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Employment Opportunities

The State Solicitor's Office offers outstanding employment opportunities for talented people interested in a legal career at lawyer level or as a member of valued support teams of paralegals, law clerks, historical researchers, legal secretaries and corporate and business support staff.

The State Solicitor's Office offers interesting and challenging work in all positions and provides a modern work environment with excellent professional development opportunities and collegiate support in all employment streams.

The following is a summary of the types of positions available at the State Solicitor's Office in the various employment streams.

The State Solicitor's Office Employment opportunities are advertised on the Department of the Attorney General's Career Compass website.

Lawyers

Generally the State Solicitor's Office recruitment strategy for lawyers is targeted at more junior levels through an acclaimed Law Graduate program, moving through to Restricted Practice and beyond.

However, the State Solicitor's Office also selectively recruits at junior, mid-range and senior (partner equivalent) levels when the special need arises.

The State Solicitor's Office is always keen to hear from very talented lawyers who are interested in joining a leading government law firm in one or more of the practice areas outlined in this website.

If you require any further information on lawyer positions with us, contact:

Keith Whitehouse, General Manager
Phone: (08) 9264 1897
Email: k.whitehouse@sso.wa.gov.au 

Law Graduate Training Program

Applications for our 2018 program will be opening shortly. Please refer back to this website for further details once they become available.

The Office will accept applications from:

  1. Law graduates wishing to undertake Articles
    These traditional legal traineeships will involve 12 months as an articled clerk inclusive of the required external practical legal training with the Leo Cussen Institute (paid for by the State Solicitor's Office). At the conclusion of the articled clerkship the State Solicitor's Office will support the graduates admission to practice and transition to a 12 month contract of employment as a legal practitioner.
  2. Law graduates who have completed the course work component of an approved practical legal training course (provided by the College of Law) but have not been admitted to practice law.
    These graduates will still undertake a 12 month legal traineeship as an Articled Clerk but will not have to undertake further external practical legal training provided that the approved course work is completed prior to registration of articles. At the conclusion of the articled clerkship the State Solicitor's Office will support the graduate's admission to practice and transition to a 12 month contract of employment as a legal practitioner.
  3. Law graduates who have completed the requirements of an approved practical legal training course (such as that provided by the College of Law) and have already been admitted to practice and wish to undertake a Legal Practitioner Traineeship.
    These law graduates will for 12 months undertake the same legal traineeship programme as Articled Clerks with the same level of remuneration. Following completion of this traineeship, these graduates will transition to a 12 month contract of employment as a legal practitioner.

One recruitment process is undertaken each year for the State Solicitor's Office's Law Graduate program.

  • Applications open: To be confirmed
  • Offers Friday 28 July 2017 (9am) - offers will be held open until Friday 28 July 2017 (5pm).

To apply:

All applications must be submitted on the WA Jobs Board (www.jobs.wa.gov.au)

Please address your application to the General Manager, Mr Keith Whitehouse including:

  1. a cover letter discussing why you want to undertake the law graduate recruitment program at the State Solicitor's Office
  2. your resume
  3. a copy of your most current official academic transcript.

Late applications or those sent directly to the State Solicitor's Office cannot be accepted Applications received directly by the State Solicitor's Office will be returned to the applicant for re-submission via the WA Jobs Board.

Pay scales

Articled Clerks and Legal Practitioner Trainees will, for their first year of employment, receive remuneration at level 4 PSGOGA, $76,452 per annum (as of 13 June 2016). Remuneration for their second year of employment, will be that payable to a Legal Officer L4/5 (L2LG), commencing at $91,548 per annum (as of 13 June 2016).

Future with the State Solicitor's Office

In the ordinary course, subject to performance, those who complete their initial contract will be considered for a contract extension and, in due course, permanency.

Mentors

Each Articled Clerk/Legal Practitioner Trainee is paired with a senior lawyer as part of an excellent mentoring scheme.

The program is designed to provide support and counsel to Articled Clerk/ Legal Practitioner Trainee and junior practitioners. The mentor and mentees meet regularly to discuss work practices or other specific work-related issues.

Continuing Professional Development

Highly informative in-house Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars are held on a regular basis. The presentations are made by the SSO lawyers and some guest speakers cover a range of topics of particular interest and applicability to the work of the State Solicitor's Office.

Articles Training Program

State Solicitor's Office articled clerks attend the Legal Practice Board endorsed Leo Cussen’s Articles Training Program (ATP) on a rostered basis, with the Office meeting the full cost of the ATP program.

