runs several evening information sessions Current law students interested in volunteering throughout the year where prospective volunteers with the organisation? have the opportunity learn who we are and what we stand for and the kind of work we do. Applications Given the growing interest in the program, the ASRC will then be taken following these information is currently taking applications for those students in sessions. the final or penultimate year who can commit to one full day a week for 12 months. Current law students interested in interning with the organisation? The ASRC offers a fantastic internship program over the holiday periods. We offer a minimum 2-month, full time internship program where interns can expect to get valuable experience in file management, working directly with asylum seekers and research and drafting legal submissions. Recent law graduates? The ASRC has comprehensive Practical Legal Training program for those interested in completing their legal placement. We offer a structured and supportive placement opportunity where PLT students can expect to gain valuable practical experience and also be vested with the responsibility of managing several client files. 38
Refugee Council of Australia Lucy Morgan Information and Policy Officer What does the Refugee Council of Australia do? The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. We promote the adoption of humane, lawful and constructive policies towards refugees and asylum seekers both within Australia and internationally through conducting research, advocacy, policy analysis and community education.
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis? My role – Information and Policy Officer – is a varied one, cutting across almost every aspect of RCOA’s work. I could be organising a fundraising drive, representing RCOA at a meeting with key government personnel, drafting a submission to a Senate inquiry, attending a meeting with refugee community leaders, updating RCOA’s website or delivering a training session on working with people from refugee backgrounds.
What was your pathway to becoming involved with the RCOA? What inspired you to work for the organisation? I began working with RCOA in 2007 as a volunteer while I was completing my undergraduate degree. Volunteering helped me to develop a much better understanding of refugee policy issues and the importance of having an independent, authoritative voice like RCOA to promote constructive policy alternatives. It also allowed me to get some “hands on” experience in working for an NGO, which I couldn’t have gained through university studies alone. When a
job vacancy opened in 2009, the knowledge and skills I had developed through volunteering made me the preferred candidate for the job.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work? As a small organisation with limited funding and a broad mandate, it is an ongoing challenge for RCOA to maintain the volume and responsiveness of our work. We work in an area of policy that is highly politicised and often volatile, which means that we have to be able to respond quickly to emerging issues. At the same time, we can’t lose sight of the issues which might not necessarily make headlines, but which are essential to building an effective refugee and humanitarian program. It is a challenge to maintain this balance, but the dedication and hard work of our Board and staff team helps us to get the balance right.
Are there any skills that are particularly valuable to RCOA that you see law graduates as able to contribute? RCOA does not provide legal advice or casework to refugees or asylum seekers. However, much of our policy work focuses on assessing the impacts of and making recommendations to improve legislation. Strong research and analytical skills are always valuable to an organisation like ours, as is the ability to work flexibly and independently.
can be fierce and having “hands on” experience can What advice would you give to current really give you an edge. It also allows you to broaden your skills and experience and demonstrate your law students who are interested in working at an organisation like the RCOA commitment to a cause. I know many people in the sector who got their start through volunteering – in later in their career? fact, two of RCOA’s current staff members (myself included) began working for the organisation as For anyone who is interested in working with the volunteers. NGO sector, I would highly recommend doing some volunteer work. Competition for jobs in the sector
Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre Angela Dwyer Solicitor and Migration Agent; Volunteer Co-ordinator What does the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC) do? RILC is a community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice. We offer free telephone and evening advice services to all, and ongoing casework to those whose cases have merit and are unable to access services elsewhere. We participate in an active program of policy development, law reform and advocacy, seeking to ensure that Australia’s migration and refugee programs operate in a just, fair, ethical and humane manner. In addition, we conduct a substantial legal education program, including courses for migration agent purposes, continuing professional development seminars and community education sessions.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in Refugee and Immigration law? What inspired you to work for RILC? At the law firm I worked at I began to do migration work and found it very interesting, in particular those cases involving the representation of vulnerable members of the community who were having migration issues, including refugees. Because I was interested in assisting asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants in the community, and had realised I wanted to work ‘face to face’ with clients, I sought to become involved with RILC and was lucky enough to obtain employment there.
In addition I had also always been interested in human rights law and refugee law at university, and now What was your pathway to becoming find the complex ‘migration law maze’ (Australian migration law legislation) and its interaction with involved with the RILC? refugee and human rights law fascinating and I worked at a law firm for four years after receiving continually challenging in a positive way. my law degree, before starting at RILC. During that time I also volunteered for a number of years for other community based legal centres where I had exposure to issues such as women’s rights in domestic violence situations, which often included newly arrived migrant women, and legal issues faced by asylum seekers. 40
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?
What opportunities are there at RILC for law students now and later in their careers? What skills do prospective My work on a daily basis involves face to face client volunteers/interns/employees need to work, including taking detailed instructions and work at RILC? providing advice, representation and advocacy at all administrative levels, including the Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC), Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) Migration Review Tribunal (MRT), and less frequently at the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in relation to character cancellation matters.
RILC is always grateful to receive applications from both volunteers who are registered migration agents; and those who are not registered migration agents. Volunteers make a major contribution to RILC’s casework and advice service. Their commitment and generosity are greatly appreciated, and represent a vital component of the Centre’s ability to substantially My work frequently involves representing asylum address the acute unmet legal need in the immigration seekers, refugees and applicants for family stream visas, and refugee areas. and other temporary and permanent visas available under migration legislation, as well as handling urgent Non-Migration Agent volunteers: situations such as stowaways, forced deportation and Law students and recent law graduates who do not the detention of offshore arrivals. This representation hold a practising certificate normally fall into the of vulnerable clients also involves communication and category of non-Migration Agent volunteers. Nonnegotiation with government departments including Migration Agent volunteers who attend during the the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, day assist us with research tasks, including research the Department of Human Services, and other on case law at the RRT, MRT, the Federal Court and administrative bodies such as the MRT, the RRT and High Court, country information relating to human VCAT. rights, or other information or research the lawyers here require, which can be very varied. Non-migration My work also involves co-ordination and supervision Agent volunteers also assist the administrative staff of volunteers and their provision of legal advice at with administrative tasks here in the office. We are RILC’s weekly Evening Advice Service, and has in looking for those with excellent research skills, and the past involved co-ordination and supervision of those with an interest in human rights and refugee volunteers and their provision of legal advice during law, and a genuine interest in finding the answers to taskforces to offshore processing centres such as tricky questions! Christmas Island.
What are some of the challenges you face I n your work? We face a number of challenges in our work as lawyers at RILC. We work with people with distinct disadvantage often related to their cultural or linguistically diverse backgrounds, or experiences of torture or trauma. It can sometimes be challenging to obtain clear instructions from clients who are traumatised, and indeed to be satisfied that they understand often very complex legal advice given their mental state. We also face logistical challenges, with many of our clients spread around remote offshore detention centres around Australia. At RILC we strive to overcome these challenges and I believe we do a good job in doing so given the legal centre is so specialised and experienced in these areas.
