Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Fitzroy Legal Service

Field of Law

Community Legal Centres

Stage of Career

Secondary; Undergraduates: Graduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact details

Address: 124 Johnston St, Fitzroy, Vic, 3065
Phone: (03) 9419 3744
Visit the Fitzroy Legal Service website
Contact person: Claudia Fatone
Email: cfatone@fitzroy-legal.org.au

Description of Organisation or department within organisation

Fitzroy Legal Service (FLS) is one of the oldest community legal centres in Australia, opening in 1972.

FLS provides a free legal service to people who live, work or study in the City of Yarra, encompassing the suburbs of Fitzroy, Collingwood, Abbotsford, Clifton Hill, Alphington, Fairfield, East Melbourne, North Fitzroy,  Princes Hill, Carlton North, Cremorne, Burnley and Richmond. Priority is given to those on low income.

People from outside the City of Yarra catchment area may receive one-off legal advice from the night service and referral options.   Other CLCs without capacity to provide the level of drop in advice services provided by FLS regularly refer clients to the FLS night service.

FLS also acts and advocates for the broader communities of interest that arise from our casework and plays a significant role in the areas of law reform and community legal education.

Number of legal positions within organisation:  We employ 10 lawyers

Information for secondary schools

Do you have work experience placements for secondary school students?

We are able to take 1-2 work experience students each year

Contact person for work experience placements

Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fletcher, email at jfletcher@fitzroy-legal.org.au

Do you host school trips or send speakers to schools?

We are happy to consider these requests on a case by case basis.

Contact person for school trip and/or speakers

Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fletcher, email at jfletcher@fitzroy-legal.org.au

Information for university students/graduates

Do you have a graduate clerkship program? (involving practical legal training and admission to practise)

We employ a Trainee Lawyer, funded by Allens Linklaters.

What are you looking for in a graduate?

Qualifications/skills required

Prerequisite

  • Tertiary qualification in Law at the time of commencement of the position;

Essential

  • Commitment to social justice and human rights and a strong interest in developing a career in the CLC sector;
  • Strong academic record, particularly in areas of law relevant to CLC work;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Willingness and ability to communicate empathetically with a variety of clients, including those with cognitive impairment or language barriers, people from diverse backgrounds, people with alcohol or other drug dependence, and people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness;
  • Excellent analytical skills including the ability to effectively apply the law to different fact situations;
  • High degree of initiative and resourcefulness;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively as part of a team;
  • Prior experience volunteering or working in a CLC or similar organisation highly desirable; and
  • Competency in Microsoft Word, internet and email systems.

What prior workat electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?

Areas of law relevant to CLC work, human rights and social justice.

What prior work/volunteer work is viewed favourably?

Prior experience volunteering or working in a CLC or similar organisation is highly desirable.

How many graduates do you take a year?

One

How does one apply

Candidates must email Fitzroy Legal Service the following as one PDF document:

  • A covering letter, no longer than one page;
  • A document which addresses the key selection criteria set out above;
  • A resume which includes your contact details, education, previous work and volunteer experience; and
  • A copy of your academic transcript (if you are selected for interview you will be required to submit a certified copy of your transcript).

Dates for application

Applications are usually open in July of each year.

Do you require your applicants to be recent law graduates? If so, how recent?

Law students who commenced their final semester of their law degree are eligible to apply. Students who have recently graduated from law but who have not been admitted to practice may also apply.

Interview process

Interviews are usually held within a month of the closing date for applications.

How many law graduates do you employ outside your graduate program, and what sort of roles do they fill?

None

Do you have a minimum Grade Point Average standard for an applicant’s academic record?

No

What sort of volunteer/internship opportunities are available?

Volunteers work for us in one or more of the following ways:

  • week-day evening drop-in service: lawyers, law graduates and law students who provide legal services covering a very wide range of clients and issues,
  • day practice: lawyers, law graduates and final-year law students who assist our paid staff with their work at both our Johnston Street office and at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, and
  • other work including administrative assistance, legal and social science policy research, &c.

We are also involved in the Melbourne Law School internship program and currently also have a Communications Intern.

Contact person for volunteers:  Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fletcher, email at jfletcher@fitzroy-legal.org.au

Information for practising lawyers

What are you looking for in a permanent employee?

Skills and experience relevant to the position and values aligned with FLS values.

What prior work is viewed favourably?

Depends on the role – for legal positions, prior experience working in a CLC or similar organisation.

On average, how many positions become available per year?

1-2

How many applications do you receive for these?

Usually quite a few, 50-60

Where do you advertise your positions?

We usually advertise on seek and ethical jobs, as well as promoting via the Federation of CLCs e-news.

Do you use a recruitment agency?

No

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