Senior Community Lawyer, Neighbourhood Justice Centre

Applications are now open for the position of Senior Community Lawyer with the Fitzroy Legal Service.

The Senior Community Lawyer will lead, drive and monitor our services delivered at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC).  This position will contribute to NJC strategy, planning and evaluation activities, the ongoing development of the NJC model, and to ensuring that FLS participation is relevant to meeting community need and the objectives of the NJC.  

Recruitment information can be downloaded here.   Applications close 5pm Friday 15th September 2017.

RECRUITMENT INFORMATION – Senior Community Lawyer (Neighbourhood Justice Centre)

The Fitzroy Legal Service (FLS) opened its doors in December 1972.  FLS is a community-based organisation, independent of government, assisting members of the community whose access to legal resources is limited. 

Our services include:

  • a legal advice service that operates five nights a week, staffed primarily by volunteer lawyers;
  • an outreach service and four specialist legal advice clinics (specialising in family law, animal law and LGBTIQ-related legal issues);
  • a self-funding day practice that offers criminal and family law casework and court representation;
  • a Drug Outreach Lawyer program that provides community legal education, referral, advice, advocacy and ongoing casework services to drug users on an outreach basis through health justice partnerships;
  • assistance with family law and family violence on an outreach basis through health justice partnerships in the City of Yarra;
  • two duty lawyers providing advice, casework and support services at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre;
  • community development and community legal education activities, public interest litigation, law reform and the development of legal research and policy; and
  • Publication of The Law Handbook (hard copy, eBook and online) as well as other websites and resources.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Applicants are asked to address the Key Selection Criteria in the position description. Applicants who do not address all the selection criteria will not be offered an interview.

Candidates are requested to email Fitzroy Legal Service the following as one PDF document:

  • A covering letter, no longer than one page;
  • A document which addresses the key selection criteria and
  • A resume which includes your contact details, education, previous work and volunteer experience.

Applications should be addressed to Jen Black, Principal Solicitor and emailed by 5pm, Friday 15th September 2017, to jblack@fitzroy-legal.org.au.    Interviews will be conducted the week beginning Monday 25th September 2017.

Any enquiries should be directed to FLS Principal Solicitor Jennifer Black via email jblack@fitzroy-legal.org.au.

Position Objective

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (‘NJC’) encompasses one court, and on- site services such as drug and alcohol, mental health, corrections, financial counselling, housing, and other types of community support. The NJC provides services for people who live in the City of Yarra or who have legal matters listed at the NJC. It is part of a Victorian Government strategy to reduce crime and disadvantage and to improve access to justice.

The NJC deals with family, civil and criminal legal issues in an effort to reduce re-offending and crime rates, and to enhance community perceptions of safety and confidence in the justice system. A major component of the NJC is the multi-jurisdictional nature of the Court, wherein one principal Magistrate hears all matters with engagement of support services to enable comprehensive resolutions of issues presenting at the Centre.

The NJC legislation was developed around the philosophy of therapeutic jurisprudence with the aim being to assist individuals to manage their lives and underlying issues, thereby reducing the risk of recidivism and working towards rehabilitation and recovery. The experiences of clients, as heard through casework, informs community legal education, community development, law reform and policy work of FLS.  

The Senior Community Lawyer will lead, drive and monitor our service delivery at the NJC.   This position will contribute to NJC strategy, planning and evaluation activities, the ongoing development of the NJC model, and to ensuring that FLS participation is relevant to meeting community need and the objectives of the NJC.  

Like all Fitzroy Legal Service employees, the Senior Community Lawyer is also expected to support and promote organisational values and objectives.

Responsible to

The Senior Community Lawyer NJC reports directly to the Principal Solicitor and is part of the FLS Legal Team.

Direct Reports

The Community Lawyer NJC position reports to the Senior Community Lawyer NJC.

Key Duties 

Leadership
  • Participate on the NJC Leadership Group, contributing to the planning and development of the Centre’s services, projects and partnerships;
  • Provide high-level advice and reports to the Principal Solicitor on issues relating to the provision of NJC services and significant emerging occurrences or trends;
  • Develop and co-ordinate opportunities for student and volunteer placements at the NJC.  Support, supervise and mentor students and volunteers; and
  • Develop networks with other community legal centres and participate in relevant Federation of Community Legal Centres working groups, networks and forums. 