Non-migration Agent volunteers also assist us at our weekly Monday night service by being a first point of contact for clients attending the service. For this purpose we require competent and friendly administrative volunteers at the front desk who are ready to assist with answering client’s questions about how the service works, assisting them to fill out client sheets, or helping the migration agent volunteers or supervisors with a given task such as photocopying the client’s documentation. We are looking for those who are patient, enthusiastic and friendly and who also have an interest in assisting vulnerable members of the community such as asylum seekers and refugees. RILC will consider all applications for an internship on a case by case basis as we do not have a general process for this type of application. Please indicate that an internship is what you are interested in on your volunteer application form. 41
Registered Migration Agent volunteers: Registered Migration Agents assist us by consulting with clients under supervision at our Monday night service and/or during the day. In order to see clients or give migration advice, one must be registered with the Migration Agent Registration Authority (MARA). This is not something law students can normally participate in as to register you must either be an Australian Legal Practitioner or have completed the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice. Information about this requirement is available on the MARA website, www.mara.gov.au
Do you have any tips for students on how to approach the application process? The first step is to complete a volunteer application form available on our website www.rilc.org.au indicating what sort of volunteer work you are interested in. It is very helpful if you can attach a copy of your latest CV, and highlight any research skills you might have in the refugee or human rights or migration law areas. As RILC is very busy sometimes it does take some
time for us to get back to you for which we apologise and are ever hopeful of improving. I therefore advise giving us a gentle reminder that you are still interested if you have still not heard back from us, but to expect some delay.
What advice would you give to current law students who are interested in working at an organisation like the RILC later in their career? I would advise you to get involved now, so that you can get a feel for the centre and how it works and the type of work we do here. Many of our law student volunteers who volunteered with us when they were at university have gone on to become lawyers and registered migration agents and who now assist us in many different ways including volunteering at the Monday night service or on offshore taskforces. Many past volunteers have also become permanent staff members at RILC, either as lawyers or as administrative staff. I would also advise you to complete subjects relating to refugee law, migration law and administrative law, as these will help you with your work here.
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Ari Spierings Human Resources Officer What does the Victorian Aboriginal Legal organisation employs both solicitors to undertake the organisationâ€™s legal work, and a range of other Service Co-operative Limited do? The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited provides legal advice and representation for the Koorie community. Further, the organisation aims address both the causes and effects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage and improve the access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to high quality and culturally appropriate legal aid services so that they can fully exercise their legal rights as Australian citizens. To that end the 42
community engagement and policy staff to improve the quality and efficiency of service delivery as well as inform and provide advocacy around public policy and law reform to the ultimate benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis? The organisation is comprised of a number of arms,
What opportunities does Victorian covering research, education and policy, a client service officer program and the legal practice. The Aboriginal Legal Service have for: legal practice is comprised of family, civil and criminal law sections. The civil law section is small 1. Current law students interested in volunteering and takes casework, advice and referrals as well as or interning with the organisation? legal education. Volunteers and interns have an opportunity to work The family law section deals with child protection within a dynamic team of committed professionals cases, intervention order applications and family who see the representation of our clients as more than law matters. The solicitors participate in outreach, a processing task. You will be exposed to a broad range undertake advice and case work and appear in court. of matters across the state and across all jurisdictions. You can also participate in para-legal, research, public The criminal section is the busiest section of the policy and community legal education. service. The lawyers service the whole state and deal with bail applications, pleas, contested matters, trial 2. Recent law graduates? preparation, advices and outreaches. Most criminal lawyers are in court most days. Law graduates wishing to undertake their practical legal training will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced practitioners and community How did you become involved with the members in looking after our clients. The skill set Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service? will include file management, client contact, limited What inspired you to work for the advocacy if appropriate, research and submissions. organisation?
Preston and the surrounding areas have a high Koorie population rate and host a number of Aboriginal organisations such as the Aboriginal Health Service, Victorian Aborigines’ Advancement League, Bert Williams Aboriginal Youth Services and now the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (since January 2012). Our lawyers and volunteers are inspired to work at VALS because of the plethora and scope of the legal matters it receives on a daily basis.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work? The challenges that this work presents are complex. We are an under-resourced organisation and so there are constant struggles to stretch the available resources to cover what is the challenge of ever-increasing numbers before the courts. The social and economic disadvantage that gives rise to interaction with the justice system has not abated. This government is legislating away from therapeutic models of justice to punitive models that do not assist in the medium and long term rehabilitation of community members. The challenges are multi-faceted. Policy, practice, grossly over-represented client base and under resourcing.
What skills are required of those wishing to become involved with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service ? People wishing to become part of the organisation need to bring a commitment to social justice and an understanding of the opportunities and challenges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community face. Experience working with people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds is highly regarded, especially when the organisation is seeking to take someone on as an employee. The level of technical expertise required will depend on the nature of the role.
Do you have any tips for students on how to approach the application process? Of primary importance to VALS management is cultural fit. The organisation is controlled by the Victorian Aboriginal community and it is important that prospective volunteers/interns and employees are looking to ‘walk alongside’ the community members it serves. With this in mind, students applying for roles with VALS should ensure they understand the role the organisation plays within the Victorian justice system, the factors impacting on the lives of VALS’s clients and they should also give some consideration to how their 43
own existing experience, and the role they are looking tangible difference to people’s lives. If students are to take on, might contribute to improving outcomes. considering looking at working at an organisation like VALS in the future, they would benefit from What advice would you give to current gaining experience working with socioeconomically disadvantaged clients and being able to demonstrate law students who are interested an understanding of the causes of disadvantage and a in working at an organisation like passion for social justice.
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service later in their career?
As a community sector organisation VALS attracts people who are committed to and passionate about their work. The solicitors’ roles are diverse and provide people with an opportunity to make a
Human Rights Law Centre Hugh de Krester Executive Director What does the Human Rights Law Centre do? The HRLC is an independent, non-profit, nongovernment organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting human rights in Australia and beyond. We do this through a strategic combination of evidencebased advocacy, research, litigation and education.
workplace law, foreign policy, journalism, politics and history. I also owe a lot to inspiring teachers like Ian Malkin, Gillian Triggs and Tim McCormack.
What was your pathway to becoming involved with the Human Rights Law Centre? After studying Arts and Law at Melbourne University,
Why did you decide to pursue a career in I did a three month internship at the Australian Human Rights law? What inspired you to Mission to the UN in New York and then started work for the Human Rights Law Centre? working at Mallesons in 1999, mainly in workplace I want to make a positive contribution to society and put my education and privilege to good use. I want to do work that is personally satisfying and I want to work with people I admire and respect. I feel very fortunate to do the job I do. If I look back on my interests at university, in many ways my current job combines them — human rights, international law, 44
law and litigation. I also did some volunteering at a community legal centre and a small human rights organisation. Mallesons seconded me in 2003 to work at the Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre for 6 months. I loved the work and ended up managing the legal centre for the next 3 years. I then joined the Federation of Community Legal Centres in 2007 to follow my interests in law reform and policy. I started at the HRLC in February 2013. I’ve also served as
a part-time Commissioner on the Victorian Law Reform Commission and am currently a Director on the Sentencing Advisory Council.
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis? I lead a small, highly capable team. We run a small number of larger legal matters which are strategically important and which fit within our priority areas such as police accountability or Indigenous rights. We enjoy great support from a number of large law firms and barristers allowing us to undertake a range of litigation using pro bono co-counselling arrangements. Media work, policy and law reform, advocacy, education and building partnerships are key to how we work and the HRLC has an important role in UN treaty body NGO engagement.
What are some of the challenges you face in your work? The large majority of our funding and resources come from non-government sources – philanthropic foundations, donations, events etc. It takes time and effort to build this support but it is crucial to our ability to independently advocate on human rights issues. A mundane challenge we are facing at the moment is finding more office space.
What opportunities does the Human Rights Law Centre have for students now and the further down the line in their careers? Due to space issues, we aren’t currently recruiting volunteers or interns but keep an eye on our website for opportunities once we have more space near the end of 2013. We don’t recruit law graduates directly but graduates interested in a career in community legal centres should look at the Federation’s CLC Law Graduate Scheme (see www.communitylaw.org.au). If you start your career at a corporate firm, look out for opportunities for pro bono work and secondments. We couldn’t have the impact we have without the enormous support of pro bono firms.
