Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel

Field of Law

Victorian Government

Stage of Career

Undergraduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact Details

Address: Level 2, 1 Macarthur Street, MELBOURNE, Victoria 3002
Phone: (03) 9651 2103
Visit the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel's website
Contact person: Terry Evans
Email: terry.evans@dpc.vic.gov.au

Description of Organisation

The Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC) is an Administrative Office attached to the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The OCPC has approximately 40 staff, 23 of whom are lawyers employed as legislative drafters.

Other staff are responsible for the preparation and publishing of legislation and legislative information in the Office's capacity as Government Printer and for the maintenance of key OCPC specialised legislative information databases and systems used to support the drafting and publication processes.

Number of legal positions within organisation: 23

Information for university students/graduates

The Office does not offer graduate employment or traineeships to students. However, OCPC participates in the Department of Premier and Cabinet's (DPC) Intern Program.

OCPC usually accepts 1 intern for employment from mid November until February the following year (12 weeks).

How does one apply

The DPC intern program is advertised annually on the VPS Careers website around July/August, and provides the opportunity for students (usually in their penultimate or last year of study) to apply for placement within the DPC, including OCPC.

For more information, see Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Information for practising lawyers

Legislative drafting is one of the most important legal tasks carried out by lawyers in government.  A lawyer in private practice may draft a legal instrument that affects the rights and interests of a handful of parties, but in drafting legislation OCPC lawyers draft legal instruments that may affect the lives of millions of people.  This impact is also often longlasting—as any law student or lawyer knows, statutes can remain on the books for decades or even longer.  It would be difficult to find anything in private legal practice that offers a lawyer a similar chance to engage in work of such lasting importance to the community.

Working at OCPC offers a great opportunity for those with an interest in the workings of Parliament.  The main role of OCPC is to draft Bills for the Government.  OCPC lawyers also draft Bills for private members, and amendments to Bills as they make their way through Parliament.  From this vantage point, OCPC lawyers gain a unique insight into the procedures and political processes of Parliament.

OCPC lawyers also have a critical role to play in the development of subordinate legislation.  Every statutory rule made in Victoria is either drafted or settled by our lawyers.  OCPC helps to ensure that statutory rules are legally valid as well as legally effective.  This is an important and interesting task – a substantial amount of subordinate legislation is made each year regulating a wide range of activities, which makes this task as significant in its impact on society as the preparation of Bills for Parliament.

What are you looking for in a permanent employee?

An OCPC lawyer must have a solid grounding in the law in general, but also have an aptitude for—

  • clarity of thought;
  • creativity and problem-solving;
  • a flair for the written word coupled with a commitment to plain English;
  • attention to detail and a passion for precision.

The entry level requirement for ongoing legislative drafting roles with the Office is to have been admitted, or be qualified for admission, as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

On average, how many positions become available per year?

No more than 1

How many applications do you receive for these?

20-30

When do you advertise your positions?

On the Victorian Government Careers website

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