We’re developing a highly productive and satisfied workforce operating in a team environment.
Promote and reward leadership in teams and individuals.
Maintain a culture that motivates employees and encourages a balance of work and life demands.
Sustain a high-performing and skilled workforce through effective recruitment and retention strategies, and staff development.
82 Legal Aid Queensland Annual Report 2007-08
Recognising our expertise Providing flexible work practices
During the year, Deputy Public Defender Tony We want our staff to have a good work–life
Moynihan SC was appointed Queensland’s balance and in 2007–08 we continued to offer
Director of Public Prosecutions. Tony appeared flexible working options. This year we introduced
in many high profile criminal and civil matters for a Supplementary Leave Scheme, which provides
our clients, and provided wonderful leadership staff with up to six weeks extra paid leave a
to our in-house counsel and solicitors during year through a salary sacrifice arrangement. We
the past nine years. His appointment recognises also developed guidelines for considering staff
his formidable advocacy skills and outstanding requests for ‘leave without pay’, and compiled
achievements, and that we provide our lawyers psychological wellbeing resource material for
with great opportunities to undertake important staff.
and challenging work.
We continued to successfully use telecommuting
Rewarding staff performance as a way to balance work and family
We believe in promoting and rewarding commitments. Telecommuters are monitored
leadership, and continued to recognise and regularly and continued to meet their targets, and
reward staff performance this year. Staff awards attended the office when needed for meetings
were based on: or training. All telecommuter reviews have been Former Deputy Public Defender Tony Moynihan
commitment to providing high-quality service
achievement of performance goals
We also continued to provide remote computer Keeping our staff safe
access to many staff and began trialling wireless
supportive work practices and positive
During the year, we engaged external consultants
laptops to support more flexible working
relationships AusSafe to review our workplace security
practices for our staff, particularly those who
arrangements and explored best practice
innovative approach to dealing with
work part time.
standards in occupational violence matters. The
challenges. review resulted in policies and protocols being
developed to ensure we maintain our duty of care
to our staff, clients and the general public.
Forward thinking 83
Strengthening our workforce used initially to deliver induction and records advocacy workshops targeted at improving
To support the professional development of our management e-learning courses to staff. our lawyers’ competence, confidence,
staff, during the year we: knowledge and skills
We provided our staff with comprehensive
maintained our accreditation with the
high-quality legal advice, including prison
training and development activities. Topics
Queensland Law Society and the Bar advice
Association of Queensland as an in-house family dispute resolution
continuing professional development provider leadership and practice management
independent children’s lawyer and separate
(until 31 March 2008), allowing us to offer teamwork
staff weekly continuing legal education
project management, analysis and evaluation
presentations, intensive training sessions and youth justice conferencing
workshops identifying clients with an intellectual
disability and cognitive impairment
developed an induction program for new
information technology/using computers
senior solicitors and legal officers who criminal, family and civil law legislation
expressed interest in relieving at a regional online legal information resources, legal
office; the program comprises six modules: databases and knowledge-sharing tools
legal practice, human resources and criminal injuries compensation
ethics, trust accounts and risk management
industrial relations issues, performance criminal law processes and procedures
management, client information services, administrative duties
financial management, and grants functions advanced communication skills — mental
regional network coordinators’ and regional
introduced a Team Health Check tool to
contacts’ roles and duties.
evaluate team performance and areas for self-care and protection
future development Staff also attended relevant internal and
cross-cultural awareness and working with
external conferences and seminars. Several staff
began piloting Moodle as a software platform
presented papers at external conferences.
for developing e-learning courses for staff deaf awareness
and to improve our learning and development
professionals’ skills; the software will be domestic and family violence
In 2008–09, we will implement new policies and procedures to ensure our staff are safe while working in our offices, at courts, prisons and other
84 Legal Aid Queensland Annual Report 2007-08
Continuing legal education training to new and existing customer service Legal advice training
The Legal Practice ran an extensive in-house staff. We provide our lawyers with legal advice training
continuing legal education program to ensure each year to ensure the advice they provide to
staff are up to date with the latest legislation Grants staff training clients is of the highest standard. This year we
and best practice techniques. A weekly seminar Grants staff and customer service officers around provided training to 94 people, including lawyers
program, teleconferenced to regional offices, was the state continued to participate in learning and from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
offered to all staff again this year and included development programs to ensure they performed Legal Service and 15 community legal centres
presentations from guest speakers and lecturers, their roles effectively. Programs included: (CLCs). This was the first time we have provided
including Chief Magistrate Judge Irwin, who training to external lawyers. The program was
Core competency program — to develop
presented on advocacy in the magistrates court; directed at lawyers working in a legal clinic
the skills needed for an acceptable level of
barrister Stephen Keim SC and solicitor Peter environment where the aim is to provide clients
workplace performance. The program is aimed
Russo, who spoke about their experiences in with an understanding of their legal problem and
at new grants officers, regional administrative
defending Dr Mohammed Haneef; and Professor how best to deal with it. We received positive
officers and regional customer service
Geraldine McKenzie, head of the University comments, especially from CLC staff who
officers. All new staff to these positions
of Southern Queensland School of Law, who expressed their gratitude at being included in the
completed this program.
