Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program

Our graduate program is designed to improve pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students who are seeking to complete their legal admission requirements and establish a career in social justice.

The program is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law graduates and students who are eligible but yet to undertake Practical Legal Training (PLT). During this seven-month program, graduates are employed on a full-time basis where you will split your time between gaining on the job experience and undertaking PLT. You will receive a full time salary and PLT course fees are fully covered by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).

Graduates are exposed to a range of activities including:

  • practical legal training course run by Leo Cussen Centre for Law
  • constant one-on-one guidance from experienced lawyers
  • assisting lawyers in the administration, conduct and management of cases for clients
  • liaising with internal and external stakeholders
  • conducting legal research and drafting of documents
  • professional legal education and law reform activities
  • working with a diverse client base
  • providing information and referrals to the general public, legal practitioners and community agencies about VLA and external services
  • leading graduates to their admission to the legal profession as Australian lawyers.

Our Graduate Program provides the ideal pathway into our New Lawyers Program.


Applications for our 2022 program have now closed. We expect to advertise the 2023 program in March next year with an anticipated commencement of January 2023. Details on the application and interview process will be outlined on our careers page when the positions are advertised.

What people say about our program 

L–R: Audrey Packer Cook, Jes’Se Rushby and Katelyn Jones
L–R: Audrey Packer Cook, Jes’Se Rushby and Katelyn Jones

Audrey Packer Cook 

'As well as providing a valuable pathway into the New Lawyers Program, the Graduate Law Program is well supported through lawyers in your practice team to guide you with day-to-day legal tasks, as well as the provision of mentors to help you navigate Victoria Legal Aid and your career. Being a large organisation, Victoria Legal Aid gives you an opportunity to rotate through areas that interest you such as civil, criminal or family law areas. In Civil Justice I have had the opportunity to work on individual client matters to address their experiences of discrimination, as well as to participate in broader law reform work which aims to address systemic issues, alleviate disadvantage and promote equality. Victoria Legal Aid works in each level of the system to achieve its goals of access to justice, which ensures your work is diverse and impactful'. 

Jes’Se Rushby 

'I completed VLA's clerkship program in 2019 where I had an overwhelmingly positive experience. When the time came to apply for the graduate program it was an easy decision and felt like the natural next step. If you are passionate about social justice and being a driver of systemic change, the program is an ideal steppingstone in your legal career. As a budding Indigenous lawyer, it was important for me to feel well-supported and provided with opportunities to challenge and develop my skills to become a robust and well-equipped legal professional. The graduate program undoubtedly offers this. The varied and complex legal issues of disadvantaged clients means that the work you do has a real and tangible impact. I feel immensely grateful to Victoria Legal Aid and couldn't think of a better way to start my legal career'.

Katelyn Jones

'The graduate program has given me an amazing opportunity to engage in client facing legal work whilst completing my Practical Legal Training in a supportive environment. Rotating through different practice areas is great as I get to work in different areas of interest and test my abilities in different roles. In addition, the support provided throughout the program has made it easier to balance work and Practical Legal Training and to navigate the transition from studies into the legal workforce'. –  

Contact us

For more information contact First Nations Consultant Steph McStay, email Steph.McStay@vla.vic.gov.au or phone (03) 9269 0496.

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