Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Federation of Community Legal Centres

Field of Law

Community Legal Centres

Stage of Career

Graduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact details

Address: Level 3, 225 Bourke St Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: 9652 1500
Visit the Federation of Community Legal Centres website
Email: administration@fclc.org.au

Description of Organisation

The Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria is the peak body for 51 community legal centres across Victoria. The Federation leads and supports community legal centres to pursue social equity and challenge injustice.

The Federation:

  • provides information and referrals to people seeking legal assistance
  • initiates and resources law reform and policy work to develop a fairer legal system that better responds to the needs of the disadvantaged
  • works to build a stronger and more effective community legal sector
  • provides services and support to community legal centres
  • represents community legal centres with stakeholders

The Federation assists its diverse membership to collaborate for justice. Workers and volunteers throughout Victoria come together through working groups and other networks to exchange ideas and develop strategies to improve the effectiveness of their work

Number of legal positions within organisation

The Federation does not employ practising legal staff as such, however, a law degree or experience in practise is an advantage for policy and project development positions.

Information for university students/graduates

Do you have a graduate clerkship program? (involving practical legal training and admission to practise)

Yes. The program provides an opportunity for law graduates to start their legal career in Victorian community legal centres.

The Scheme sponsors fees for the successful candidate's practical legal training, and then offers a 12 month contract with three placements in Victorian CLCs, one of which is a rural and regional CLC (with housing assistance). Toward the end of the 12 month period, the Federation works with the graduate to identify ongoing employment opportunities within CLCs.

How does one apply

Application details are posted on the FCLC's website

Dates for application

 Applications are usually taken in June/July each year.

Interview process

The Federation makes arrangements to interview short-listed candidates. Interviews are conducted in person. You must be available in person to attend an interview.

What are you looking for in a graduate?

  • Commitment to social justice and human rights and a strong interest in developing a career in the CLC sector;
  • Strong academic record, particularly in areas of law relevant to CLC work;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills including the ability to effectively apply the law to different fact situations;
  • High degree of initiative and resourcefulness;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively as part of a team;
  • Prior experience volunteering or working in a CLC or similar organisation highly desirable; and
  • Competency in Microsoft Word, internet and email systems.
  • Graduates must be willing to undertake the rural placement

Do you require your applicants to be recent law graduates? If so, how recent?

 No

Qualifications/skills required

The successful applicant must have completed their law degree at the time of commencing the Practical Legal Training Course and must have been admitted to practice law at the time of commencing the 12 month Graduate Lawyer position.

Will you employ graduates with a less than Credit Average?

Yes, but a strong academic record is favourable

Do you have a minimum Grade Point Average standard for an applicant's academic record?

 No, but a strong academic record is favourable

If there are any fails on a candidate's academic record how will they affect the recruitment process?

They will be taken into consideration with the whole of the application.

What sort of volunteer/internship opportunities are available?

The Federation does not have any volunteer placements currently available, other than those operated through specific university subject placements. We currently offer internship opportunities to law students through the following university subjects:

Melbourne University legal internship

Law students from Melbourne University can apply to undertake an internship with us through the Melbourne University Law School Careers Office.  Details of the internship, including key selection criteria, are available through the Careers Office.

La Trobe University - Public Interest Law Practice placement

Law students from La Trobe University can apply to undertake an internship with us through the Public Interest Law Practice subject.

Tips for students wishing to find volunteer placement in a CLC are available at the Volunteer in a CLC page on the FCLC website

Contact person for volunteers:  Lucy Larkins

Information for practising lawyers

What are you looking for in a permanent employee?

See above. As stated, the FCLC does not run a legal practice but a law degree and experience in practice are an advantage to applicants

Additional comments

Various CLC-related jobs are advertised regularly on our Jobs and Getting Involved page on the FCLC website

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