New law program bringing greater diversity

New law program bringing greater diversity

Monday, 29 January 2018

New law program bringing greater diversity
L–R: Declan Fry, John Cattanach

For the first time, we are offering an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program.

Commencing today, the Graduate Law Program will provide law students the opportunity to learn on the job while completing their practical legal training at Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

The Graduate Law Program will offer practical legal training, stable pay and a real working environment where graduates can get an understanding of what working as a lawyer will be like.

Declan Fry and John Cattanach were both offered a graduate position which will see them exposed to legal practice and policy in a meaningful way, while complementing their studies.

John says he feels privileged to be one of the first participants in the program.

'The program looks at supporting Indigenous law graduates in becoming a practitioner, it is important to me to work and engage in a workplace where we, Aboriginal people, are supported to our full potential,’ he said.

The graduates will bring fresh eyes, enthusiasm, and critical thinking to our organisation and will help create greater representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the legal sector.

John says he is excited about moving forward in his journey to becoming a practitioner.

‘I want to share my experiences with other Aboriginal law students and graduates, so they too, are encouraged to work at Victoria Legal Aid and study at Leo Cussen,’ he said.

‘I am looking forward to the new experiences and new challenges, from both Leo Cussen and Victoria Legal Aid, I am also looking forward to the networking opportunities and meeting all kinds of people.’

Shirley Southgate, Director Practical Legal Training at Leo Cussen Centre for Law, says the program represents a strengthened relationship with Victoria Legal Aid.

‘Leo Cussen is committed to promoting diversity within the profession and we are very pleased that our collaboration with Victoria Legal Aid provides us with an opportunity to support new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers.’

Victoria Legal Aid has always offered opportunities for clerkships and first and second year lawyers in the New Lawyers Program to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, however the new Graduate Law Program is an opportunity to welcome more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law graduates to the organisation.

More information

For more information about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program, or to apply for 2019, go to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry, please email Daisy Smith via daisy.smith@vla.vic.gov.au or phone 0427 916 923.

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