What advice would you give to current law students who are interested in working at an organisation like the Human Rights Law Centre later in their career? I didn’t set out to work at the HRLC and in fact it didn’t even exist when I was at university. But I did have a general career direction and made choices to follow the work I wanted to do (when I left Mallesons to work in a community legal centre, my pay almost halved but it was the best career move I made). Because of my interests and work and volunteering experience, I have had opportunities that have led me to my current role.
Public Interest Law Clearing House Belinda Johnson Referral Service Lawyer What is your role at PILCH?
commercial law anymore, and I managed to get a job in the investigations and compliance unit at Victoria I work in the Referral program. I assess inquiries that Legal Aid (VLA). I really enjoyed the change and the come in from potential clients. If clients are eligible different areas of law that VLA specialises in. The staff for our assistance, I refer their matter to a barrister for were great too. merits advice and if needed, representation in court. If an instructing solicitor is required, I also make But then a friend of mine who works at PILCH told referrals to law firms. me they were after another lawyer and I was fortunate enough to get that position. I have been at PILCH Why did you decide to pursue a career in now for over 4 years.
Public Interest law? What inspired you to work for PILCH?
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I have worked as a lawyer for over 15 years, mainly in financial services law. But I did not find that type of I liaise often with other staff about legal matters. law particularly appealing, and I no longer wanted the We deal with so many areas of the law that you just canâ€™t be an expert in them all. I assess inquiries and I stress of long hours providing legal advice. spend quite a lot of time on the phone trying to refer I am far more interested in helping disadvantaged matters to barristers and law firms or community or marginalised people who cannot afford to pay legal centres. Then there are administrative tasks such for legal services. The diverse work that PILCH as preparing a brief, writing referral letters and other does and its commitment to furthering the public correspondence, and ensuring all referrals and file interest and improving access to justice means my notes are properly recorded on our databases. And of work is very rewarding. And the staff at PILCH are course I read memorandum of advices that come in passionate about what they do, so itâ€™s a great working and I discuss these with the clients. environment.
What was your pathway to becoming involved with PILCH? I started off in a large commercial law firm, then I worked as an Associate to a Supreme Court Judge. I then worked with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, before trying a small boutique financial services law firm. I then left law for a few years as I was no longer enjoying it. When I returned to law, I knew that I did not want to work in 46
What are some of the challenges you face in your work?
Some of our clients have mental health concerns or are in a very emotional state due to their legal issue. Sometimes they have multiple legal issues, which makes their matter complex. Often we canâ€™t assist a client due to resourcing, capacity or various other reasons. Handling such clients can be challenging and it is important to manage
expectations. Dealing with urgent inquiries for legal assistance can be stressful too.
What opportunities does PILCH have for law students? Due to the nature of our work, there are limited opportunities for volunteers and interns. But from time to time specific project work becomes available. There are far greater opportunities for practical legal training students.
Do you have any tips for students on how to approach the application process? Be as professional as you can and make sure your resume and cover letter have no spelling errors.
What advice would you give to current law students who are interested in working at an organisation like PILCH later in their career?
What skills do prospective Our staff have very diverse backgrounds. It doesnâ€™t volunteers/interns/employees need to matter what your legal experience is, if you are work at PILCH? passionate about the work we do and possess the
skills listed above, you might find yourself working at Excellent written and verbal communication skills are PILCH at some point in your career. very important. Enthusiasm and a willingness to do anything also helps!
North Melbourne Legal Service Linda Gyorki Project Manager and Solicitor What does North Melbourne Legal Service do? North Melbourne Legal Service (NMLS) is a not-forprofit community legal centre (CLC) that provides legal assistance to financially disadvantaged people who live, work, study or engage with services in the City of Melbourne area. NMLS provides legal assistance through drop-in services and outreach legal assistance. NMLS is also in partnership with the Royal Womenâ€™s Hospital in its Acting on the Warning Signs project.
How did you become involved with NmLS? What inspired you to work for the organisation? I work as a lawyer and I manage the Acting on the Warning Signs project at NMLS. This provides me with a valuable opportunity to assist in empowering disenfranchised individuals to be made aware of their rights and entitlements. NMLS has a unique approach of looking at legal assistance in a holistic and multidisciplinary way and this drew me to the organisation.
How would you describe what you do on a day-to-day basis? In my role, I provide legal assistance to clients, I prepare and deliver presentations to health professionals, I attend meetings with stakeholders and on occasion, I prepare law reform submissions which are informed by my work.
What opportunities does NmLS have for:
3. Recent law graduates? Although NMLS does not have a graduate scheme of its own, last year it was fortunate to have benefited from the Federation of CLCs Graduate Scheme. The scheme provides law graduates with the possibility to gain experience in CLCs.
What skills do prospective volunteers or interns need to work at NmLS?
1. Current law students interested in volunteering Applications from students who have completed at with the organisation? least two years (or equivalent) of legal studies will be given preference. Applicants are encouraged to have Volunteering at a CLC provides students with the a demonstrated interest in social welfare, community opportunity to apply theory to practice. Student development or a related area and to have strong Volunteers at NMLS are rostered on a weekly basis for research and analytical skills. A comprehensive list four hours per week. Student Volunteer positions are of key competencies and requirements for student offered for semester one (March to June) and semester volunteers can be found on our website (www.nmls. two (July to November) of the academic year and a org.au). more limited number of positions are available for the summer period (December to February). Summer What advice would you give to current volunteers are rostered on for one day per week. 2. Current law students interested in interning with the organisation?
law students who are interested in working at an organisation like NmLS later in their career?
NMLS encourages applications for placements Start by volunteering at a CLC. Whilst providing however such placements are dependent on resources the relevant CLC with much appreciated assistance, you are also learning valuable skills that you can use and organisational commitments. during your career.
Internship: McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer Annie Zheng Last winter, I interned at the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, a joint initiative of the Cancer Council Victoria and the Union for International Cancer Control. The McCabe Centre conducts legal research, policy development and advocacy across international and domestic issues surrounding the effective use of the law in cancer control and public health.
was ready to gain some practical legal experience. The Legal Internship subject offered a great opportunity to expand my skills, get exposure to the legal work undertaken by public interest organisations and get subject credit at the same time. While I entertained the idea of practising commercial law, I was also attracted to the idea of working in a non-commercial context and seeing how the law could be utilised to Like most of you, I spent the majority of my first year serve the public interest â€“ in particular, policy and law fretting over assignments, exams and how to be a reform work. â€˜good law studentâ€™. By the time I reached second year, I 48
When I saw the McCabe internship opportunity advertised on the MLS Career Development Services job board, I thought it would be the perfect fit for me because I had a strong interest and undergraduate background in health science and was eager to learn more about how it intersected with the law. Also, I enjoyed studying international law at uni but always found it difficult to see how it applied in a day-today legal context, so this would be a great chance to see how international law actually influences the development of domestic laws and policies. During my internship, I undertook legal research and produced memorandums on issues in international trade, investment and intellectual property law, drug control law and constitutional law. These were areas in which I had little to no prior experience, but which I now consider to be incredibly live topics that I hope to study as electives. The McCabe Centre fostered that interest by providing the opportunity to undertake research projects which guided my own independent learning, and it was definitely advantageous to be able to work with professionals who had a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge. My research and legal writing skills were sharpened, as well as my ability to think creatively when it came to addressing emerging and unprecedented legal issues in international and domestic law.
come with studying all semester). Above all, I was able to form some fantastic professional relationships and received invaluable advice from mentors and colleagues. Doing an internship is a unique opportunity to not only develop your own skills, but get a glimpse of the day-to-day activities of your supervisors and see what it is really like to be a legal professional working in the public interest. Before my internship, I didn’t really know what a career in public interest would look like. I had little understanding beyond the commercial law firm career path. While I am still very interested in exploring the commercial pathway, I would definitely consider working in the NGO sector. The benefit of working for NGOs is the opportunity to get exposed to a wide range of legal issues on a daily basis – issues that adversely affect the disadvantaged, powerless and under-represented. To have the ability to engage in policy development, law reform and advocacy work for their benefit is an extremely satisfying way of contributing to the community.
