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AGLS Board nominations

The Attorney-General's Department is seeking nominations from general counsel/heads of legal or other suitably qualified senior lawyers to become members of the Australian Government Legal Service (AGLS) Board in early 2022. We are seeking to appoint 5 new board members for a term of 2 years.
Find out more about the AGLS.

AGLS Board member responsibilities

The AGLS Board is composed of 10 senior lawyers from across the Australian Government, plus a standing member from the Attorney General's Department. Membership is limited to one member per Australian Government agency (with the exception of the Attorney-General's Department), unless otherwise agreed.

The Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department appointed members of the inaugural and current AGLS Board in November 2020. They appointed 5 members for a term of 12 months and the other 5 members for a term of 24 months. All new members will be appointed for a term of 24 months. This staggered re-appointment process provides continuity in membership and ensures corporate knowledge is retained. It also provides regular opportunities for new members and perspectives.

Board members cannot renominate or serve for more than 2 consecutive terms unless the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department invites them to.

Since its appointment, the inaugural AGLS Board has focussed on establishing key governance frameworks that will support the aims of the AGLS for years to come.

This has included developing:

  • the AGLS Strategic Plan
  • AGLS committee charters and work plans
  • the AGLS stakeholder engagement and communications plan.

The strategic plan identifies key AGLS activities and is structured around 3 themes: governance, engagement and professional development.

The board oversees these streams of work, with key contributions and support from several AGLS committees. Nominated board sponsors work closely with the chairs of each committee. The Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) within the Attorney General's Department provides secretariat support to the board.

The AGLS Board Terms of Reference set out the responsibilities of AGLS Board members and appointment process. Key aspects are described below.

Board members are general counsel/heads of legal or other senior government lawyers from across the full range of Commonwealth legal practices. Members serve on a volunteer basis. They are responsible for delivering the board's objectives, including through determining the priorities and strategic direction of the AGLS.

From 2022, the board will meet at least 4 times per year. Meetings will generally occur in Canberra, but the AGLS Board members are geographically diverse, so teleconference and audio visual conference facilities are available.

Nominated board members are responsible for taking on sponsorship roles for one or more of the AGLS committees.

Board activities for 2021

This year, the board has overseen a range of activities to support government lawyers. These include:

  • The very popular Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training program, which provides training to new government lawyers on the fundamental topics relevant to their work, delivered by senior government lawyers.
  • The first test phase of the Australian Government Legal Advice Database has been completed. When fully built, the database will allow government lawyers to benefit from the knowledge and prior work of their colleagues across government. OLSC is leading this project with support from the board.
  • The new Legal Risk Committee, which brings together the heads of legal from all departments and a selection of agencies to discuss issues of shared interest, has met twice.
  • We held the inaugural AGLS Conference on 14 October 2021. The conference was delivered virtually due to the pandemic, and with 920 registered attendees was an outstanding success. The theme 'DNA of a government lawyer' highlighted the strong bond between technical legal expertise and people skills in modern legal practice.
  • The board is in the early stages of developing a heads of legal induction package and strategy to welcome and support lawyers appointed as general counsel for the first time.
  • A Mentoring Circles program, which supports the development of government lawyers through small group mentoring, is underway.

Becoming an AGLS Board member

The Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, or their delegate, appoints all board members, based on the advice of OLSC.

As set out in the AGLS Board Terms of Reference, members serve on a volunteer basis.

Membership seeks to reflect cultural, gender and regional diversity. It is also intended to reflect the full range of different types of Australian Government agencies. As much as possible, membership draws from:

  • departments
  • other non-corporate Commonwealth entities
  • corporate Commonwealth entities
  • AGS,
  • small and mid-size agencies
  • Canberra-based agencies
  • non Canberra based agencies.

Membership will also reflect diverse agency functions including policy, regulatory, specialist and operational.

An agency head must provide their written endorsement for any board nominations from their agency.

Membership is limited to one member per Commonwealth agency (with the exception of AGD), unless otherwise agreed.

How to nominate

To nominate yourself, or a suitably qualified lawyer in your agency, as an AGLS Board member, please email AGLS@governmentlawyers.gov.au with:

  • a short summary (300 words or less) of you/your colleague's interest in nominating
  • a written endorsement of the nomination from your agency head
  • the name of your agency
  • you/your colleague's usual work location
  • a copy of you/your colleague's current CV.

Nominations are due by 5:00 pm (AEST), Friday 24 December 2021.

We may also use this process to fill future board vacancies in 2022. You are welcome to forward this expression of interest to others within your network.

Find out more

For more information, including about the nomination process, contact us:

For more information about the role of an AGLS Board member, you can also contact a current board member. Contact us and we can put you in touch.

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