My name is Adrienne Elmitt and I am a lawyer at the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS). I graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts/Law (Hons) in mid-2016. After graduating, I spent some time overseas undertaking an internship and then spent a year as an Associate at the ACT Supreme Court. I started with AGS in the graduate program in 2017.
Applying for the job
I was interested in the AGS grad program because of the nature of the work and, in particular, the constitutional law work done by the office. Throughout university I was always drawn to public law. After spending a year and a half exploring other areas, I felt even more sure that a career in public law was for me.
As I applied for both the policy and legal stream of the Attorney-General’s Department, the application process involved a number of stages, including psychometric testing, a written assessment and an interview. The interview involved questions about how I would respond to situations and my general suitability for the role.
I am currently part of the People, Security and Information team in our Office of General Counsel. Our team advises on a range of legal issues, including constitutional and administrative law, statutory interpretation, privacy and more. The questions are often particularly thorny and take some time to work through, but it’s incredibly satisfying to provide the end product to a client.
My typical day is usually spent researching and drafting a piece of advice or maybe a constitutional risk assessment, as well as usual office tasks - like responding to emails or enjoying morning teas! That said, I have colleagues in other practice groups at AGS whose typical day probably looks a lot different to mine. For instance, colleagues in the Dispute Resolution Group may spend a lot of time preparing for litigation. There isn’t really one typical day across the whole of the office.
In terms of career prospects, it is possible to build a great career at AGS. There are many lawyers who have developed impressive practices and specialties through experience at AGS. Many have developed reputations for being leading experts in their respective field.
Pros and Cons
The breadth and nature of the topics that I am able to work on at AGS is a huge pro of the job. I feel very lucky to be able to work on unique constitutional issues or complex administrative law questions and to work alongside leading constitutional law specialists and experts. I am constantly learning from everyone around me.