Legal Graduates

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s (DESE) legal area is a career pathway for talented and motivated law graduates.

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Graduates will have the opportunity to work on a broad range of legal work in an Australian Government department and gain exposure to Australian Government policies and programs.

Our speciality legal stream graduates will undertake a holistic work program within the legal practice to gain skills and experience. Legal graduates will also have access to a specific legal blended learning program offering a combination of structured training and on the job experience. Support may also be offered towards completion of a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and admission as a Legal Practitioner if required.

What our legal graduates do

The department’s in-house legal practice offers a wide range of services. Our lawyers provide legal advice across the range of the department’s responsibilities (including in relation to the development of legislation and the conduct of litigation).

Graduates are involved in the full range of work undertaken by our legal teams. Areas include government and administrative law, corporate and commercial law, intellectual property, litigation (including some advocacy work), social security, information law and legislation development.

‘Every day in the DESE Corporate Legal Team is different, but the core focus of my work involves working to provide legal advice, research and other support to my team. This includes processing freedom of information (FOI) requests, providing advice on a range of privacy and probity issues, as well as commercial advice for matters such as variations of departmental contracts. To do this, I need to be across various legislation, such as the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act. My team is in contact with many different line areas within the department, meaning that no two days are the same. Working as an in-house legal graduate has exposed me to a massive array of different and complex legal matters, and I learn new things on the job every day.’ - Damon, Legal Graduate (2020)

‘In my role, our team supports the Skills area – and I’ve had the chance to work on legislative drafting, drafting legal advice, and have had a few opportunities to work with my supervisor on contract variations. The coolest thing about my job is the breadth of work that I have had the chance to be exposed to. Our team is always busy and have many different types of work going on at once. This has given me a chance to try many different things and every day is always different!’ - Tanya, Legal Graduate (2020)

Who we are looking for

“DESE’s legal practice prides itself on deeply understanding its clients’ business and providing innovative and practical legal solutions to often complex challenges. Our lawyers are collegiate, collaborative, and committed to each other’s development and success. If you see yourself as a motivated, critical thinker who wants to solve problems which directly impact the Australian community in a supportive and high performing environment, then DESE legal is for you!”- Legal Graduate Coordination Team

We offer career opportunities for highly talented and motivated law graduates. We are looking for graduates who have:

  • a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice or a commitment to complete the qualification and gain admission as a Legal Practitioner.

Additionally, graduates should:

  • have excellent legal and analytical capabilities
  • have outstanding interpersonal and communication skills
  • have personal drive and enthusiasm
  • show initiative and flexibility
  • possess leadership qualities.

The department has consistently featured in the Top 100 Graduate Employer rankings over the past few years. This achievement highlights our active commitment to supporting talented graduates, helping them to expand their skills and experience, and reach their full potential.

Applying for our Graduate Program

Applications for the 2022 Graduate Program are now closed

If you have any questions, email