Purpose of the role
The primary objective of the position is to deliver of culturally appropriate legal advice, and representation to clients experiencing or at risk of family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault in accordance with the ALS policies, procedures and guidelines in care & protection, family law and civil law, including early intervention and outreach services, community legal education and referrals.
The position holder will work autonomously, under the supervision of the Managing Solicitor – Family Violence Prevention Unit (FVPU), or their delegate, and seek advice and support on a regular basis consulting with them before determining legal issues in complex matters.
The position requires a great deal of dedication; a very high level of professionalism and legal acumen; a prodigious aptitude for attention to detail; and a capacity and willingness to function as both a mentor and/or supervisor and advocate simultaneously (where appropriate and directed) whilst serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.This is an important position within the ALS and is guided in its decision-making by relevant legislation and professional obligations, ALS policies, practices and guidelines.
Duties are performed under the ultimate guidance and direction of the ALS Chief Executive Officer. The position holder will work autonomously,under the supervision of the Managing Solicitor – Family Violence Prevention Unit (FVPU), or their delegate, and seek advice and support on a regular basis consulting with them before determining legal issues in complex matters. The position holder will work collaboratively with colleagues to build a collaborative, productive and positive team and office environment.
The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT Limited (ALS) is a public company limited by guarantee and a
registered charity. The ALS aims to provide culturally appropriate information and referral, legal advice and court representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children in NSW and ACT. The ALS is committed to achieving justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The ALS remains committed to being community focused; being fearless in our advocacy; accountable and ethical and aiming to make a difference to create better futures, while also acknowledging and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional values and cultural practices.
The ALS has recently received funding in order to continue to provide legal services in Canberra, ACT and on the South Coast of NSW (based in Nowra) through the FVPU. This is a holistic service providing legal representation, advice, casework assistance and referrals to Aboriginal families impacted or affected by domestic and family violence and/or sexual assault, and related issues such as homelessness or contact with child protection. The FVPU also seeks to provide early support around intervention and community education around alternative pathways to ensure children are not removed from families and communities.
This position requires a hands-on, practical and flexible approach to problem solving, and excellent communication, negotiation and organisational skills and the ability to act autonomously and within a team environment.
Internal: The position holder will liaise closely with the Managing Solicitor – Family Violence Prevention Legal Service. They will also interact regularly with their Legal Colleagues, Casework and Community Engagement Officer and Administrative staff.
External: Externally the position holder will be required to establish and maintain relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders. The position holder will have regular contact with clients and potential clients requiring legal assistance, taking instructions, where appropriate and providing oral and written advice.
Perform responsibilities to a high standard within agreed timelines and in line with ALS vision, mission and values.
Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Providing high quality and culturally appropriate legal advice and representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in domestic and family violence, care and protection, family law, and civil law matters and undertaking court responsibilities.
- Communicating with, taking instructions from, and effectively representing Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander clients experiencing family and domestic violence who may present as distressed, have a physical or intellectual disability, or have problem behaviours such as drug or alcohol addictions, when the legal concepts involved are complex and difficult for the client to understand.
- Attending Duty Lawyer Services for domestic and family violence matters at designated local courts.
- Effectively balancing the requirements of managing a busy caseload with contributions to submissions on law reform and policy.
- Maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of a diverse range of emerging legal issues, case law and court procedures.
- Maintaining and enhancing professional competence, including maintaining a practising certificate, changes in ALS policies, systems, guidelines, practices and community needs.
- Ensuring the lawful achievement of ALS core business objectives to the highest standards of probity and efficiency, and with due reference to the interests of all stakeholders.
- Agree and set performance goals and development plans; monitor and support expected performance.
- Maintaining all files in an orderly and professional manner, including the recording of all data for statistical purposes, and contributing to bi-annual and annual reports.
- Managing systems and technology which have a significant impact on the legal practice, including adapting to and enhancing the use of these systems.
- Working collaboratively as a team member.
- Actively seek opportunities to deliver targeted community legal education on domestic and family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault, care and protection and family law to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and clients. Create community legal education presentations and fact sheets.
- Where directed, acting as a mentor to more junior solicitors regarding law, procedure and the operations of the ALS and monitoring continuing legal education.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience
To be successful in this position you will need to demonstrate:
- Knowledge and appreciation of the cultural and social needs of Aboriginal people combined with continuing respect and support for Aboriginal cultural practices when considering service delivery and other support for clients, their families, communities and staff.
- Understanding of the dynamics of family and domestic violence and its effect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
- Legal qualifications and a current NSW or ACT Practising Certificate.
- Up-to-date knowledge of and experience in family and domestic violence, care & protection and family law matters in either NSW or the ACT, including Court practice and procedure.
- Capacity and motivation to provide quality legal representation to Aboriginal people in rural and remote communities.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills combined with strong time management, legal research and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to meet deadlines, work autonomously and manage a diverse workload
- Excellent analytical and research skills.
- Ability to travel to ALS’ various offices. An inherent requirement of the job is the ability to independently travel to regional locations by car for work purposes.
- A minimum of 3 years’ experience working in family and domestic Violence, Care & Protection and/or Family Law matters.
- Experience conducting matters in Local Courts/Magistrate’s Courts, Children’s Courts, Family Court, District Court
How to apply
Applications for this position close 11:59pm, Friday 24th November 2023