The only paid community law legal training for law graduates in Australia is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this week.
The Fitzroy Legal Service - in conjunction with Allens Arthur Robinson - is the only community law-articled clerkship (now known as a legal traineeship) in Victoria.
The program provides law graduates with the opportunity to pursue a paid traineeship in social justice law. The traineeship gives a law graduate the opportunity to participate in law reform, social activism, as well as the chance to gain experience in criminal and family law.
The traineeship receives more than 90 applicants each year and competition is fierce.
Organisers say that the high level of student interest in this role reflects the willingness of graduates to forgo the sophistication of the corporate firms, opting instead for the gritty and exciting social justice work of community legal centres (CLCs).
There are now plans afoot to expand the program to include more CLCs in both urban and regional Victoria. The Federation of Community Law Centres (Vic) (FCLC) is seeking funding and plans to draw on the traineeship model created by the FLS/Allens to develop a structured CLC Law Graduate Program.