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Legal practice stream - Laura

Graduate program participant

Profile image of Laura John
Laura - Legal practice stream

Name: Laura John

Year completed the AGS Graduate Program: 2016

Where in Australia are you from? Melbourne

What are your qualifications and from what university? Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws from Monash University  

Why did you choose the AGS Graduate Program? 

I wanted a career with a focus on the public interest and one which would give me the opportunity to develop technical legal skills from some of the leading government lawyers. I also wanted to assist in the development of legislative frameworks that support important government reforms.   

What did you like best about the graduate program?

The diversity of the AGS graduate program was fantastic. We completed rotations in the three practice groups (dispute resolution, OGC and commercial), worked with a community legal centre and had the opportunity to work in-house in legal and policy teams in other departments.

What type of training and development opportunities were offered?

AGS offers a diverse range of training opportunities including internal seminars on legal practice, public events on specialised areas of law and workshops focusing on career development.

What do you think makes the AGS Graduate Program different?

AGS is uniquely positioned to provide legal services to government. Although we are part of the public service, we also incorporate aspects of the private sector, which creates a dynamic work environment. 

What is it like working for AGS?

Challenging, but very rewarding! We encounter new and interesting legal issues on a weekly basis.

What were the highlights of your graduate career?

I enjoyed working closely with senior AGS lawyers and learning about the business of law. It was also great to be involved in High Court cases.

How was the transition to living and working in Canberra?

Being a Melbournian, it took time to adjust to the different lifestyle in Canberra. But there are interesting events (you just have to search for them), the surrounding mountains are great for walks and there are some great restaurants.

What type of formal and information support and networks were available during your graduate year?

I really appreciated the support I received from my buddies, who were junior lawyers. It was great to have someone to answer all those silly questions that everyone has when they start a new job.

Describe your career path since completing the graduate program.

I’ve settled in the Office of General Counsel (OGC), working in the People, Security and Information team. We specialise in constitutional law and statutory interpretation in the areas of security, migration and public international law.

What is an interesting piece of work that you have been involved in?

I worked on some interesting freedom of information (FOI) cases, focusing on the application of FOI principles to specific types of documents held by government agencies.