The highlights of my experience include: having my research disseminated to highly-respected public health organisations, assisting on articles to be published in academic journals, and having a unique opportunity to participate in conferences with policy advocates from international institutions. I am also extremely lucky to have worked with some of the most intelligent legal professionals who are leaders in their field, and to have received advice, guidance and friendship under their mentorship. The challenging aspects included getting my head around difficult international law concepts not previously studied, trying to grasp highly contentious legal issues – although my supervisors were always happy to help and give guidance when needed. Having had limited experience working in an office environment before, I found the internship to be really beneficial in terms of familiarising me with the practical expectations of full-time work. The early mornings were definitely an adjustment, but I really enjoyed the productivity of a full working day – I never felt like I was losing momentum when I had specific tasks and projects to do (unlike the drudgery that can 49
Internship: Victoria Legal Aid Daniel Thomas Last year, as part of the MLS Career Development Services Internship Program, I was given the opportunity to undertake a winter internship with Victoria Legal Aid (VLA). The experience was one I would highly recommend to any law student who wants to gain really practical and useful career skills while contributing to the important work VLA does in protecting the rights of socially and economically disadvantaged Victorians.
university, work and travel commitments. To top it off the lawyers and administrative staff are genuinely friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and passionate about their work.
From the safety of the law school, it can be quite easy to lose sight of the fact that every day, real people with serious disadvantages and a lot on the line are struggling with the justice system. My time with VLA has not only given me valuable career skills but it also I was one of four VLA interns, working in the Civil brought this reality sharply into focus and reaffirmed Justice department. Our role involved assisting clients my decision to study law. who suffered from mental illness, homelessness, neurological disorders or substance abuse issues, and who had outstanding debt registered at the infringements court. Itâ€™s hands-on stuff, no standing by the photo-copier, checking your email 500 times or making coffee. The day to day work of drafting memos and letters, managing client files, running clinics for clients, communicating with various parties and conducting legal research is valuable practical experience â€“ the bread and butter of legal working life. The most challenging and rewarding aspect of the internship by far was the in-court advocacy. As a law student, to be able to speak in court on behalf of a real client with a real legal issue is a great learning opportunity and one you are not likely to find anywhere else. The advantage of infringements is the ability to see a case right through, from the initial client interview to the court appearance and outcome. However the VLA Civil Justice department also offers access to areas such as migration, social inclusion, mental health and disability advocacy and commonwealth entitlements. The opportunity to expand your workload into these areas is always available and VLA is happy to facilitate this. Fitting an internship around study commitments can be difficult, but all the interns were allowed a great deal of freedom and flexibility to work around other 50
AT CORRS, YOU’LL WORK ON DEALS THAT SHAPE AUSTRALIA’S BUSINESS LANDSCAPE. TO ENJOY MORE VISIT CORRS.COM.AU/GRADUATES
OPPORTUNITIES WITH MACQUARIE Lucy Morgan Information and Policy Officer Each year Macquarie offers students from a variety of tertiary disciplines both summer intern and graduate opportunities where you will receive handson experience in a challenging, dynamic work environment*.
we recruit have the ability to find their niche and excel in a challenging environment. At Macquarie, we offer real responsibility from day one, giving you the exposure and freedom to determine your own career path.
You may have opportunities to engage in: • Advisory services • Financial analysis and modelling • Quantitative analysis • Research and sales • Trading • Accounting/audit • Human resources • IT • Risk and credit analysis • Compliance.
*As at 30 September 2012
Underpinning our reputation as a market leader in a broad spectrum of financial and investment markets is the quality of our people. In joining our graduate and/or summer internship program, you can be part of a successful team where your contribution is valued from the moment you walk through the door. *Opportunities vary from year to year. Please ensure you check the careers website once applications open to confirm which business groups are offering summer intern or graduate opportunities.
What we look for We seek high calibre candidates who have a strong interest in the financial services sector and a genuine interest in working at Macquarie. In particular we look for: • high levels of motivation • above average analytical skills • excellent communication skills • teamwork • entrepreneurialism • creativity • a strong sense of integrity • well rounded individuals demonstrating a strong track record of academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities, and/or participation in community based initiatives.
Relevant disciplines include:
Accounting, Actuarial Studies, Business/ Commerce, Computing, Economics, Engineering, Finance, HR, Why Macquarie? Information Systems, IT, Law, Mathematics/ Statistics, Macquarie is a global provider of banking, financial, Sciences. advisory, investment and funds management services, employing more than 13,400 people across 28 Citizenship/residency requirements countries*. Australian citizens and permanent residents only The diversity of our business and our commitment to (including New Zealand citizens). managing career development ensures that the people 53
Position locations Typically NSW - VIC - WA - New Zealand
Further information • • • •
Website: macquarie.com.au/graduates Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +61 2 82374477 e-connect newsletter: macquarie.com.au/econnect
How to apply Online: macquarie.com.au/careers
OUR PROGRAMS Graduate program Working with some of the best people in the industry, our graduate program enables you to join a specific group and participate in a structured induction, learning and development program during your first 12 months with Macquarie. On the job training and postgraduate education is a significant part of a graduate’s ongoing professional development. Orientation, together with a comprehensive range of external and internal courses and networking opportunities are an integral part of the graduate program. Summer internship program Macquarie’s summer internship program provides an opportunity for students typically in their penultimate year of study to work full time over the summer break. Students join various teams within Macquarie’s business groups, typically between November and February. Throughout this time students benefit from a hands-on experience, increased exposure to the financial services sector and an invaluable insight into the career opportunities offered at Macquarie. The summer internship program provides an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your potential, and gives you a significant advantage when applying for graduate opportunities. The ideal outcome of the program is a graduate offer at Macquarie. 54
Program deadlines 2014 Australian Graduate program • Tuesday 9 April 2013, 12pm AEST 2013/2014 Australian Summer internship program • Melbourne office: Thursday 27 June 2013, 12pm AEST • All other locations: Thursday 25 July 2013, 12pm AEST We encourage you to submit your application well in advance of the advertised dates on our careers website.
ANZ - A Day in the Life Lauren Hildebrand Bachelor Commerce/Bachelor Laws Group Strategy Describe your typical day. I am currently in a 9 month rotation in Group Mergers & Acquisitions and the best thing about this team is that there is no ‘typical’ day. Group M&A is responsible for conducting all acquisitions and divestments across the ANZ group. We often work on two or three projects at any one time, not to mention the ad hoc tasks that come up.
Group Strategy and Group M&A. I was keen to work on the strategy side because it would provide me with valuable insight into ANZ’s businesses and operations, as well as provide interesting problem-solving based work. M&A is a more technical field where my finance and legal knowledge are tested on a daily basis.
What's the best thing about the graduate program and what's the biggest lesson you've learnt as a graduate?