presented on sentencing principles. Practitioners training.
from other law firms and legal services who do Capability program — targets specific
legal aid work also attended. outcomes to meet organisational and Graduate recruitment
personal development needs resulting from
We received more than 200 applications for
Client information officer training changes to legislation, court and budget
graduate/trainee legal officer positions in the
processes. The program helps us map the
As part of our commitment to providing Legal Practice, leading to 10 graduates being
practical pathways for achieving goals. It
high-quality services, we provide our client employed. The candidates’ calibre was again
also uses in-house staff and external guest
information officers with an extensive training exceptional, confirming our standing as a first-
speakers to meet staff training needs. Most
program. During the year, 15 new client choice employer for many recent graduates.
Grants staff completed this program.
information officers successfully completed pre-
service training. The training includes sessions Professional development program
Our graduate recruits begin their work in a team
to assist client information staff work with people — to improve the professional capability dedicated to their training and development.
from non-English-speaking and Aboriginal and of staff. The program included the Grants From the start, they manage files and interact
Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. Conference, which covered topics such directly with clients, receiving extensive guidance
as multiculturalism, plain language from our senior lawyers to ensure they achieve
We provide our call centre staff with classroom- principles, child abduction, and personal the highest possible standard in a supportive
based training every month. This year, training communication. Staff also attended a two- environment.
focused on legislative changes, specialist day civil law ‘intensive’ aimed at improving
services and client management skills. We also grants officers’ knowledge and skills in
supported our regional offices by providing administrative decision-making, domestic
violence and child protection.
Forward thinking 85
We continued to run our Vacation Clerkship
Program with an emphasis on practical work
experience. We selected 10 students who had
applied to join teams in the Legal Practice for two
weeks; most students were placed in criminal
law teams. Several of this year’s clerks applied
for permanent positions in the graduate recruit
Practical legal training
The Queensland University of Technology Legal
Clinic course offers final-year law students the
chance to work at Legal Aid Queensland one
day every week for 13 weeks. Twelve students
participated in the program this year, building
their practical legal skills and gaining an Graduate recruits Darin Clearwater, Tim Clements, Kate McMahon and Tom Zwoerner
understanding of the day-to-day workings of a
busy legal practice. The students are assessed on
their attendance record, participation and a final University’s Practical Legal Training course student participated in a four-week program
paper. The program has received encouraging and Griffith University’s Semester in Practice covering criminal, civil and family law.
comments from all involved. undergraduate course. Students participated
in a 15-week work experience program, gaining School-based traineeship
The University of Queensland Civil Law Clinical valuable, hands-on experience. The placement is In 2007–08, we employed an Indigenous
Education Program offers law students the the final step in satisfying the requirements for school-based trainee to work in our Cairns
chance to work in our Brief Services Unit one admission as a solicitor in Queensland. office. The trainee was employed for 18 months,
day every week for 10 weeks. This year, 20 while completing a Certificate II in Business
students participated in the program, building Our Woodridge office offered a placement to Administration.
their practical legal skills and providing minor a legal practice course student as part of their
assistance to civil law clients. The students practical component. The Griffith University
Sustaining our workforce
are assessed on instruction, file maintenance, student worked in the office one day a week for
letter writing, research, understanding and one semester. We promoted our Program 50+ retention strategy
communication. to staff aged 50 and over. The strategy aims to
Our Cairns office offered a placement to a legal retain staff who might otherwise retire early.
We offered three law students the chance to practice course student as part of their practical We helped staff identify mutually suitable
work in our Southport office as part of Bond component. The Australian National University alternatives to taking early full-time retirement.
86 Legal Aid Queensland Annual Report 2007-08