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LGBTIQA+ Lawyer - Justice Q Program

South-East Monash Legal Service

About SMLS

Established in 1973, South-East Monash Legal Service (SMLS) is a community legal centre that provides free legal assistance to people in Southeast Melbourne. SMLS provides legal information, advice and case work including representation for people experiencing disadvantage on a range of legal matters, such as family law and family violence, employment law, debt and fines, civil litigation, wills, power of attorney, and tenancy.

SMLS aims to empower and support members of the community to understand and make use of the law and the legal system to protect their rights and to increase their awareness of their legal responsibilities. SMLS is a strong advocate of and committed to the use of integrated service models to address multifaceted challenges facing our community members.

SMLS is committed to advocacy and social change. SMLS is a leader in the provision of community and clinical legal education; advocacy through policy submissions and lobbying; outreach services; and targeted referral programs.

Our Vision 

A fair and inclusive community where people can access the resources, networks and support they need to resolve legal issues and overcome barriers to social, cultural and economic inclusion and participation

Our Purpose

To help resolve people’s legal and interconnected issues and ensure that laws and legal processes are fair.

Our Values

Our core values are Respect, Community, Excellence and Courage.

About Justice Q

Justice Q is our newly launched specialist LGBTIQA+ legal service. Experience gained through SMLS’ expanding involvement in the local LGBTIQA+ communities pointed to complex and shifting legal assistance needs of LGBTIQA+ people in Melbourne’s south-east corridor.

A suite of law and policy reforms delivered by the Victorian State Government over the preceding 5 years has created a new need for services addressing shifting LGBTQIA+ legal and social issues. Alongside the introduction of publicly-funded IVF, Victoria’s law reforms have included changes to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to include sex characteristics as well as changes to the rights of transgender Victorians impacting birth certificates and marriages.

In spite of these reforms, many of our LGBTQIA+ clients remain unaware of their rights and isolated from services. In particular, our school lawyer outreaches have highlighted the significant issues impacting LGBTQIA+ young people as well as the inaccessibility of many statewide services located closer to the city.

These issues all pointed to the need for an LGBTIQA+ specialist service in Melbourne’s South-East corridor, and that is how Justice Q came about.

About the role

This is an exciting new role that will help shape SMLS’ Justice Q program. This new and exciting program will utilise SMLS’ integrated service model with a multidisciplinary team of lawyers, community development and peer workers. The program will also have an internal referral system, where clients are able to access services across SMLS practice areas. The program will be implemented across sites in the south-east metro of Melbourne.

The Justice Q Lawyer will provide specialist legal assistance, strategic litigation, and help develop legal education materials. This is a generalist position, assisting with legal issues from various practice areas. The role will be supported by an internal community of practice.

Please note: South-East Monash Legal Service is an inclusive employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. This is a special measures role and only members of the LGBTIQA+ community are eligible to apply, in line with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Provide high quality legal advice (both written and oral) and representation in a range of matters.
  • Run litigation matters – including developing legal strategies, briefing barristers, initiating proceedings, preparing evidence, file management, correspondence and instructing in court.
  • Conduct detailed legal research regarding legal issues facing LGBTIQA+ clients, undertake literature reviews, develop a LGBTIQA+ legal needs analysis for a south-east metro context.
  • Draft reports, legislative directories, guides, case law summaries and legal analysis for publication.
  • Work closely with the community development team to develop and deliver community legal education regarding legal issues the LGBTIQA+ community faces.
  • Contribute to advocacy initiatives.
  • Collaborate with family violence, family, civil lawyers, and social work teams to ensure holistic and positive outcomes for clients across various legal domains.
  • Perform all necessary administrative work necessary to manage a busy file load, including accurate record-keeping in accordance with SMLS policies and procedures.
  • Participate in strategic litigation and projects as directed by the Leadership team to address systemic legal disadvantage experienced by priority clients in our region.
  • Apply SMLS casework guidelines governing eligibility for on-going assistance, and the extent of that assistance.
  • Other duties as directed.

Skills and experience

Essential Selection Criteria

  • Eligibility to hold an unrestricted Victorian legal practicing certificate with 2 years post admission experience.
  • Strong, demonstrated commitment and/or connection to the LGBTIQA+ community, including knowledge of legal issues.
  • Experience working on complex litigation or complex legal campaigning in an area of either public, human rights or administrative law.
  • Experience briefing barristers and experts in litigation matters.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills including demonstrated ability to communicate legal concepts in clear language and prepare written legal advice.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a collaborative team environment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to communicate sensitively and build mutually beneficial relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Desirable Selection Criteria

  • Experience in program design and implementation.
  • Experience working in the community legal sector, legal aid or other settings that support communities who are experiencing disadvantage and/or injustice.
  • Experience and/or interest in tribunal or court representation.

Please see the attached Position Description for more information. Any additional questions can be forwarded to [email protected] using the subject line: LGBTIQA+ Lawyer - Justice Q Program enquiry via EthicalJobs the subject line LGBTIQA+ Lawyer - Justice Q Program Enquiry.

Please note, applications will be processed as they are received.

A position description is attached.

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