Careers in Public Interest and Government

Find information on opportunities within MLS to gain entry within public interest and government departments.

Public Interest

For graduates interested in pursuing a public interest pathway, community legal centres, legal aid commissions and national and international non-government organisations provide excellent opportunities for employment.

Previous graduates have occupied positions at the Women's Legal Service Victoria, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and the United Nations.

Gaining entry to these organisations typically involves undertaking volunteering opportunities, or internships and placements.

Tips for students applying for jobs in public interest law

First, research your organisation. Think about what skills you have that will add value to the work they do and emphasise those skills in your application. Any experience in areas in which the organisation specialises should be emphasised, even if it is not legal experience, since it will demonstrate your commitment and passion. Remember that even though you may not have a great deal of legal experience you are sure to have life experience and skills which are relevant and unique.

It is also a fantastic idea to attend any public interest law events, such as the Melbourne Law School Public Interest Law Fair, and talk to people who already work in this field for information and advice.

Even if you want to pursue a commercial career, remember that experiential learning in the public interest sector will assist you in developing skills that are transferable to any kind of employment. You will also gain an insight into different workplaces and may make valuable professional contacts.

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Graduates who wish to pursue a government pathway typically seek employment from federal, state and local government departments, across a variety of departments and interest areas.

As well as practising roles, these bodies provide graduates with the opportunity to explore roles in policy, strategy and management, where the skills developed with a JD are particularly applicable.

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