Victoria Legal Aid

Junior counsel

Information about junior counsel in the Trial Counsel Development Program, including selection and partnering processes, fees and training.

Selection process

Junior advocates are shortlisted on the basis of an application comprising their curriculum vitae, a statement of interest and a letter of nomination by a senior member of the profession.

Shortlisted applicants are then asked to undergo a written advocacy task, and an oral advocacy exercise before a panel.

How are lead counsel and junior counsel partnered?

Lead counsel and junior counsel are invited to a welcome/meet-and-greet event at the outset of the program each year.

The usual briefing process is that instructing solicitors will identify which lead counsel they would like to brief. Once that decision is made, the advocates’ clerks will make inquiries of the juniors to ascertain their availability for the trial dates. A list of the available juniors will be provided to the instructor, with a preference urged for any junior who has not yet reached their full complement of trials.

Consultation with solicitors on their preferences is another important part of the partnering process. Every attempt is made to ensure that the best combination of advocates is available to solicitors’ clients.

If there is a preferred combination of lead and junior counsel expressed by a lead, a junior or an instructor, we will do our best to accommodate that preference.

Do junior counsel work with one or several lead counsel?

Junior counsel ideally work with different lead counsel over a 12–18 month period. This ensures that they gain a variety of experience. To promote and encourage joint preparation and opportunities for feedback, lead and junior counsel receive an additional three hours of funded conference time per trial.


All junior counsel receive brief fees consistent with Table M in the VLA Handbook for lawyersExternal Link . However, junior counsel are also entitled to an additional three hours' conferencing fee to account for time spent in conference with lead counsel throughout the trial.

Formal training

Junior counsel may be invited to participate in training opportunities throughout the year, and professional legal education on relevant subject matters such as forensic medicine, forensic psychiatry, motor vehicle accident reconstruction and investigation, DNA evidence.


The program runs over a period of approximately 12–18 months for each cohort of junior counsel. If junior counsel have not had the opportunity to run an appropriate number of trials, they may be invited to remain in the program until they have done so.

The junior counsel for 2024 are:

Given some delays and resolutions of trials in 2023, a number of the 2022–23 program participants have been invited to remain on the program.

The junior counsel for 2022–23 were:

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 05 February 2024

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