On any given day I could be compiling information briefs on potential acquisition targets, building valuation models or researching transaction multiples to estimate the price of a business, scouring through The best thing about the graduate program is the documents in due diligence or meeting with the legal connections you make with fellow graduates across the bank. Although I do not work with other graduates on team to discuss contract negotiation. a day-to-day basis, we have regular networking events We are constantly working towards deadlines to and training days which bring as all together. The role meet counterparty demands or internal approval of graduate means you can approach senior leaders procedures. Each day brings new challenges and in the organisation and they are more than happy to take time out to discuss their role, career and provide learning opportunities. general advice.
Why did you choose ANZ and the particular program stream?
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt so far is the importance of attention to detail. Whether this is making sure presentations use the correct ‘ANZ blue’ I chose ANZ because it is a large and diverse or triple checking numbers in financial statements to organisation, offering a variety of career options. I get the valuation right. The work that we do in Group also liked ANZ’s Asian connection, as I hope to work Strategy is used by senior members of the bank as overseas in the future. the basis for key business decisions so there is little margin for error. The graduate program was particularly attractive because of the ‘graduate project’. This is where graduates are assigned into teams to work on a real business issues. You work with fellow graduates and various parts of the business over a 4 month period to develop a business proposal which culminates in a half hour presentation to senior stake holders. My program involves nine month rotations through 55
ANZ profile There are infinite career paths before you. The trick is broad range of roles: working out which one is right for you. • 18-month development program • Rotations across various roles The ANZ Graduate Program gives you the opportunity • In-depth orientation and business-specific to experience a broad range of roles across ANZ – for inductions example Relationship Management, Product Design • Work on a project and present to senior ANZ and Technology to Business Analysis, Risk Assessment executives and Retail Banking. By giving you experience across • Networking opportunities across ANZ multiple roles, you’ll be better equipped to choose the career that’s right for you. Seeking
Graduates who are driven to perform with excellence. We look for people who actively come up with As a graduate at ANZ, you’ll get the chance to make a solutions, work collaboratively and are able to deliver difference in ways you never thought possible. great results for our customers. We’re an organisation that’s focused on our people. Application Dates Our environment is built on fostering the skills, talents and interests of all our staff and ensuring that great Applications open 28 February 2013. Refer to our work is rewarded. We hire graduates who we believe website for information on application deadlines. will have lasting careers with ANZ.
The ANZ Vision We’re in an exciting period of growth as we work towards becoming a super regional bank. We’re broadening our global presence by leveraging off our strong foundations in Australia, New Zealand and across Asia. This means that we are able to offer our employees access to a greater knowledge base and more opportunities than ever before. You’ll be able to have real involvement guiding ANZ through this growth period.
What We Offer • • • • •
Training and development Challenging roles Attractive remuneration and rewards Extensive support Outstanding career opportunities.
Our Graduate Program The ANZ Graduate Program is professionally designed to give you the opportunity to experience a 56
Strategy consulting at bain: A former law student's perspective David Yang Consultant Sydney Office Bain history Bain’s generalist approach is an excellent foundation • Joined Bain as an Associate Consultant (AC) for developing a broad management skillset. In my in 2009, promoted to Senior AC in 2011 and four years at Bain, I have had the opportunity to work Consultant in 2012 in four continents, on 16 different projects, across • Worked with Bain in Sydney, San Francisco, almost as many industries. The skills that you will London, Houston, Johannesburg and Melbourne develop are transferable across industries and borders, opening up countless future career options.
• Bachelor of Laws (Honours), UNSW • Bachelor of Commerce, UNSW • Solicitor, Supreme Court of NSW Before joining Bain I worked at two national commercial law firms across their litigation, banking & finance and M&A practices. While I had thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual challenge of law at university, I quickly discovered that I was not particularly drawn to the practice of law.
In my view, a legal education can equip students with a skillset that translates well into a career at Bain. As with the law, consulting demands a structured, logical and rigorous mindset that “cuts through” masses of data and facts, in order to drive to the key insights. Further, lawyers are trained to quickly develop informed opinions on complex matters – a valuable skill which lies at the heart of Bain’s “hypothesisdriven” approach to problem solving.
Instead, I found myself attracted to a career in strategy consulting for two reasons – the opportunity to have a greater impact on top-level business decisions and also the variety of experiences that consulting can provide. Bain is typically engaged by clients to work on business issues that are at the top of the CEO’s agenda, such as corporate strategy or organisational design. Even as a fresh Associate Consultant at Bain, you will play a pivotal role in crafting the recommendations that we make to business leaders. 57
The Boston Consulting Group Phil Barker Associate Once upon a time, like you, I ventured all the way back perform well. to the non-legal section of the LSS careers handbook. It's a wonderful place. I encourage you to spend some The opportunities time here. One of the best things about BCG is that it offers Since graduating from my Melbourne law degree, I've a world of opportunities beyond the day-to-day worked for The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). consulting tasks in your home office. I'll outline just some of the reasons why I think it's a fantastic place to work and somewhere you should If you want to travel, BCG has more than 78 offices seriously consider applying. in 43 countries and helps staff go where they want to work. Should you wish to undertake further The work postgraduate studies, like an MBA, MPA or MPP, these are also considered by BCG. Many BCG staff At BCG, we do genuinely interesting work. We tackle are currently studying at the world's top schools like the big problems and challenges facing our clients, Harvard and London Business School. If you want to and create a lasting impact on their organisations, do a secondment, BCG can work with you to help find businesses and industries. BCG has expertise across the best possible placement. industries from resources to government, media to private equity, and many more, and we work across In Australia, we work across a range of pro-bono disciplines from strategy to operations and IT to projects, including indigenous welfare and health corporate development. Because we work on a project reform, sporting and arts organisations, city basis, in your early years at BCG, you'll get exposure development, business incubation, and education. to a diverse range of industries and business problems. We also provide local community support such as mentoring high school students, and have active charity committees in each office. The people BCG employs an incredibly varied mix of people. My starting cohort included a former Vice President of Macquarie, a Rhodes Scholar and a doctor. The diversity of backgrounds and the calibre of staff make BCG an extremely dynamic and interesting place to work. With many staff working on exchange and travelling, the office has a thriving social life. It also places great value on the growth and development of its staff and will help you to round out your skill set. BCG equips its staff to reach their full potential with a combination of targeted feedback and development strategies and also recognises and rewards those who 58
We look for people with a high level of motivation, intellectual curiosity, integrity, teamwork and leadership capabilities, credible communication skills and excellent academic skills. You do not need a business background to join BCG, but an interest and curiosity about business is required. We welcome applications at any time from those interested in joining BCG. Each year we hold a graduate recruiting campaign around March, where we encourage applicants to start at any stage in the following year to apply.
We also offer penultimate year students an opportunity to apply for the BCG Australia and New Zealand Scholarship. This scholarship opens in July/August each year – check out our website for details. For further information, please refer to our website www.bcg.com.au
McKinsey & Company Jessica Chiew Bachelor of Laws, Honours, Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne Career highlights to date? 2012-Present: Business Analyst, McKinsey & Company, Melbourne. I’ve worked on a variety of interesting projects including developing a global growth outlook for a major commodity for an Australian mining house; working on-site to implement a landmark mining performance improvement project; developing longterm regional demand estimate for steel; and defining the growth strategy a leading Australian retailer.
What do I like best about McKinsey? The real sense in my day-to-day work that I’m helping companies solve their most important and challenging problems; the opportunity to work with a group of incredibly talented, fun and supportive people; and the chance to work in interesting places around the world.
Why did I choose McKinsey over law?
that the opportunities that McKinsey presented, even in my first year of work, were unique and better suited to what I wanted from my career. In particular, it was the commercially challenging and high impact environment, the real responsibility, the collaborative approach to solving problems and the early exposure I would get to the business fundamentals across a range of industries and leading companies.
