Public Interest Law Careers Guide Launch

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and Progressive Law Network Proudly present

The Public Interest Law Careers Guide Launch

Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Held at Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne


Audio recording of launch


Public Interest Law Careers Guide a Hit

If you've heard a lot of lawyer jokes or watched too many legal dramas, you might be surprised to learn just how many law students hope to work in human rights and related public interest areas. One of the many hurdles they face as they approach graduation is a lack of knowledge about their career options.

Luckily, a new guide is making things easier.

The Public Interest Law Careers Guide, launched in front of a packed house of almost 200 people at an event in August, features entries from more than 90 Victorian organisations working in areas as diverse as consumer rights, disability law and asylum seeker assistance. One important feature of the guide is almost 20 testimonials provided by people working in the field. Often breaking into these areas of law is difficult, and many who work in the field report winding career paths leading them to their destinations. The testimonials provide much-needed advice to students that there are many, many different paths to finding a rewarding job in law.

At the guide launch, Jillian Prior of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Felicity Millner of the Environment Defender's Office and former Victorian Public Service GRADS scheme participant Clare Bradin all shared their experiences of the tough but rewarding career paths they've followed.

The launch also recognised those who had worked so hard to bring this massive task to fruition, especially researchers from the Progressive Law Network (PLN) and staff from the Castan Centre. When the PLN approached the Castan Centre with the idea of producing a guide in early 2012, the two organisations found a willing supporter in the Victoria Law Foundation, which provided over $15,000 to get the project up and running.

Pulling together the information for the guide was an enormous project, and the PLN's Penelope Swales, Katia Lallo and Alice Bewley handled the task with aplomb. At the Castan Centre, Andre Dao oversaw editing and website design, while Janice Hugo and Lisa Harrison worked hard to get the enormous amount of data onto the website.

Since its launch, the guide has proved extremely popular, receiving over 26,000 views in its first weeks of operation. It will be updated in 2014 to reflect the latest information, and the Centre is now accepting submissions for inclusion in the guide from public interest organisations around the country. You can view the guide at

The Public Interest Law Careers Guide was produced in conjunction with the Progressive Law Network and is supported by a grant from the Victoria Law Foundation.


Are you a law student or lawyer wondering what lies beyond the corporate law path? Are you interested in public interest law?

There are many opportunities for lawyers in non-profit organisations, statutory bodies and government in Victoria but it is often hard to find out what they are. This new guide, funded by the Victoria Law Foundation, will present dozens of organisations for you to consider, plus testimonials from people who've made a career in public interest law work. The Progressive Law Careers Guide is an online resource, and the launch will be interactive, with the chance for you to navigate through it on the evening.

The Guide aims to educate students and professionals about the Public Interest Law sector and provide much needed information on how best to pursue a public interest career. The Guide is also a useful resource for secondary school careers counsellors.

Guest speakers

Jill Prior, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Felicity Millner, Environment Defenders Office

Victorian Public Service Graduate Scheme


 Castan Centre logo    Progressive Law Network logo

Victoria Law Foundation Grants logo