Rotations

The Law Graduate program is designed to provide practical experience in the full range of State Solicitor's Office practice areas - and more. This is achieved by placing the law graduates in a range of internal and external practice areas throughout the year of the Law Graduate Program. Placements usually last between six and eight weeks. The following is a summary of what can be expected in the several placement areas:

Civil Litigation

Chambers attendances are frequent. Often law graduates will be instructed to appear on more than one matter per session. Other more involved Court work includes:

  • Special appointments (chambers matters expected to take more than 20 minutes to hear) and where drafting written submissions may be required.
  • Conciliation and Review Directorate hearings (workers compensation matters which often involve calling and cross-examining witnesses).
  • Sheriff interpleader summons applications.

General litigation work mainly relates to interlocutory procedures such as pleadings, discovery and interrogatories. Opinion writing in a range of areas is also frequently required.

Recoveries

This rotation provides law graduates with an insight into the realities of commercial practice and this rotation offers useful exposure to Court work. The law graduate attends Court to examine judgment debtors, by way of a means inquiry, regarding their means to pay judgment debts.

Other aspects of this work include:

  • communicating with clients
  • letter writing
  • proofing of witnesses
  • drafting Court documents
  • preparing submissions for summary judgment and other applications
  • legal research
  • opinion writing.

Commercial

Law graduates assist in the preparation of a wide range of commercial, conveyancing and other related legal documents such as:

  • resource or State agreements
  • copyright arrangements
  • deeds of assignment.

Law graduates also have the opportunity to attend property settlements. Much time is spent researching points of law relating to the execution of commercial transactions.

Native Title

The Native Title area represents the State's interests in all matters relating to native title. This involves representation in the National Native Title Tribunal, the Federal Court and the High Court. In addition, the Land Claims area provides legal advice to State Government Departments on native title issues and often liaises with the Commercial and Conveyancing branch in respect to resource development and mining issues.

The procedures established by the Native Title Act (Cth) are continually evolving. This impacts upon the work of law graduates, which is predominantly directed towards opinion writing. Issues that arise often relate to the interpretation of the Commonwealth Act such as the procedures it establishes and the powers and jurisdiction of the Native Title Tribunal. Law graduates also assist in preparing matters for Court, including researching Federal and High Court submissions.

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

This is an external placement. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions initiates and conducts Supreme and District Court criminal prosecutions including appeals. Law graduates may be exposed to the following activities:

  • Overview of the criminal prosecution process
  • Preparation of briefs and indictments
  • Liaison with victims of crime
  • Attendance at a pleas day and a status conference
  • Participation in the preparation of a matter for trial, including the proofing of witnesses
  • Participation in drafting grounds of appeals and submissions
  • Criminal law research.

Parliamentary Counsel's Office

This is an important external placement. The Parliamentary Counsel's Office prepares legislation to give effect to government policy. A rotation in this area provides a valuable insight into legislative processes. Principal tasks assigned to a law graduate include assisting in the drafting of Bills and subsidiary legislation such as Regulations, Orders, By-laws and Rules.

WA Police Service

This is another important external placement which provides a valuable opportunity for Law Graduates to gain an insight into the work done by SSO solicitors on placement with WA Police and WA Police solicitors. Law Graduates will be placed in the Legal and Legislative Services Units of WA Police, but may also have the opportunity to rotate within the different areas of WA Police, including Specialist Crime and Licensing Enforcement Division. Law Graduates may also be asked to conduct research on a wide range of matters.

Professional Assistants

These full time positions will provide applicants with a unique opportunity to work closely with the most senior legal officers within government. Responsibilities include assisting in drafting legal opinions, submissions and correspondence and involvement in law reform. The work is interesting, diverse and challenging and will provide an excellent basis for a successful career in law.

Successful applicants will be appointed for two years beginning in January 2017. Following completion of the appointment Professional Assistants can reasonably expect, subject to performance, to be offered articles with the State Solicitor and to be employed through their restricted practice period.

Applicants should be in their penultimate year of study of law and be prepared to complete their study part-time over the two year period. Highly developed research, analytical, problem solving and interpersonal skills are essential. Applicants' legal academic results should be such that applicants can reasonably anticipate being invited into an Honours programme in law.

Professional Assistants will receive remuneration at level 4 PSGOGA, $74,587 per annum (as of 13 June 2015).

Applications will open in 2016.

To apply:

All applications must be submitted on the WA Jobs Board (www.jobs.wa.gov.au)

Please address your application to the General Manager, Mr Keith Whitehouse including:

  1. a cover letter identifying why you want to work for the State Solicitor's Office
  2. your resume
  3. a copy of your most current official academic transcript.

Late applications or those sent directly to the State Solicitor's Office cannot be accepted Applications received directly by the State Solicitor's Office will be returned to the applicant for re-submission via the WA Jobs Board.