Why did law make me a good management consultant? First and foremost, legal reasoning requires logical and structured thinking. This is at the core of how management consultants work. Second, the communication skills I developed from my law degree and mooting/debating experience made it naturally more comfortable to think on my feet and be forthcoming in sharing my opinions, which were skills that were valued in both team and client situations.
It definitely wasn’t an easy decision to not pursue a career in law and get admitted. I had completed law internships both in Australian and overseas which I had really enjoyed, and even after receiving an offer from McKinsey I was still considering working at least a few years in law beforehand. Ultimately, I decided 59
Citi - a leading global investment bank Matthew Miller Analyst Corporate & Investment Banking As you approach the end of your law degree, many of you will have developed an interest in the corporate and commercial aspects of your studies and be looking to practise in these areas at a large law firm. However, if your interests lie in these areas – and you enjoy working with numbers – a career in corporate and investment banking might be the perfect fit.
Melbourne office at Citi will show that almost two thirds of us have a law degree and we have five former lawyers in the office. The reality is that in corporate transactions legal and financial issues are invariably intertwined and your legal training will regularly set you apart from your commerce peers. Additionally, your skills in analytical reasoning and argument development will always sought after by banks.
Almost two years into the job, I feel more equipped to answer the question “what do investment banks do?” In my opinion, Citi is a great bank to commence your than I did when I graduated. career at for a number of reasons. Investment banks provide financial advice to ASX 200 companies on key decisions that management and boards make in the life cycle of a company – from IPOs, to strategic M&A, to distressed capital raisings, to a company’s first offshore bond issue. At Citi, we typically operate in small teams on multiple deals at any one time. Consequently, as analysts you are given enormous responsibility and client exposure at a junior level. The hours at times can be long, but the day-to-day variability of the job continually challenges you to sprint up the learning curve. On Monday you will be at a kick-off meeting for a takeover defence, on Wednesday you’ll be building a valuation model for an iron ore company and on Friday you’ll be meeting with lawyers to draft a prospectus. Upon commencing as a graduate at Citi you’ll attend one week of training in Sydney and then head to New York in July for five weeks. Here you’ll receive detailed training in accounting, corporate finance and financial modelling, and have the opportunity to form a global network. But as is so often the case, the most valuable training you’ll receive will be on-the-job and often whilst you are in the middle of a live transaction. Investment banks highly value the skills that are developed through a law degree. A brief poll of the 60
In Australia, the business has huge momentum which has resulted in us climbing up the league tables in recent years to now be one of the dominant franchises locally across, M&A, equity and debt. In Melbourne, the Citi team prides itself on being an innovative team with a flat and inclusive culture. Whilst investment banks are notorious for churning through analysts, at Citi we’ve had virtually no analyst turnover in recent years as a result of the strong culture. Finally, Citi is clearly the most global of the investment banks with offices in 160 countries and a market leading franchise in Asia. As the shift in finance slowly turns to emerging markets, no other bank will be able to capitalise on this trend more than Citi. If this article has sparked your interest, then I think it is vital that you do your research prior to any interviews as the application processes at investment banks are highly competitive. Banks will look to hire well rounded students who are highly motivated and can demonstrate a strong interest in finance. Internship closing date: 27 June 2013 Application website: www.oncampus.citi.com
â€œMy clerkship at ABL was both rewarding and representative of the work I now experience. I worked closely with my supervising partner, with real responsibility and access to high quality work.â€? Daniel Mote
Real work, real responsibility and real law For some, a clerkship can be pretty much a hit or miss affair. Depending on the luck of the draw, your experience can be working your own files, or working the photocopier. But at Arnold Bloch Leibler, like you, we believe that clerkships and graduate traineeships are really important. You have a right to expect real work and real responsibility, and the opportunity to make a real contribution to the firm. This is exactly what we deliver. Right from day one. For more information about our seasonal clerkship and graduate recruitment programmes, visit the careers section on our website www.abl.com.au.
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Level 21 333 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia Telephone 61 3 9229 9999 Level 24 Chifley Tower 2 Chifley Square Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Telephone 61 2 9226 7100
Property Law Gia Cari Lawyer Arnold Bloch Leibler You interact with real property — be it commercial, industrial or residential — every day of your life. It is a part of your life when you enter a lecture theatre at university, walk into a shopping centre to buy your groceries in the evening or when you go to a movie theatre on the weekend. A property lawyer will have been involved in drafting the construction contract between the property developer and the construction company to build the lecture theatre. A property lawyer will have assisted the owner of the grocery store to obtain planning approval and permits from the local council. A property lawyer will have drafted and negotiated the commercial lease between the landlord and tenant of the movie theatre. The many facets of property law are at work all the time. Practising in the property & development group at Arnold Bloch Leibler is challenging, interesting and always very rewarding. Arnold Bloch Leibler’s clients include some of the country’s most well known property developers and investors, including MAB Corporation, Becton Corporation, Baron Corporation, Multiplex, Australand, ING Industrial Fund and Walker Corporation, to name just a few.
Bloch Leibler is that you will have the opportunity to be involved in actual transactions with real responsibilities from the very beginning of your career. I have been given the opportunity to work on bigger transactions as well as handle smaller matters independently. At Arnold Bloch Leibler, my greatest learning opportunities have come from regularly being able to work directly with clients and with the firm’s partners. The opportunity to work as part of a big team and balance those commitments with the responsibility of running your own files is very rewarding. It can also be very stressful and challenging but the team of lawyers and support staff that I have worked with are very talented, inspiring and always supportive.
I was also greatly attracted to working in property law because much of the work dealt with by property law practitioners interacts with a number of other areas of law, including tax, banking, corporate law, trusts and litigation. I have also had the opportunity to work on property due diligence matters, stamp duty issues, Foreign Investment Review Board advice, leasing agreements and a number of commercial and In 2009, Arnold Bloch Leibler was the Corporate residential planning law matters. INTL legal awards winner of the ‘Best Law Firm in Australia for Commercial Property Law work 2009’. There are a myriad of paths down which you can walk The award reflects the property & development group’s in order to pursue a passion for property law, but if commitment to excellence and the outstanding quality you are fortunate enough to work in the property & of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s clients. development practice at Arnold Bloch Leibler, not only will you be given lots of responsibility but you will As a law graduate in Arnold Bloch Leibler’s property also be working with a team of dedicated professionals & development group, you will have the opportunity that will support you as you take the first few steps in to work directly with clients from start to finish. You your new career. might be involved in a transaction from the initial conception stage of a development project through to the final completion and settlement of a transaction. The distinguishing element about practising at Arnold 63
Public Interest Law Peter Seidel Partner, Public Interest Law Arnold Bloch Leibler Arnold Bloch Leibler takes its commitment to the community seriously. For 60 years, we have, in addition to advising clients on a fee paying basis, practised a philosophy of giving back to the community by providing free legal and advisory services to various cultural, social justice and environmental causes.
Arnold Bloch Leibler is also a strong supporter of many Indigenous causes. In addition to legal representation, the firm reinforces its partnership with Indigenous groups wherever and however possible. For example, our Senior Partner, Mark Leibler AC, is a Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia.
To co-ordinate our significant community services, Arnold Bloch Leibler has established a public interest law practice, of which I am the head. It lies like a transparency over the firm and is a key part of its identity. It is no mere adjunct. As the context requires it, most of the firm’s lawyers participate at different times in public interest law work, doing so in novel, flexible and telling ways.
