Senior Legal Counsel - Administrative Law

Apply now Job no: 512225
Employment type: Ongoing
Location: Canberra, Melbourne
Categories: Legal, Executive Level 1

About the department

The department plays a key role in the Australian Government’s agenda to create jobs and build a stronger, more resilient and competitive economy. Our work builds on Australia’s existing strengths, supports businesses to grow, and drives new opportunities for long-term productivity growth and prosperity.

The success of the department helps Australia recover from the economic consequences of COVID‑19 and adapt to its ongoing effects. Through our work, we support the government’s economic recovery plan and help to deliver a better future for all Australians.

About the team

The Legal Branch provides pragmatic and accurate legal advice to help the department identify and manage legal risk in delivering its strategic agenda. We advise on nationally and internationally significant, complex and innovative policies and programs from inception to implementation including:

  • Science, technology and innovation, including emerging technologies, civil space programs, the Square Kilometre Array and international collaboration
  • Growing Australian industries through research and development, commercialisation and trade, including supporting the establishment of the National Reconstruction Fund
  • Minerals and energy resources, including critical minerals, oil and gas and securing Australia’s domestic gas supply and radioactive waste management.

Lawyers engage in interesting and rewarding work across a range of legal practice areas including administrative law, commercial law, information law, regulatory compliance and enforcement and bills and legislative instruments. We partner with clients to identify and resolve legal matters and help decision-makers manage legal risk.

We provide a supportive, flexible and inclusive working environment which is fast paced, intellectually challenging and enjoyable. The team is collaborative and dynamic and provides opportunities for lawyers to develop depth and breadth in their skills by working on a range of priority matters.

Our ideal candidate

We are seeking a generalist Senior Legal Counsel with expertise, or an interest to develop expertise, in administrative law. To be successful in this role, you will have experience in:

  • Administrative law advising and/or litigation
  • Providing concise legal advice that provides practical solutions and options and differentiates between legal requirements and legal risk, in a government context
  • Building and maintaining productive stakeholder relationships using outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Supervising and/or mentoring junior lawyers.

Our department has a commitment to inclusion and diversity, with an ambition of being the best possible place to work. This reflects the importance we place on our people and on creating a workplace culture where each and every one of us is valued and respected for our contribution. Our ideal candidate will add to this culture and our workplace in their own way.

What you will do

Senior Legal Counsels perform work that is very complex or sensitive with a degree of independence, seeking guidance and input from Principal Legal Counsels where appropriate. Senior Legal Counsels perform an important leadership role in the branch and take responsibility for managing key priority matters or client areas to ensure early identification of legal risk.

In this role you will:

  • Use your technical expertise and professional judgment to provide legal advice that facilitates policy implementation and best practice program and service delivery
  • Identify and engage with key clients to understand priorities and projects and work cooperatively to identify legal needs and develop strategies for implementation.
  • Demonstrate sound judgement in when and how to escalate matters to your Principal Legal Counsel or Deputy General Counsel
  • Settle routine and moderately complex advice prepared by other lawyers in the branch
  • Obtain external advice from panel firms in appropriate matters, including managing the costs of the advice.
  • Support and assist the Principal Legal Counsel in managing, mentoring and guiding junior lawyers
  • Embrace and contribute to the branch culture of client-focussed service and responsiveness.


To be eligible for employment in the APS and the department, candidates must be Australian Citizens.

Positions require a Baseline security clearance and successful candidates will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at this level.

Applicants must hold:

  • Admission as a legal practitioner, however described, of the High Court or the Supreme Court of an Australian State or Territory, and
  • A current practising certificate issued by the ACT Law Society (or be eligible to acquire one).


This recruitment process is being used to fill current Senior Legal Counsel positions. A merit pool may be established and used to fill future vacancies within 18 months from the date the vacancy was first advertised in the Gazette.

The department offers flexible work opportunities for many roles. This vacancy is Canberra or Melbourne based, although flexible or remote work arrangements may be considered. Please reach out to the contact officer to discuss this further.

How to apply

Your application must not contain any classified or sensitive information. This includes in your application responses, CV and any other documents. The selection panel may not consider applications containing classified information.

Please provide a pitch explaining how your skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role and why you are the best candidate for the position. Your pitch can contain no more than 5000 characters (approximately 750 words) and should align to the key duties listed above.

Please complete your application online and provide your current CV with your application. (CVs must be in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format).

Accessible application documentation is available in other formats on request. Please contact or (02) 6276 1235 if you require assistance with your application.

Please refer to our Applying for a position information for additional information on how to apply.

Contact information

For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact Christie McClure on 02 6102 9865 or via 

Advertised: AUS Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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