Victoria Legal Aid

New Lawyers Program

This two-year program offers an opportunity to work closely with expert lawyers, undertake casework and appear in court.

Current applications

The 2024 program closed on Sunday 14 April 2024.

Applications for the 2025 program will open in early March 2025.

Application process

The intake for the program varies annually and more details on the number of positions will be outlined in the advertisement.

As with our previous intakes we also include designated positions for First Nations Australian.

In our 2023 intake, we had 12 positions available for talented first-year post-admission lawyers, with three positions designated for First Nations Australians. Successful applicants of the 2023 program will start in early October 2024.

They will have the opportunity to:

Please note the program is incredibly competitive, and there are only 12 roles. We encourage you to also consider other legal rolesExternal Link that may be available across our 15 offices, and the many benefits of working in regional Victoria. We are always looking for talented people to join our workforce, so please watch for opportunities to work with us throughout the year. Our legal roles are regularly updated on our careers page

As a new lawyer in one of our regional teams, you’ll gain fantastic experience across a wide range of clients, legal matters and practice areas, whilst working with a tight-knit team that make a real difference in your community.

It can be a great way to fast-track your career with broad legal experience and strong mentors. And the lifestyle can be fantastic!

Our diverse and inclusive team

Our values are fairness, care, courage and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and encourage people from diverse backgrounds, including Australian First Nations people, to apply for roles with us. We will make adjustments where possible to suit your unique circumstances.

Our clients come from all walks of life and so do we. We hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds and foster a work culture that’s inclusive as well as diverse. Your unique ideas and perspectives are valued so that we best represent the people we serve.

About the program

The New Lawyers Program runs annually. Applications for the program open in March each year, with successful candidates commencing in October.

Our New Lawyers’ Program is an amazing opportunity to learn on the job while being supported with strong mentors and structured training. 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 our Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Shepparton, Warrnambool or Morwell offices. 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 wide range of legal issues experienced there.

This program has been designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to most effectively represent our unique and diverse client base, and make positive change for Victorians. Learning areas 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.

At the end of the program, you will take up an ongoing lawyer role in one of our programs or offices.


The New Lawyers Program is designed specifically for first-year lawyers. The program is only open to applicants with less than 12 months’ experience in a role requiring a practicing certificate (at the time of application).

If you have a particular interest in social justice but have worked longer than 12 months, we still want to hear from you! Our careers page lists all VLA’s vacancies and we may have one perfect for you.

At the time you start 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.

What some of our new lawyers say about the program

Malaz Dewanyang

New Lawyers Program participant Malaz Dewanyang

New Lawyers Program participant Malaz Dewanyang

'I started the New Lawyers Program during COVID-19, so the initiating process was slightly different to the previous years and new lawyers all started online. Commencing a new position in a midst of a pandemic was disquieting and I was not sure what to expect. From day one of the program, I have experienced levels of support, guidance, and assurance. My supervisors and mentors all want to see me succeed and the training is well delivered.

'I have been in the program for about three months now and I feel confident in what I have learnt thus far. My first placement was blissfully in regional Victoria and I have had exposure to family law mediations, parenting agreements, civil, and predominantly criminal law.

'It has been extremely rewarding being a part of a program which provides continuous opportunities for growth and allows you to give back to the community by assisting some of the most vulnerable clients. I look forward to completing all the rotations and learning about the various areas of practise as I discover the area I am most passionate about.'

Myra Bigger

New Lawyers Program participant Myra Bigger

New Lawyers Program participant Myra Bigger

'For anyone with a passion for social justice, the New Lawyers Program is certainly a fantastic beginning to one’s legal career. The program offers a unique opportunity for first-hand experience in diverse areas of law across different offices in the state of Victoria. The new lawyer is given the opportunity to integrate with the regional offices as well as learn much about the different catchment areas and the specific socio-economic challenges within each community. Furthermore, the opportunity to practice within different fields of law is of major benefit to any new lawyer. Legal issues often intersect, therefore, the knowledge gained throughout the program promotes holistic legal practice. Lawyers in this program are also mentored and supported by a range of senior lawyers, each freely imparting their experience and knowledge to their mentees entering the legal profession. The skills and knowledge new lawyers gain from this program is undeniable.

'The New Lawyers Program is a unique opportunity which enabled me to develop and grow as a new lawyer. The program has given me every opportunity to become the best lawyer I can be to help Victoria’s most disadvantaged people. I believe the program has given me the skillset and knowledge base necessary to provide the highest quality legal services to Victoria Legal Aid clients who deserve no less.

'I would encourage any new lawyer to apply for this program and join the Victoria Legal Aid team. You will be given a fantastic start to your legal practice leading to a successful legal career.'

John Morrissey

New Lawyers Program participant John Morrissey

New Lawyers Program participant John Morrissey

'The New Lawyers Program has been the ideal way for me to begin my legal career. I began practicing in criminal law and the opportunity to complete placements in both the Sunshine and Melbourne offices. The training and support I have received throughout the program has been incredible.

'The program’s structure has helped me develop the skills in advocacy and dealing with clients which are necessary in legal practice. Even throughout the coronavirus lockdown I was always able to access the professional support I needed. The program is also a great way to experience different areas in Victoria Legal Aid – I am currently on placement in the Legal Help team, working as a lawyer and assisting with a project to encourage Aboriginal people to use the Legal Help service.

'The sense of camaraderie you develop with your fellow new lawyers is also extremely valuable and can make all the difference as you are coming to grips with the challenges and difficulties of legal practice.'

Contact us

For more information email or phone (03) 9269 0413.

To see more of our career opportunities, go to our Current positionsExternal Link page.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 02 May 2024

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