We are particularly proud of our long association with the Yorta Yorta peoples, in support of both their struggle for land justice in the courts, from the Federal to the High Court, and now beyond in the international arena, and their indefatigable efforts to mediate their inherent rights to “care for country” in a spirit of respectful co-existence.
The practice is intentionally targeted to areas where the firm’s skills, knowledge and resources can best be utilised. Without expectation of fee, or for a minimal fee, from the client, our aim is to further the public interest by assisting individuals or organisations in need to defend or assert rights and interests, develop the law or improve the administration of justice. Arnold Bloch Leibler advises many environmental and general social justice not-for-profit organisations, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greening Australia, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Children’s Cancer Institute, to name a few. The firm has helped to establish synagogues, churches, schools, hospitals and funds, attracting for them associated tax benefits. Arnold Bloch Leibler is also an active member of, and a contributor to, the Public Interest Law Clearing House, which refers pro bono cases to law firms. We have applied our legal research, analytical and writing skills in public policy formulation on community issues, including racial discrimination and vilification, disability discrimination and the legal meaning of “charity”. 64
At Cape York (with the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wuthathi peoples), in the East Kimberley (with Jirrawun Arts and Jirrawun Health) and along the length of the Murray River (with Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, a unique confederation of Indigenous Nations), the firm is assisting on the ground to usher in innovative governance structures and processes. The aim is to support the Indigenous efforts to replace the all too prevalent paternalistic models that are forced upon Indigenous peoples and only serve to entrench the welfare state. We readily and gratefully acknowledge that our public interest law work has assisted us in the recruitment, nurturing and retention of the very brightest and the very best talent. Choosing Arnold Bloch Leibler as you build or strengthen your career means you will automatically become part of our public interest law team. You’ll have an opportunity to refer clients to the practice and to contribute directly or indirectly to it and to the public good, according to your value-adding expertise, availability to assist and passion for the cause at hand.
Paralegal Sarah Jones In the spirit of this Careers Guide, it is my intent to offer readers a genuine insight into work as a Paralegal – I note from the outset however that my experience is limited to one firm, and thus cannot hope to offer a full account of the nature of the work which may be undertaken in this role in the legal profession more broadly. Nevertheless, there exist a number of general experiences which may offer an idea of the advantages of pursuing employment as a Paralegal.
come to realise that there exists a deep sense of fear towards the justice system, particularly with respect to the costs involved, but more frequently an anxiety around the legal documents people are asked to understand. Getting to the end of a conversation and realising that you’ve been able to assuage someone’s concerns or worry is a great feeling – it’s easy to forget that legal issues can become the centre of people’s lives when they arise, and it’s important to ensuring they have access to justice that they understand the process Prior to commencing my current role, I had little in which they are involved. idea of the kind of work paralegals were involved with. Having spent just over a year working at a firm, The million dollar question I suppose is “How do I it has become increasingly clear that the reason for get a job as a Paralegal”, and unfortunately as with this uncertainty is that the tasks we are perform are most things in the legal profession, the answer is incredibly diverse. My job in a general sense is to not a simple one. My experience has shown that the provide whatever support necessary to the lawyers two most common pathways are existing networks, with whom I work – but this changes on a daily basis, or the clerkship process. Existing networks is really and the ability to be adaptable is thus highly important. a euphemism for “friend who already works there” – but it’s important to be aware that this often forms A typical day tends to involve at least some the greatest source of paralegals for many firms. If you administrative work – preparing briefs for Counsel, know someone working in a firm, perhaps a mentor organising and collating documents, filing documents or friend, it’s worth just letting them know that if at court or delivering materials to chambers – the basic anything were to come up internally, you’d appreciate but essential work which ensures relevant parties have them keeping you updated. Many firms however all of the information they require. offer an opportunity to submit your resume online, which they keep on file – there is absolutely no harm The more interesting work generally arises when new in sending through this information, and given how matters are taken on, and I have an opportunity to be busy lawyers and HR staff tend to be, this resource is involved in the discovery process. Whilst this can be a well-utilised tool. an overwhelming task, as literally thousands of pages are worked through, many of which may be irrelevant, I would most certainly recommend this job to it involves substantive analysis and the ability to students – even if not intending to practice, it’s a great efficiently process volumes of new information. This is experience and provides countless opportunities to probably my favourite aspect of my work, as it means witness the legal system in action. we work closely with the lawyers and are thus exposed to some of the legal analysis and preliminary case building which is undertaken. I have also really enjoyed the tasks which require direct communication with clients – whilst obviously I can’t provide legal advice, many people are simply looking for reassurance or an explanation of the various matters which they are involved with. I have 65
The Challenges of Academia Jason Bosland Senior Lecturer IN MEDIA LAW Melbourne Law School I didnâ€™t make a conscious choice at first to become a law academic. Rather, like many things in life, it was a career path that just seemed to evolve naturally. My strengths at law school were always in research and writing; I enjoyed the process as well as the fact that there was a clear tangible result for all the effort put in. After finishing my LLB, I obtained employment as a Research Assistant. This led to securing a fulltime position as a Research Fellow at MLS, working with Professor Andrew Kenyon on a three-year ARC funded project looking at issues surrounding the transition from analogue to digital television. During this time, I was also fortunate enough to get some teaching experience, which I really enjoyed. By the time my contract had expired I was convinced that life in legal academia was for me.
What's involved in being an academic?
colleagues and students who share the same sense of inquisitiveness and love of learning. The flexibility afforded by academia also makes it particularly wellsuited to those who need to juggle employment with family commitments.
What challenges are there? Securing an ongoing academic appointment, however, is by no means a walk in the park and involves many personal sacrifices. For one, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain a job without a doctoral degree. For many universities, it is an absolute prerequisite. This, of course, is not all bad news, considering that writing a PhD dissertation will allow you to spend three years immersed in developing your scholarship in a particular field of law. What better way to spend your time? However, it does mean that you might have a period where you end up eating baked beans out of a can. (I managed to obtain a position without a PhD and I am ambivalent about whether this has been to my disadvantage or not). In addition, you will also need to have some teaching experience and some research published in top quality journals.
The work of an academic is generally split into four key areas. Research and teaching each make up 40 per cent of an academicâ€™s overall workload, while university administration (sitting on university and faculty committees, directorship of programmes) and community engagement (media commentary, public lectures) make up the remainder. Furthermore, I would advise anyone contemplating an academic career to gain experience from a range of institutions, both as a student and as a staff member. Why academia? This means that if you completed your LLB or JD at one The advantages and benefits of working in academia institution, perhaps undertake your PhD at another. are many. Indeed, some are obvious. Academics enjoy Different institutions work differently; some are the freedom to set their own research agendas and extremely collegiate, others are not; some are research to immerse themselves in their chosen specialty. The focused, others are teaching focused. By testing the results of academic research are usually published waters, you will find an institution that works for in peer-reviewed journals as well as in edited books you. and monographs and, in many cases, will make valuable contributions to developments in the law. This can be immensely gratifying. In addition to this, academics have the privilege of being surrounded by 67
What it takes to be an Academic Tanya Josev Lecturer Melbourne Law School If you enjoy communicating and debating about ideas and legal principles with a diverse group of people, and have no desire to wear a suit every day, then academia might be the career for you! An academic’s life is a busy but fulfilling one: you have the flexibility to research in areas that particularly interest you; you have the opportunity to travel and to engage with academics and practitioners across the globe; you may be able to contribute to public debate about pressing legal topics; and you are given the opportunity to have a dialogue with law students through lecturing. (In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that you will also have administrative responsibilities, some of which will be less thrilling than the roles I have just mentioned, but all lawyers deal with some form of paperwork or another in their jobs, don’t they?).
interest in a particular area to be able to devote several years of your life to exploring it in detail. Independent research work can be isolating, both socially and mentally, so keep in mind the importance of continuing to be involved in the wider academic community and the faculty (perhaps through discussion groups, conferences, and of course teaching).
