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Connecting government lawyers

Transition to the Australian Government Legal Service

The government is establishing the Australian Government Legal Service (AGLS), as a formal professional network that automatically includes all government lawyers working in over 90 Australian government departments and agencies across Australia.

The AGLS is expected to launch in 2020, replacing and building on the work of the current Australian Government Legal Network (AGLN) and its sub-committees. The AGLS Transition Steering Committee is guiding the transition process.

If you’re a government lawyer, what’s in it for you?

  • Membership of the AGLS will be a core part of your professional identity.
  • You will be part of a professional network for collaboration and information sharing.
  • You will have access to training and career development opportunities like the Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training program, mentoring and secondment opportunities.
  • A dedicated website will bring together resources and networks to enhance your government lawyer experience and career pathway.

For more information please see our AGLS Information Sheet, and overview of submissions provided in response to the Transition Steering Committee’s 2019 discussion paper.

Please email agls@ag.gov.au if you have ideas about the AGLS.

AGLS website

The AGLS website is now live at www.governmentlawyers.gov.au.

The website has a range of useful resources for government lawyers including:

  • information on wellbeing support
  • links to virtual training
  • relevant publications
  • contacts.

The website will also support the virtual launch of the AGLS later this year.

Stay up to date on the latest AGLS events, courses and news.

The Australian Government Legal Network (AGLN) was launched in February 2013 by the Solicitor-General, 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.

Objectives of the network have included 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, and improving the attractiveness of government legal practice through a range of development opportunities.

The important work of the AGLN Board and its committees will continue, both until and after the Australian Government Legal Service (AGLS) is established. Between now and the establishment of the AGLS, it is business as usual.

Australian Government Legal Network Board

The AGLN Board works with sub-committees to develop the network and deliver training and events. The board is made up of 12 senior lawyers from the Australian Government.

The members of the board are:

  • Alice Linacre, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment – AGLN Board Chair
  • Elissa Keen, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Louise Vardanega, Australian Government Solicitor, Attorney-General’s Department
  • Tamsyn Harvey, Attorney-General’s Department
  • Emily Sehu, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Tim Honey, Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • Paul Barrett, Australian Sports Commission
  • Joe Rule, Civil Aviation Safety Authority
  • Kate Lalor, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Bronwyn Worswick, Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • Toni Walsh, Office of Parliamentary Counsel
  • Simon Writer, Treasury.

Membership

The network is open to all government lawyers employed in Australian Government agencies. All Australian Government lawyers will automatically become members of the AGLS when it is launched in 2020.

In the meantime, if you are an Australian Government lawyer and wish to join the network, email the AGLN Secretariat at agln@ag.gov.au, for access to the quarterly AGLN newsletter and other events and opportunities.

AGLN committees

The AGLN is assisted by volunteers who work within the following committees:

  • Conference Committee
  • Engagement Committee
  • Legal Practice Manager's Forum
  • Newsletter Committee
  • Professional Development Committee, which has two sub-committees:
    • Mentoring sub-committee
    • Legal Education sub-committee

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

Events

The AGLN has conducted many events, including seminars, an annual conference and networking events. When the AGLS is launched in 2020, members will be notified of new and continuing events.

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. The three-part seminar series is available below:

Annual Conference

In accordance with government advice around social distancing, the annual Conference for 2020 has been postponed until further notice.

In July 2019, the Conference Committee in conjunction with the Office of Legal Services Coordination held its Annual Conference in Canberra. The Hon Robert French AC delivered the keynote address on statutory interpretation, legislative intention and the limits of lawful official action. Other noteworthy speakers included Peter Quiggin PSM who provided attendees with a legislative drafter’s view on the limits of legality, and Dr Gary Saliba who spoke on advising in complex and uncertain policy environments. The conference had approximately 260 attendees.

Contacts

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

General Counsel Working Group

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

The group considers strategic issues facing the Australian Government legal services market.

The important work of the GCWG will continue until the establishment of the AGLS. Between now and the establishment of the AGLS, it is business as usual for the GCWG.

The members of the group include representatives from:

  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
  • Department of Social Services
  • Services Australia
  • The Treasury

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

Downloads

Contact details

  • AGLS Team, Office of Legal Services Coordination