Legal Practice

  • Provide duty lawyer and ongoing court appearance work in relation to criminal matters (including consolidated plea hearings and contested bail applications), intervention orders, infringements, and Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) proceedings;
  • Undertake casework for clients on a variety of matters, including criminal law, family violence, infringements, VOCAT applications, VCAT matters and Intervention Orders;
  • Supervise, support and mentor the NJC Community Lawyer, ensuring that legal services and support service referrals are of high quality, appropriate, efficient and effective;
  • Develop professional relationships with relevant support agencies to assist with the varied and complex issues of clients;
  • Understand VLA guidelines, matters that are eligible for grants of legal aid and as appropriate, refer matters to FLS practice and/ or apply for legal aid through ATLAS+;
  • Provide legal advice and secondary consultation to community workers and agencies in relation to the legal rights and responsibilities of clients; and
  • In conjunction with the Principal Solicitor, regularly evaluate legal process, procedures, and file management and information systems, implementing improvements as required.

Community Legal Education and Community Development

  • Lead, develop and participate in community development, partnership, education and law reform projects consistent with the philosophy and priorities of FLS and NJC;
  • Develop and strengthen networks, engaging the support and involvement from a range of individuals and organizations eg. court staff, legal practitioners, community agencies; and
  • Develop and maintain networks and represent the NJC and FLS in relevant community and professional forums.

General

  • Support the achievement of the FLS Strategic Plan;
  • Involvement in FLS fundraising and other events as required;
  • Must adhere to organizational policies and procedures and support the agreed FLS Values and Behaviours;
  • Share general office duties, including administration, as required; and
  • Undertake other duties as reasonably required by the FLS Principal Solicitor and Executive Officer. 
  • Participate in internal staff and planning meetings, supervision and performance review processes;
  • Undertake professional development, meet CPD responsibilities and attend local networks and conferences as required;

 Selection criteria

 Pre-requisites

  • Australian Lawyer presently eligible to become an Australian Legal Practitioner, with no supervision requirements;

Skills, knowledge, experience

  • Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to social justice, restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence;
  • Demonstrated experience in the provision of high quality legal advocacy, advice and casework in the areas of community law (including family violence, criminal matters, intervention orders, infringements, and Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) residential tenancies and guardianship and administration orders;
  • Experience in supervising lawyers, other staff and volunteers;
  • High-level policy development and analytical skills in relation to relevant community issues, an ability to contribute to law reform and policy development, and conceptualise, develop and implement new projects;
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively network and liaise with a broad range of organisations and stakeholders;
  • High level oral and written communication skills; an ability to take instructions and advise a variety of clients including those with cognitive impairment or language barriers and people from diverse backgrounds;
  • High level negotiation skills;
  • Ability to work within a complex, multidisciplinary environment;
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently with minimal supervision, and also as part of a team; and
  • Good self-care and stress management skills.

To be eligible to apply for this position you must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or

hold a valid work permit or visa.

LOCATION, TRAVEL AND WORK OUTSIDE OFFICE HOURS

The position will be predominantly based at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Wellington Street, Collingwood, with some time also spent at the FLS office on Level 4 of the Fitzroy Town Hall.   Some travel may be required (e.g. to attend meetings). Reasonable travel expenses are reimbursed.   This position is available as a full time (38 hours per week) ongoing position.   A less than full-time employment arrangement would also be considered.

Normal hours of work are between 8.00am – 6.00pm (7.6 hours per day).    The position may also be required to attend occasional week-end events.  Flexitime work arrangements are available. Overtime is not payable but time in lieu is available within FLS policy guidelines.  

CLASSIFICATION

Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services (SCHCADS) Industry Award 2010 - Level 6.

SALARY & CONDITIONS

Terms and conditions of employment are based on the Community Legal Centres Multi-Business Agreement with remuneration to be negotiated with the successful applicant. FLS’s tax exempt status allows generous additional tax benefits through salary packaging.  Four weeks annual leave plus paid leave between Christmas and New Year.