Vacation Clerks

The State Solicitor's Office offers excellent vacation clerkships each summer and winter. The program offers law students an opportunity to gain practical legal experience with a leading law office.

Applications are usually sought in July of each year for the coming summer and following winter vacation periods. Generally 12 three-week summer clerkships are offered, with a further 12 winter clerkships of two weeks duration being available.

Students completing their penultimate year of study are invited to apply.

The carefully structured vacation clerkship program ensures that participants are well mentored and gain experience in as many of the State Solicitor's practice areas as possible.

During a typical clerkship a Vacation Clerk will spend a week one of the following areas before rotating into another:

  • Advising and Policy
  • Native Title and State Lands
  • Commercial
  • Litigation.

During a week's placement a major task will be allocated along with opportunities to attend court and meetings.

Vacation Recruitment Dates Summer 2017/18 and Winter 2018

  • Applications open: To be confirmed
  • Offers 22 September 2017 (9am) - offers will be held open for two hours.

Please note that no interviews are held for Vacation Clerkships at the State Solicitor's Office. Clerkships are selected based on academic excellence combined with a genuine interest in law pertaining to Government.

Offers 23 September 2015 (9am) - offers will be held open for two hours.

Please note that no interviews are held for Vacation Clerkships - they are awarded based on academic excellence combined with a genuine interest in law pertaining to Government.

To apply:

All applications must be submitted on the WA Jobs Board (www.jobs.wa.gov.au)

Please address your application to the General Manager, Mr Keith Whitehouse including:

  1. a cover letter discussing why you want to undertake the vacation clerkship program at the State Solicitor's Office
  2. your resume
  3. a copy of your  most current official academic transcript.

Late applications or those sent directly to the State Solicitor's Office cannot be accepted Applications received directly by the State Solicitor's Office will be returned to the applicant for re-submission via the WA Jobs Board.

Law Clerks and Paralegals

The State Solicitor's Office has several teams of law clerks and paralegals supporting the work of lawyers. Positions range from relatively junior law clerks through to very skilled and experienced senior managing law clerks. Once with the State Solicitor's Office you will have excellent opportunities for personal development and advancement.

Typical work of law clerks and paralegals includes:

  • Providing clerical and paralegal support to lawyers.
  • Filing and serving documents.
  • Preparing a range of legal and court documents and associated correspondence.
  • Assisting with the management of large litigation matters, including data base administration and document management.
  • Managing a range of legal files under the supervision of lawyers
  • Appearing in chambers.

Available positions are usually advertised in The West Australian newspaper (Government appointments section) as well as on the WA Jobs Board. Jobs feature on the Department of the Attorney General's website.

If you require any further information on law clerk or paralegal positions with us, please contact:

Assistant General Manager
Phone: (08) 9264 1868
Email: sso@sso.wa.gov.au 

Legal Assistants

The State Solicitor's Office has approximately 20 legal assistants, each supporting a small group of lawyers. There are three levels, depending on the seniority and work of the assigned lawyers and the work expected of the legal assistant.

Typical work of legal assistants include:

  • Providing secretarial and clerical support to lawyers.
  • Screening, answering or placing telephone calls.
  • Word processing of opinions, court and legal documents and associated correspondence.
  • Assisting with the management of lawyers' files, opinions and time sheets.
  • Attending to travel arrangements.

Positions are advertised in a similar manner to Law Clerks and Paralegals - please see above.

If you require any further information on legal assistant or reception positions, contact:

Assistant General Manager
Phone: (08) 9264 1868
Email: sso@sso.wa.gov.au 

Researchers (Anthropological and Historical) - Native Title

The State Solicitor's Office has a small team of historical and anthropological researchers whose work typically includes:

  • undertaking genealogical research
  • preparing scoping reports for lawyers
  • analysing relevant archival materials and litigation evidence
  • maintaining historical land claims materials.

Positions are advertised in a similar manner to Law Clerks and Paralegals - please see above.

If you require any further information on historical research positions, contact:

Managing Research Officer
Phone: (08) 9264 6102
Email: sso@sso.wa.gov.au 

Corporate and Business Support Staff

The State Solicitor's Office delivers some internal corporate and business services, principally in the areas of records and workflow management; human resource management; matter costing and billing; financial management and budgeting; and information technology. While these are not our 'core' legal activities, they are certainly critical to the operations of the Office. Other corporate services (eg Library services, accounts processing etc) operate within the Department of the Attorney General. 

Corporate positions are advertised in a similar manner to Law Clerks - see above.

If you require any further information on corporate or business support positions, contact:

Assistant General Manager
Phone: (08) 9264 1868
Email: sso@sso.wa.gov.au 


Last updated: 22-Mar-2017

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