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Career pathways

A Commonwealth legal career can be highly rewarding, offering the opportunity to work across a broad range of subject matters and roles.

One of the primary goals of the AGLS is to support and enhance career pathways for new and existing government lawyers, and promote the benefits of the profession to those interested in joining the ranks.

How the AGLS can help you build your career

Training and qualifications

Government lawyers require a particular set of skills and knowledge to meet the Commonwealth's needs. The AGLS is committed to a strategic Commonwealth‑wide approach to the development and delivery of core training and professional development for its members.

Please visit the Training and events page for further information.

Secondments and mentoring

Shared knowledge is one of the ways we can build a strong culture and ethos amongst AGLS members. AGLS facilitates the Reciprocal Secondment Program and the Legal Circles Group Mentoring Program for government lawyers across capital cities and the regions.

If you are interested in participating in mentoring or other knowledge-sharing programs, please contact us.

Job searching and recruitment

The AGLS will be looking at ways to better coordinate recruitment and mobility of government lawyers across the Commonwealth.

You can search for government lawyer vacancies on the APS Jobs website.

Professional identity

We understand the complexities that can make it difficult to form a professional identity as a government lawyer. You are a lawyer and a public servant. Your clients are business line areas, entity heads, Ministers, the Attorney‑General and the Commonwealth. Your focus is both agency-specific and whole-of-government.

The AGLS is working to forge and strengthen the concept of your professional identity with initiatives such as:

  • providing guidance for new government lawyers on the expectations of the role
  • creating a definition of 'government lawyer'
  • better defining roles and responsibilities
  • facilitating cross-agency collaboration, and
  • facilitating formal and informal networks.

It will take time to see this ethos emerge, but your engagement with the AGLS will help us achieve it. Subscribe to the mailing list at the bottom of the page to learn about new opportunities as they arise.

Findings from the Secretary's Review

Chapter 5 of the Secretary's Review of Commonwealth Legal Services (the Secretary's Review) is dedicated to government legal careers, and we encourage all members to read it. It examines the topics of professional identity, professional development arrangements and recruitment and mobility practices for government lawyers.

The Secretary's Review recognised the unique set of obligations that are placed upon government lawyers, as opposed to private and corporate lawyers. The AGLS offers opportunities for members that are tailored to the broad and complex range of skills, knowledge and expertise demanded of government lawyers.

Recommendation 8 states that 'Government lawyers should have a clear statement of expectations, ongoing tailored training in core skills and mobility opportunities'.

The AGLS is implementing these reforms through initiatives such as the Reciprocal Secondment Program, the Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training, Legal Circles Group Mentoring Program and a variety of networking and collaboration opportunities.