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Legalite, Victoria University partner on ‘industry-leading’ First Nations pathway

An award-winning commercial law firm has partnered with Victoria University to establish an initiative aimed at addressing the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the legal profession.

user iconGrace Robbie 08 July 2024 NewLaw
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Legalite has collaborated with Victoria University to create the Yirramboi Pathway, which is an “industry-leading” pathway for First Nations students studying law at the university.

The pathway was co-designed with the established Indigenous academic unit at Victoria University, Moondani Balluk.

The Yirramboi Pathway, which commenced on 1 July 2024, was “designed to create tangible opportunities for First Nations law students to have agency over their own success and build a pathway into the legal industry”.


This partnership follows the Law Society of NSW’s report on the profile of solicitors practising in Australia in 2022, revealing that only 749 solicitors, which is less than 1 per cent of solicitors nationally, identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.

In part of their collaboration with Victoria University, Legalite will:

  • “Provide a flexible sponsorship package to Victoria University, supporting their First Nations law students with critical needs during their studies, such as textbooks, boarding costs, or laptops.
  • “Subsidise practical legal training with Leo Cussen – chosen for their track record in supporting First Nations students with tailored programs and opportunities.
  • “Provide a paid internship with Legalite, giving meaningful work experience and on-the-job mentoring and training.”
In addition, the commercial law firm will offer ongoing support after practical legal training by offering guidance on establishing a legal career tailored to the student’s individual strengths, preferences, and needs.

Legalite will also provide coaching for career development and interview readiness, as well as facilitate connections with firms’ extensive network to generate ongoing prospects for students.

Marianne Marchesi, the managing principal of Legalite, conveyed her appreciation and underscored her aspirations for Legalite’s initiative to serve as a source of inspiration for other law firms in establishing significant opportunities for First Nations law students.

“I feel honoured and grateful to be able to contribute to, and create genuine opportunities for, First Nations law students.

“My hope is that Legalite can inspire other law firms to follow suit so that together we can make a meaningful impact across the board in carving out opportunities for First Nations law students,” Marchesi said.

The dean of law for Victoria University, Lidia Xynas, highlighted the university’s pride in collaborating with Legalite, expressing how this partnership is expected to significantly enhance their students’ employment opportunities.

“VU is proud to be partnering with a law firm like Legalite, whose authentic commitment to creating opportunities for First Nations students will certainly positively impact the employment outcomes for these students and help shape the future of the legal profession,” Xynas said.

Moondani Balluk’s Aboriginal student support coordinator at Victoria University, Marcus Brooke, also said: “VU and Moondani Balluk appreciate Legalite’s support to enrich our First Nations students’ experiences.”