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 Connecting government lawyers

Australian Government Legal Network

The Australian Government Legal Network aims to support the professional development of government lawyers, enhance the delivery of legal services to the Australian Government, and support the Attorney-General as First Law Officer.

The network facilitates information sharing by lawyers employed by the Australian Government. Objectives of the network include:

  • professionalising government in-house practices
  • creating a support network for government lawyers
  • further developing the Australian Government's role as an informed purchaser of legal services
  • improving the attractiveness of government legal practice through a range of development opportunities.

The Australian Government Legal Network was launched on 28 February 2013 by the Solicitor-General.

Australian Government Legal Network Board

A board has been appointed to develop the network. The board comprises 13 senior lawyers from the Australian Government public sector:

The members of the board are:

  • Chair - Ms Elizabeth Carroll: Chief Legal Counsel, IP Australia
  • Ms Elissa Keen: Deputy General Counsel, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Ms Janine Webster: Chief Counsel, Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Mr Alan Grinsell-Jones, Branch Manager, Department of Social Services
  • Ms Bernadette O'Sullivan: Principal Legal Officer, Department of Home Affairs
  • Sara Samios: Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Legal Services Coordination, Attorney-General's Department
  • Simon Writer: General Counsel, Department of Environment and Energy
  • Paul Barrett: Corporate Counsel, Australian Sports Commission.


The network is open to all legal service providers employed in Australian Government agencies.

If you are an Australian Government lawyer and wish to join the network, email the Australian Government Legal Network Secretariat at agln@ag.gov.au.

Current committees

The Australian Government Legal Network is assisted by volunteers in the following committees:

  • Conference Committee
  • Engagement Committee
  • Newsletter Editorial Board Committee
  • Professional Development Committee
  • Mentoring Sub-committee
  • Commonwealth Legal Manager's Forum.

If you are an Australian Government lawyer and you wish to volunteer, please contact the Australian Government Legal Network at agln@ag.gov.au.


The Australian Government Legal Network conducts events throughout the year. This includes seminars, the annual conference and networking events. The AGLN also provides notifications for continuing legal education sessions held by members of the group.

Professional Development Seminars

The Professional Development Committee in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel conducted free seminars in Canberra during 2018 on policy related topics. These seminars were very well attended and positively received. The three-part seminar series is made available for those who were not able to attend the sessions in person:

Annual Conference 2018

On 25 July 2018, the Conference Committee in conjunction with the Office of Legal Services Coordination within the Attorney‑General's Department held its annual Conference at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. The theme for the day was 'Adapting to Change' and included topics that highlighted themes from the Secretary's Review of Legal Services. The Conference sold out a week prior to the event, with over 260 attendees. Feedback from the event was very positive, with 93% of attendees rating the Conference as meeting or exceeding their expectations.

For the 2019 Conference, join the AGLN to receive advance notice of when tickets go on sale so you don't miss out!


For more information including upcoming events, follow the Australian Government Legal Network:

If you are interested in receiving the AGLN newsletter, please email agln@ag.gov.au.

General Counsel Working Group

The General Counsel Working Group is a representative group of 12 senior legal services practice leaders from across the Australian Government.

The group was established in August 2010 and considers strategic issues facing the Australian Government legal services market.

The members of the group include:

  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Defence Materiel Organisation
  • Department of Communications and the Arts
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Jobs and Small Business
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Social Services.

Our department provides secretariat support to the General Counsel Working Group.​