There are many online resources that are useful when looking for Social Justice Opportunities. Below we provide a by-no-means exhaustive list of the websites and directories you may like to check out. For more information on particular areas go to the relevant page (as listed on the left)
- 1. Social Justice and why you should get involved
- 2. Employment websites
- 3. Community Legal Centres
- 4. Government
- 5. Graduate Internships
- 6. Legal Aid Offices
- 7. Pro Bono
- 8. Student Internships
You can make a positive difference to your community!
Justice usually involves fairness in individual cases, but social justice is about more than this. It is about ensuring that the structures of society are fair and just for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Lawyers working to improve social justice outcomes often use individual cases to illustrate how an unjust law should be amended, or run test cases to change an unfair law that affects many people.
Get involved in social justice right now and continue that commitment throughout your legal career. You can do this:
- While studying at university
- By volunteering at any time
- In your PLT placement
- In the job that you choose
- By doing pro bono legal work
Getting involved in social justice means helping your community or a fellow human being who is having a tough time, but it isn’t just about the warm fuzzy feeling you get on the inside. It is also an opportunity to apply your legal knowledge practically. Learning blackletter law in lectures is different to learning how the law applies in ‘real life’ situations.
Whether you are hoping to get a clerkship, looking for a graduate position, or aiming to work in a not-for-profit organisation, your practical experience will provide you with the broader legal experience that employers are looking for.
You will learn how to communicate with clients and colleagues, work well in a team and will develop skills in negotiation, dispute resolution, drafting, legal research and analysis.
If you are interested in working in the not-for-profit or public sector after you graduate, volunteering will give you a head-start by providing networking opportunities and improving your knowledge of the sector. Many law firms and corporate employers have Corporate Social Responsibility and Pro Bono policies, and volunteer experience indicates that your values resonate with theirs. Volunteer experience also reflects a well-rounded and mature individual.
Becoming involved in social justice is a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people and make new friends, but the greatest benefit is having the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are able to help people, contribute to society and make a difference.
Whatever your interests or goals, there’s a place for you in social justice initiatives!
We list current legal job opportunities in the social justice sector:
- Latest Opportunities - a list of current employment, PLT and volunteering opportunities on our homepage
- Twitter - five to ten updates per week on current opportunities, with links
- Facebook - one or two updates per week, generally summaries of what is available or trending on the site.
On top of the specialist employment websites listed below or on the Looking for a Job page (devoted to a particular sector and/or location), there are many general and legal-focused employment websites out there. There are a few that are of particular note:
- Beyond Law - a legal job-search, news and resources site for Australian law students, graduates & young lawyers. Generally includes a good list of employment and internship opportunities in the social justice sector.
- Ethical Jobs - a general job search website that only includes jobs "... that contribute to a more equitable, more just or more sustainable world". Search using the classification "Legal & Human Rights."
- Pro Bono Australia - an website that includes a Jobs Board for the not for profit sector. Usually a relatively short list of jobs, primarily those in charities. Search under category "Legal."
To find out which CLCs are currently looking for volunteers check out www.clcvolunteers.net.au.
The best place to find information on the CLCs in your state is your state's peak CLC body website (see below). For those states and territories where the peak body does not maintain a website you can find a list of CLCs in your state or territory on the National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc website (links below)
- Australian Capital Territory - see NACLC's location map of CLCs
- New South Wales - Community Legal Centres NSW
- Northern Territory - NACLC's location map of CLCs
- Queensland - Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services (QAILS)
- South Australia - South Australian Council of Community Legal Services (SACCLS)
- Tasmania - NACLC's location map of CLCs
- Victoria - Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria
- Western Australia - Community Legal Centres Association WA
Each state and territory has both generalist CLCs (offering legal assistance to those living in a defined geographic area) and specialist CLCs (offering assistance in relation to particular areas of law, social groups or interests). Generalist CLCs also often have specialist clinics and programs.
The best way to find out about the specialist CLCs in your state and territory is to visit your CLC peak body’s website (see above), look to see which ones interest you and then check their websites. There are also some community legal services which have set up formal and informal networks across the country - for example, see the National Welfare Rights Network or the Environmental Defenders Office.
For more information on working in governments departments, agencies and authorities look here. For a list of Legal Aid offices see below.
The Commonwealth Government and each State and Territory's Government have general career websites for finding employment:
- Commonwealth - http://www.apsjobs.gov.au/
- Australian Capital Territory - http://www.jobs.act.gov.au/
- New South Wales - https://jobsnsw.taleo.net/careersection/all_jobs/jobsearch.ftl
- Northern Territory - https://jobs.nt.gov.au/Search.aspx
- Queensland - http://www.jobs.qld.gov.au/
- South Australia - http://www.vacancies.sa.gov.au/NOVPUblic/asp/public/Home.aspx
- Tasmania - http://www.jobs.tas.gov.au/
- Victoria - http://jobs.careers.vic.gov.au/jobtools/jncustomsearch.jobsearch?in_organid=14123
- Western Australia - http://www.jobs.wa.gov.au/
Don't forget to check out the websites of the department, agency or authority you are interested in for more information on what they do, plus any information on internships or other employment programs
For more detailed information on working at a Legal Aid Commission look here. Below is a list of employment pages on Legal Aid websites:
- Australian Capital Territory - Legal Aid ACT Careers Page
- New South Wales - Legal Aid NSW 'Working at Legal Aid' page
- Northern Territory - Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission (General > Employment Opportunities tab)
- Queensland - Legal Aid Queensland Careers page
- South Australia - Legal Services Commission of South Australia Careers Page
- Tasmania - Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania Jobs Page
- Victoria - Victoria Legal Aid Careers
- Western Australia - WA Legal Aid Employment Opportunities
For more information on undertaking pro bono work look here. Some states have Public Interest Law Clearing Houses, which are organisations that refer pro bono matters in the public interest to their members (firms, barristers and individual solicitors). All states and territories have formal or informal pro bono referral schemes managed by their law society or bar association (in Queensland and Victoria these schemes are also managed by the state’s Public Interest Law Clearing House).
- New South Wales - Justice Connect, incorporating NSW and Victoria (formerly the Public Interest Law Clearing House (incorporating NSW and Victoria)
- Queensland - Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH)
- South Australia - JusticeNet SA
- Victoria - Justice Connect - formerly the Public Interest Law Clearing House (incorporating Victoria and NSW)
To find out about your state or territory’s Law Society or Bar Association pro bono referral scheme check their website (as listed on the Law Council of Australia’s website) or contact them directly.