Legal

Legal Aid Officer

Legal aid officers provide access to free legal advice and assistance for socially or economically disadvantaged members of the community.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Legal Aid Officer do?

Legal aid officers provide access to free legal advice and assistance for socially or economically disadvantaged members of the community.

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Work activities

As a legal aid officer, you would:

  • meet with clients to gather information and take instructions
  • advise clients on the law and legal matters relating to their case
  • draft letters, contracts or documents based on the client's needs
  • research similar cases to guide your current work
  • act on behalf of your clients, and prepare cases for court as necessary
  • attend mediation or arbitration on behalf of your client
  • calculate claims for damages, compensation, and family maintenance
  • complete timesheets and other billing and charges documentation
  • keep up to date with changes and developments in your area of the law.

In each state and territory, legal aid organisations deliver a wide range of legal assistance services in criminal, family and civil law matters. Some legal assistance is available free-of-charge to everyone, including through free brochures, information sessions or telephone legal advice.

The legal aid organisations vary in each State and territory with regard to what is offered. Everyone is entitled to some degree of legal aid, which is a set limit, after which financial checks are required for clients. Some legal aid organisations deliver legal services in partnership with the private legal profession through grants of legal aid.

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Key skills and interests

To become a legal aid officer, you would need:

  • a passion for justice and fairness
  • strong spoken and written communication skills
  • the ability to absorb and analyse large amounts of information
  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to explain legal matters clearly in non-legal language
  • confidence and a persuasive manner
  • the ability to work under pressure
  • time management and strong organisational skills.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a legal aid officer, you would normally work a standard number of hours per week. Long working hours are very common in all roles the law. In some jobs you may also be on call on weekends and public holidays.

Conditions

Legal aid officers work mainly for government legal aid services or in the private legal profession through grants of legal aid. You would mainly be based in an office, and might need to travel to visit clients.

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How to become an Legal Aid Officer?

Entry Level Education

To become a legal aid officer, you usually have to complete a degree in law at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. You can also undertake a combined degree in law and another discipline. The prerequisite subjects required for entry into these combined courses also depend on the chosen non-law component..

In order to be eligible for admission to practice law, it is necessary to complete an accredited program of practical legal training (PLT) on completion of your degree. On completion of the required academic and practical legal training you may apply to the Supreme Court in your State for admission as a lawyer.

In some States, you can also become a lawyer by completing an accredited Diploma in Law, followed by a period of practical legal training.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of legal aid officers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Legal aid roles are usually government-funded, so the number of available positions depends somewhat on the available funding. Competition for jobs is generally strong because more students graduate from law schools each year than there are jobs available.

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