I think that for most people, the postgraduate experience is likely to be equal parts thrilling, intellectually stimulating, and also uncertain — the tight academic job market is something that you will become very aware of as you move towards completion of your thesis. However, the ultimate rewards of an academic life do compensate for that initial uncertainty: the ability to chart your own research course, to pursue the questions that you are There is no uniform approach to a career in academia. drawn to, and to have a collegial forum in which to Some like to have experience “in the field” first (I disseminate the results of your research. practised for several years after graduation and found it thoroughly worthwhile); others move on to the first steps towards an academic career shortly after obtaining their JD. In either case, you will likely need to have a postgraduate research qualification in order to begin an academic career. (Generally, in order to apply for a “tenure track” position at an institution, you’ll need to have doctoral qualifications and/or have previously researched and published in the academic arena.) In my experience, postgraduate study has been incredibly rewarding and afforded me opportunities to delve deeply into my research interests, and to meet fascinating people both here and overseas. It is worth noting though that both postgraduate students and academics need to be “self starters”, in the sense that you need to be comfortable with the idea of working independently, and to have a deep enough research 68
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Rural & regional
pRACTIsING IN Ballarat and Horsham Katalina Toth Second year lawyer Saines Lucas Solicitors What was your pathway to practiSing in a rural/remote/regional area?
Labs. I am also only an hour or so from the nearest surf beach. I enjoy a very relaxed lifestyle and believe that life is meant to be lived, not worked! I work to pay During the course of my law degree I researched all my bills and maintain my lifestyle. the rural townships in Victoria in terms of lifestyle, work opportunities and areas of law commonly What do you see to be some of the practised (i.e., looking at how well developed the advantages of practiSing in a rural/ district was in terms of manufacturing, farming, etc, remote/regional area? denoting commerce, therefore opportunities for me to explore various areas of law). I then searched for You get to manage your own files, attend Court/ a firm that allowed for opportunities to practice in Tribunal and work on the most incredible cases. I have various areas of law, not just one area. When I found also had the privilege of meeting so many different the firm I wanted to work for I applied but there types of clients and am involved in local Committees were no positions available at the time. I waited for and Associations. It is an enriching experience to work an opportunity to avail itself so I returned to study in a rural/regional area. You can also walk to your and completed another Bachelor Degree which I had favourite restaurant or cafe for lunch and spend an deferred before I commenced my law degree. Within a hour or so enjoying yourself with colleagues, without year, a traineeship position was advertised at that firm feeling guilty, and you can generally work flexible and I applied and got it. hours, depending on the firm and area of law you work in. Most people go home by 5:30pm, if not earlier, and In your work, what are the main legal you really do have a healthy work-life balance.
practice areas you engage with?
Commercial disputes, general litigation, personal injury and employment.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work?
Sometimes you are faced with being overloaded because you want to accept all the work that comes your way. I have simply had to prioritise and occasionally delegate a file or two to fellow workers. I’m lucky I I was inspired by the lifestyle and variety in work. work for a reasonable sized firm with four partners, Lifestyle is a subjective term so I’ll explain: I can’t four solicitors and a trainee solicitor between Ballarat stand congestion/crowds, pollution and routine. I love and Horsham. We are very much like one big family. nature and enjoy being in the outdoors. I live nestled in rolling hills and towering gum trees with my fiancé and animals. I’m only a short distance from Daylesford where I enjoy chilling out with family, friends and my 71
What inspired you to become a rural/ remote/regional aREA practitioner?
What opportunities does your practice have for recent law graduates? Every couple of years we take on a trainee solicitor or first year (recent graduate from College of Law/Leo Cussens). We are an expanding firm so keep your eye on us!
What skills do prospective interns/ employees need to work in a rural/ remote/regional area? Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are a MUST. It is all about building a rapport with your clients and making sure that the legal process is as easy and cost effective and comfortable as possible. Most clients are scared and very emotional, not just in family law matters but also in building disputes and employment matters. Commercial disputes also arise due to failed commercial relationships and these need to be managed sensitively and intelligently. Moreover, most of what you had learnt in your law degree will be put into practice, so make sure you do a refresher on property law, contract law, administrative law, criminal law, consumer law, etc. You may notice also as a young lawyer that you find yourself “assisting” current practitioners on areas/points of law. You also have to be prepared to put your advocacy skills into practice and appear on behalf of clients. Sometimes it is just not worth briefing a barrister to appear.
What advice would you give to current law students who are interested in working in a rural/remote/regional area later in their career? I suggest you make the most of “networking” opportunities and really build your “people skills”. You must also research the townships and find out whether that township or district has the lifestyle you are looking for. Also, ensure that you apply to law firms that have what you want in terms of culture and practice areas. Speak to the district Young Lawyer Representative or the District Law Association for details about work and lifestyle. They may even give you the “heads up” on local job opportunities. Approach lawyers within the firms at regional law events and try to get to know the people working in the area. 72
It is important that when you decide to make the move to a rural/remote/regional area, you do so with the mindset that you intend to stay in that area long term as you will be building relationships with the locals and they will be depending on you, probably for the rest of their lives. It is indeed an enriching and fun lifestyle experience. However, despite the great lifestyle opportunities, you must be in it for the long haul. The community requires you to do so.
pRACTISING IN Warrnambool justin serong Principal lawyer Maddens Lawyers What was your pathway to praSticing in a rural/remote/regional area? I had done my articles (traineeship) in a mid-size city firm, and although I really enjoyed the year and made valuable friendships, I just knew city-based commercial practice wasn’t for me. So I got a map out. Literally. I looked for places on the coast where there was a population base, reputable firms and a County/Supreme court. Once you analyse it, there’s not very many, so for me the choice made itself. I picked the firm I thought would be the right one, and approached them. At least back then (and I think it still applies) regional firms were more accustomed to going looking for candidates, rather than having one approach them, so they were interested enough to give me an interview.
What inspired you to become a rural/ remote/regional area practitioner?
out on the expertise and innovation that coalesces in the city. If you’re good with IT and you have a network of clever mates, it’s all available to you and your clients are getting city-standard work in a remote area without the add-on costs, such as higher rents, that come with CBD legal practice.
What are some of the challenges that you face in your work? I think in country towns you’re more exposed as a professional. People down the street know that you’re a lawyer. People talk: you don’t have the anonymity that a big urban centre provides. So you have to think all the time about how you’re projecting yourself in the community. This also means you have to be exceptionally careful about confidentiality and wary of conflicts of interest.
What opportunities does your practice have for Current law students and graduates?
I wanted whole-of-file experience as a junior lawyer. I didn’t want to be delegated small pieces of the work – I wanted to meet the client, grapple with the problem We try to give students time here as interns, and we and fix it. That’s still the case for me. do take traineeship applications, although we try to give preference to students who have a background Separately, I wanted to live on the coast, for a whole in the region or a particular connection to it. range of self-indulgent reasons which are also true today. What skills do prospective interns/
What do you see to be some of the advantages of practiSing in a rural/ remote/regional area? These days, you have the advantage of living in a beautiful place where housing is cheaper and people are more laid back and courteous, without missing
employees need to work in a rural/ remote/regional area?
Adaptability and resourcefulness. In a small regional practice, it is entirely possible that you can see clients about a copyright infringement and cows with mastitis… in the same morning. 73
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