Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Field of Law

Australian Government

Stage of Career

Secondary school; Graduates; Practising lawyers

Contact details

Address: Canberra
Phone: 02 6261 9811
Contact person: Graduate Recrutiment Team

Description of Organisation

Visit the DFAT website to learn about the organisation

Number of legal positions within organisation:


Does your organisation have a human rights officer?


Information for secondary schools

Do you host school trips or send speakers to schools?


Contact person for school trip and/or speakers:

Graduate Recruitment Team,

Information for university students/graduates

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


What are you looking for in a graduate?

The department continues to build and renew the workforce by bringing in a mix of people with a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge.

For the 2022 intake we are looking for:

  • future leaders
  • strong academic achievers
  • critical and curious thinkers
  • team players who build relationships with stakeholders and peers
  • excellent communicators
  • practical problem solvers, who are flexible, adaptable, resilient and resourceful
  • candidates who display professionalism and high ethical standards.

We look at each candidate's application, including their qualifications and professional experience and take into account transferable skills from a range of employment options, not just those which have direct subject matter relevance to DFAT's work. A candidate who has worked in hotel management or other areas of hospitality, for example, may bring skills in problem solving, adapting to change and managing people – all skills strongly relevant to working in DFAT.

Detailed 'insider' knowledge of the department's operations is not expected. However we do expect you to have done some research, such as read recent speeches from our Ministers and Secretary, the Foreign Policy White Paper and maybe even our annual report if you are that keen!

Qualifications/skills required

  • you must be an Australian Citizen at the time of application, and
  • you must have finished at least a bachelor degree by 31 December 2020, with at least a credit average or higher; and
  • your most recent degree must be no more than five years old on the date you lodge your application.

What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?


What prior work/volunteer work is viewed favourably?


How many graduates do you take a year?


How does one apply:

Online -

Dates for application:

Usually February-March every year

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


Interview process:

  1. Online Application and testing
  2. One way video interview
  3. Assessment Centre
  4. Referee checks
  5. Security Clearance

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

Nil – we do advertise for legal specialists starting from the APS 5 level.

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

Credit Average

If there are any fails on a candidate’s academic record how will they affect the recruitment process?


What sort of volunteer/internship opportunities are available?

DFAT does not offer internship opportunities in the department in Canberra, but there are other opportunities across the foreign affairs and trade portfolio.

Some Australian embassies and high commissions overseas manage local internship programs. Further information can be found by visiting the website of the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate.

Information for practising lawyers

What prior work is viewed favourably?


How many applications do you receive for positions?


Where do you advertise your positions?