New Lawyers Program

New Lawyers Program

The New Lawyers Program is offered to first-year post-admission lawyers over two years. Applications for the 2020 program have now closed and candidates should check their email for further updates. Information regarding our 2021 program will be available in February next year. While you do not need to be admitted to practice at the time of application, you must be admitted prior to or immediately following your commencement on the program. Up to 9 positions are available, including at least two positions for applicants who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • undertake regular appearance work in courts and tribunals
  • undertake casework and conduct advice clinics
  • work with diverse clients on a daily basis
  • receive hands-on experience through rotating metropolitan and regional placements
  • learn from expert lawyers from our criminal, civil and family law programs
  • participate in our professional legal education activities
  • assist with law reform and community legal education.

Please note the program is incredibly competitive with only limited positions available. Therefore we encourage you to consider other legal roles that may arise across our 15 offices. We also encourage applicants to consider the many benefits of working in a regional office.

About the program

You will complete comprehensive induction and training while learning on the job through up to four six-month placements. Throughout the program you will build on your experience and skills in our offices across Victoria.

You will spend at least one six-month placement practising in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Shepparton, Warrnambool or Morwell. This placement will expose you to a diverse range of legal issues in a fast-paced environment and help develop the breadth of your legal skills. It is an excellent opportunity to experience life in regional Victoria and the different range of legal issues experienced there.

The comprehensive training and development covers a broad range of professional skills to best prepare you for practise as a lawyer with us. These include:

  • negotiation and alternative dispute resolution
  • client communication
  • advocacy
  • cross-cultural awareness and communication
  • mental health first aid
  • safe and effective client interactions.

You will be supported throughout the New Lawyers Program by an in-house practice that includes over 60 lawyers who are Law Institute of Victoria Accredited Specialists.


The New Lawyers Program is designed specifically for first year lawyers. At the time of application you are allowed up to 12 months post-admission experience in a role requiring a practicing certificate. Please note this is a condition implemented in 2018. If you have a keen interest in social justice but exceed this length of experience we still want to hear from you! Please refer to our careers page where we advertise vacancies each Friday. 

Upon commencing the program you must be admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria or eligible for admission in Victoria under the Mutual Recognition Principle.

Application and interview process

Details on the application and interview process will be outlined on our careers page when the positions are advertised.

What some of our new lawyers say about the program

Amilee Myson

Photo of Amilee Myson

'The New Lawyers’ Program has provided me with a practical and challenging setting to develop my skills as a lawyer.  The beauty of it has been in the first-hand experience of client work, court work and research questions.  I particularly enjoyed getting stuck into duty lawyering straight away and building confidence as an advocate, communicating with clients, colleagues and court personnel.  It has been compelling to deal with issues in criminal law that go beyond strict legal questions such as the therapeutic engagement of support services.  

'More broadly, the program has provided ongoing training and support that is well thought out and delivered.  Meeting other members of the organisation at these sessions and social engagements is always fun and informative.  There is a wealth of people here who love to teach and support as you learn. The program has delivered everything I hoped for, a true challenge, the opportunity to really develop advocacy skills and the realisation of a great deal of friendships and valuable relationships with both colleagues and clients.'

Emma Field

Photo of Emma Field

'The New Lawyers Program provides new practitioners with the unique opportunity to obtain experience within different areas of law throughout regional and metropolitan offices within Victoria Legal Aid. The program is designed to develop us as new practitioners by building upon our skills and knowledge in a passionate, team-based and supported environment. We receive peer support by way of other new lawyers on the program, and professional support by way of experienced lawyers, managers and assigned mentors.

'Victoria Legal Aid encompasses the values associated with social justice and equality, and inspires us to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients experiencing disadvantage. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be part of the New Lawyers Program and would strongly encourage any new lawyer to apply.'

Henrietta de Crespigny 

Photo of Henrietta de Crespigny

'It is hard to imagine a better place to start your legal career if you are passionate about social justice and equality. The New Lawyers Program has given me the opportunity to grasp an understanding of the varied legal issues that arise out of situations of poverty, deprivation and the often-traumatic backgrounds of people in our community. Giving a voice to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable people every day is hugely rewarding. Whilst the intensity of the role is not without its challenges, the professional growth and support that accompanies this program makes coming to work an overwhelmingly positive experience.'

Louis Robertson

Photo of Louis Robertson

'Since beginning at VLA I’ve had the fortune of gaining experience in civil, criminal, family and youth law in a range of settings – from isolated psychiatric wards to country Magistrates’ courts. 

'I have found VLA to be a perpetually stimulating environment surrounded by supportive, highly intelligent, humble and good-humoured colleagues. The NLP involves work on a one-on-one level with those most in need of legal assistance combined with the ability to develop broader knowledge of the challenges facing both clients and the sector. It is an ongoing privilege to work at such a progressive organisation aspiring daily for meaningful assistance to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community.'

Contact us

For more information contact:

Lauren Steers, Resourcing Advisor
Phone: (03) 9269 0463

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