Victoria Law Foundation Legal Policy Internship Program Deciding on a career path can be a difficult exercise for law graduates. Knowledge is essential to making the right choice, and while many students consider undertaking corporate clerkships to gain experience, for those with a public-minded approach, Victoria Law Foundation’s Legal Policy Internship Program is an excellent alternative option. Victoria Law Foundation is an independent, community benefit organisation promoting greater understanding of the law . Each year, the Foundation coordinates a Legal Policy Internship Program for law students with a career interest in legal research, policy development and community legal education. The Foundation aims to match the interests of students who apply for the Program with the needs of various public sector organisations. Host agencies include the Department of Justice, the Victorian Bar as well as the Victorian Law Reform Commission among others. The internships are four weeks in duration, and are undertaken either full time in a four week block over the summer or winter break or on a part time basis over the semester. As an intern at Victoria Law Foundation this year, I have had the opportunity to work on a number of varied and interesting tasks which have allowed me to develop my writing, communication, research and project management skills. In particular, my major project with the Marketing team has been organising and promoting Law Week; a national program designed to educate, inspire and engage diverse sectors of the community with the law. The project has given me invaluable ‘hands-on’ experience with many aspects of marketing including promotional writing, event organisation and sponsorship. It has also enabled me to learn about the breadth of organisations which provide free legal advice and support to many people in need throughout the community. During the internship, the Foundation runs training workshops, featuring noted professionals in the legal policy arena. The Foundation arranges for various presenters to speak to interns about their agency, the type of work they do and general writing, policy and advocacy skills. The seminars also provide an opportunity to meet other interns and discuss different internship projects. Some recent internship projects have included research and policy development for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission; giving telephone advice about neighbourhood disputes on the Disputes Infoline at the Dispute Settlement Centre; as well as work for the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal Registry in relation to urgent and important cases. Working in legal research, policy, development or education can be challenging, rewarding and inspiring all at once. If you think you might want to work outside traditional legal practice in the public sector, then participating in Victoria Law Foundation’s Legal Policy Internship Program will help you make an informed choice – and might even provide that often elusive ‚foot in the door‛. Further information can be found at www.victorialaw.org.au Terri Abeysekera is a Melbourne University law student and past intern with the Victoria Law Foundation, who now works for the Foundation as a Media Officer.
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