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Cadetship Program for Aboriginal Law Students

The Judge Bob Bellear Pathways to Legal Careers Cadetship program (the program) provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law students to undertake paid employment while undertaking their Law degree.

During the course of their cadetship, students will be offered the opportunity to work alongside Legal Aid NSW solicitors across the three core areas of legal practice, Family, Civil or Criminal Law.

Legal Aid NSW is one of a select few organisations that provide cadets with a first-hand insight into the operation of a wide range of courts and tribunals across NSW. Cadets gain practical experience in a flexible work environment where they are able to acquire invaluable exposure to all matter of legal procedure.

Following the successful completion of a cadetship, cadets are encouraged to apply for further employment within Legal Aid NSW through the Aboriginal Professional Legal Placement Training Program (PLT) and/or the Graduate Career Development Program.

What we offer

Aboriginal law students can commence a cadetship at any stage of their tertiary studies and can remain on a cadetship until completion of their studies. Cadets in the program:

  • Undertake full time study toward an undergraduate law degree for 40 weeks of the year;
  • Are employed as a temporary employee for the duration of the cadetship and undertake part/full time paid work placement in the agency for 12 weeks each year.
  • Undertake Work placements which provide on the job development opportunities and meaningful work experiences relevant to the qualification.

Successful applicants will receive the following payments during the course of their cadetship:

  • Salary for 12 weeks work placement paid at a rate determined by the appropriate Industrial Instrument (the salary rate will be dependent upon the age, level of schooling and work experience of the cadet);
  • Study allowance each university semester- $6,000; and
  • Books and equipment allowance each university per semester - $500

Placements and Locations

Legal Aid cadets will have the opportunity to be placed in a practice area of their preference and can potentially be placed state-wide. Applicants desired locations will be taken into consideration however Legal Aid NSW’s operational requirements will be a factor.


The Cadetship Program is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are currently undertaking or near the completion of a law degree. The advertisement for the role sets out the criteria that applicants must address to be considered for the program.

To be eligible to become a Legal Aid NSW cadet an applicant must:

  • Be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and identify as such;
  • Be enrolled in an LLB or equivalent course in an approved Australian tertiary institution for: 
    • an undergraduate degree
    • a combined undergraduate degree
    • a post graduate degree; or
    • an Honours/Masters year as part of an undergraduate degree;

Note: Prospective applicants in Year 12 intending to enrol in university may apply for a cadetship. However, commencing as a cadet would be subject to proof of actual enrolment.

Legal Aid NSW advertises for the Cadetship program via a number of different avenues including I work for NSW, Koori mail, Our Mob, University Indigenous Law Centre’s and/or Law faculties.

All applications must be submitted online at: I work for NSW.

Further information

For more information regarding the Judge Bob Bellear Legal Career Pathways - Cadetship program see the Overview of the Cadetship Program or contact the Aboriginal Services Branch.