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Graduate program

Applications for the 2020 Graduate Program (mainstream and Aboriginal identified) will commence mid-2019.

Through the Graduate Program successful applicants will be involved in challenging work that makes a difference. We support our new solicitors in developing fulfilling careers. The Graduate Program is structured over two years, and is designed to develop the competencies required to achieve success in your legal career. The skills learnt will prepare you for future advancement within the legal profession and give you a good grounding in case management across two different fields of legal practice.

Recent graduate success

photo of Claire CantrallLEGAL AID PATHWAYS

"I have absolutely no doubt that every lesson learnt at Legal Aid will stay with me and stand me in good stead for the big learning curve to come."

Read Claire's story.

What we offer

  • Hands on work with real cases and the opportunity to make a substantive contribution to client's legal matters
  • Working alongside talented, experienced senior solicitors, many with specialist expertise
  • A positive work life balance: flexible working conditions and flexitime system based on a standard 35 hour working week
  • Work diversity with a two-year rotational program that builds on your qualifications and practical experience
  • Great court experience with a wide range of matters
  • Career planning
  • Training, development and support
  • A stimulating, friendly and supportive work environment
  • Salary sacrifice arrangements
  • Study time leave and assistance with course fees
  • Performance feedback
  • Generous leave entitlements
  • Competitive starting salary package
  • Subsidised professional membership fees and practising certificate fees

Successful graduates will participate in a thorough Legal Aid NSW orientation and induction with the support of supervisors so you can learn the skills needed to be an effective solicitor in two areas of practice from either family, criminal and/or civil law. Practical one-on-one support with experienced solicitors in real situations means graduates will not be stuck at a desk doing menial work.

A strong peer group will always ensure graduates are part of a team and opportunities for self-development are ongoing. Career planning and sophisticated training programs are available to graduates at any point in their career (eg. Intensive advocacy workshops run by members of the bar and the judiciary that teach you how to prepare for trial).

The Graduate Program is managed by the People & Organisational Development (POD) unit in collaboration with the practice field managers and senior solicitors. Graduates are involved in relevant professional development activities, including MCLE and conferences. The Training and Development team also run a number of courses and programs throughout the year and graduates will be encouraged to attend optional training in addition to compulsory technical skills and core skills training.

Practice rotations will occur across two areas of legal practice, and usually across two jurisdictions within each practice of 6 months duration. This may vary for Sydney metropolitan office placements. Graduates will be given the opportunity to elect which 2 areas of practice they wish to undertake, subject to availability.

With each rotation graduates will be allocated a peer support person who will assist them to settle into their new jurisdiction. The peer support person will provide graduates with general information about the workplace, assist them to familiarise with processes and procedures and may provide some on-the-job training. Additional peer support will also be available from existing graduates.


Placements are within the Sydney Metropolitan area. The location will depend on the successful applicants' desired locations and position vacancy.

Sydney Metro Offices are:-

  • Central Sydney (Haymarket)
  • Parramatta
  • Liverpool
  • Fairfield
  • Sutherland
  • Campbelltown
  • Burwood
  • Bankstown
  • Penrith
  • Blacktown


Applicants must have completed their LLB (or equivalent) from an accredited body and be eligible to hold a current NSW Practising Certificate with less than 12 months post admission legal work experience.

Mainstream placements: Two mainstream placements will be offered to newly admitted solicitors with at least a distinction grade average in a LLB or equivalent.

Aboriginal Identified placements: Two Aboriginal Identified placements will be offered to newly admitted solicitors with sound academic grades in a LLB or equivalent.

Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD) placement: This placement will be offered to a newly admitted lawyer who is from a CALD background, with sound academic grades in a LLB or equivalent.

On top of the basic eligibility, we are also looking for applicants who:

  • Are good communicators and highly motivated to work in a diverse and challenging work environment
  • Are committed and sensitive to the needs of our disadvantaged client groups in a social justice environment
  • Are interested in our legal practice areas
  • Can demonstrate initiative, adaptability and problem solving skills
  • Are committed to offering excellent customer service and working in a team in a high volume work environment
  • Have the ability to get behind and drive their own self-development

Application process

Applicant's will need to meet the capabilities as set out in the Role Description. The job advertisement and role description provide the basis for the entire selection process as they specify precisely the skills, knowledge and experience required to satisfactorily perform the functions of the role.

All applications MUST be submitted online through iworkfor.nsw.gov.au. No late applications or applications sent via mail or email will be accepted. Your application must consist of transcripts, a curriculum vitae/resume (max 5 pages) and a cover letter (max 2 pages) as outlined in the job advertisement.

Under the GSE Act 2013 the process for selection to a role will include three capability assessments, one of which is an interview. The Assessment panel will notify successful applicants of the capability assessments that will be used prior to interview.

Common forms of assessment include: Online assessments, work samples, behavioural interviews, multi-mini interviews, assessment centre process, group exercises, Job knowledge tests, role plays.

The recruitment process will take approximately 2 - 3 months after the close of applications.