Trainees from our 2015/16 program. Left to right Jeremy Baker, Lidija Bujanovic, Andrea Main, Michale McCagh and Caitlin Doherty.
Being one of ten trainees in 2014 at the VGSO, a larger number than previous years, if it was not for our lack of experience and qualification as admitted lawyers (minor hurdles) we could have started our own firm! Shortly after beginning my traineeship and giving up this ludicrous notion, I realised that the VGSO was a great place to work, and despite our group's large number I think we all felt included and were given plenty of interesting work and guidance from the outset. One of the more surprising aspects of my traineeship, and a benefit of being able to rotate through four of the five branches of the office, was finding that I enjoyed areas of law I did not expect I would and that I new little about. Looking back at my experience, some of the things I valued most about my traineeship year include: the responsibility we were often given to liaise with clients and run our own files, the 'open-door' working environment and feeling comfortable approaching senior and junior lawyers to workshop legal issues, the 'work-life-balance' (excuse the cliche), which meant I could keep up all the sporting activities I love and not feel pressured to work unnecessarily long hours, and the diversity of the work I was given, which allowed me to get a much better understanding of the areas of law I wanted to specialise in in the future.
One of the most attractive features of the traineeship at the VGSO is the diversity of legal practice: we advise government clients on everything from constitutional law and human rights, to commercial contracts and Royal Commissions. In my four unique rotations, I was fortunate to work on a wide variety of matters in areas including privacy law, freedom of information, torts, administrative law, coronial inquests, equal opportunity, vexatious litigants, and employment law.
I particularly enjoyed the autonomy and trust I received as a trainee, which I found invaluable for my learning and development. During my traineeship I was given the opportunity to run my own files and advices under supervision, instruct counsel at court, liaise with clients and witnesses, and negotiate with solicitors on the other side. With this training, I feel ready to take on the challenges that next year will bring.
I had a fantastic time during the VGSO Traineeship. The firm has a very welcoming culture for trainees. Lawyers and non-legal staff have a universal 'open door policy' and are very happy to provide support and guidance. The variety of government legal work is unrivalled in Melbourne and trainees get their hands dirty from day one. Each of the five branches has a unique mix of staff and clients, and at the end of the 12 months trainees have a very solid foundation from which to start their legal careers. I highly recommend the traineeship for anyone interested in government and public law.
For further details about the Traineeship Program please contact:
Amy Scanlon, Human Resources Advisor
Victorian Government Solicitor's Office
Level 25, 121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
tel + 61 3 9032 3020
fax + 61 3 9032 3049