North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency

Lawyers at NAAJA tackle an awe-inspiring volume of work. This makes it an exceptionally engaging interning experience. There is always a matter requiring attention, and it is fulfilling to know that the completion of each task assists the team in their important work.  Each matter is a unique insight into the mechanism that is the Northern Territory's justice system, and therefore each day provides numerous opportunities for an intern's growth and learning.

Patrick O'Bryan, NAAJA

The opportunity to be included in a hardworking small and effective remote team has been important in forming my next steps toward working in this jurisdiction, and seeking remote or rural placements as a graduate.  

Helen Marcus, NAAJA

I could not recommend an internship at NAAJA highly enough: not only it is an educational experience but an opportunity to make some difference in the community and confront the issues and injustices facing Aboriginal Australians.

Marli Mathewson, NAAJA

I had such a rewarding and inspiring experience at NAAJA. I got the opportunity to be creative in my tasks and I felt like I learnt a lot of valuable things about the issues affecting Aboriginal people in the Top End and the way policy is formulated.

Charlotte Buckton, NAAJA

Both of my Aurora experiences have been exceptional - they have run without a hitch, been incredibly rewarding, and exposed me to some of the most amazing people and places of my life.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

There is not a moment of my internship that I look back on and regret. I was exposed to some of the most complex and diverse aspects to the criminal justice system and I gained practical experience to my studies beyond expectation.

Keisha Wilds, NAAJA

My internship was one of the most rewarding and enlightening learning experiences I have ever had, it gave me direction in my career hopes and it taught me a lot about Australian society.

Patrick Fleming, NAAJA

My experience at NAAJA was excellent; it was at times overwhelming, but overall a great learning experience. The solicitors provided support and direction at all times and their dedication is inspirational.

Victoria Jacobs, NAAJA

NAAJA not only infinitely refined my legal skills in terms of research, client interaction and time management, but it also provided an important insight into how, at times, Aboriginal culture, values and lifestyle do not sit comfortably with the colonial, common law system.

Mahnoor Sikander, NAAJA

It is very satisfying and instructive.  

Helen Marcus, NAAJA

It provides an opportunity to gain practical experience in fascinating areas of law, with wonderful and impressive people, in some amazing places. It honestly provides the experience of a lifetime, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

For interns wanting to understand the legal system, particularly litigation and the criminal justice system in the context of Indigenous Australians, NAAJA is the place you will learn.  

Elizabeth Beaumont, NAAJA

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Aurora. I feel very fortunate to have had this experience at NAAJA in Darwin.

Amrita Subramanian, NAAJA

The month I spent at NAAJA was by far the most meaningful and interesting thing I have done during my law degree.  As I approach my final year of study, I have been inspired by the extremely passionate lawyers at NAAJA to seriously consider a career in criminal law, something of which if I am honest, had not given much thought of before I headed to Darwin.   Also, the financial support Aurora has provided me both with accommodation and during the internship has meant I was able to travel interstate to undertake an internship.

Matthew Williams, NAAJA

The time I spent at NAAJA in Darwin was a truly exceptional experience. Spending six weeks in the Law and Justice team was both educative and personally inspiring. It is a remarkable opportunity to listen, learn and unpack how you think. My experience will forever shape how I understand and practice the law, as well as how I see this country and the world.

Asha Keaney, NAAJA

I leave with renewed enthusiasm for the law, with a reminder of why I studied it in the first place, and with a desire to pursue a career in criminal law. I hope I can come back to NAAJA someday, with a practicing certificate and the ability to make the kind of difference these lawyers do each day.

Melanie McLeod, NAAJA

Being able to work for an Aboriginal organisation has expanded my cultural awareness and ability to communicate cross-culturally. A key focus for my Behavioural Science degree has been around social justice and social change, and I have been able to work and reflect on the values that have been taught in this degree. I will be able to take much of the knowledge I have gained through this four week internship and apply it to both my university learning and workplace etiquette for future jobs. 

Paul Bonjour, NAAJA

My expectations were definitely exceeded. It was the most comprehensive internship in a legal setting I have ever undertaken and I felt that staff went above and beyond to make sure I was continually learning. I didn't really realise the full extent of NAAJA's high reputation until I started and I am very thankful for the opportunity.

Katie Davern, NAAJA

An internship at NAAJA will also open your eyes to the broader policy issues associated with the criminal justice system, in particular the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in incarceration and the need for justice reinvestment.  

Elizabeth Beaumont, NAAJA

The Aurora placement has provided me with a unique opportunity to be placed in a remote location working with Aboriginal Australians that is rare and precious.   I have made many friends and developed skills for my future professional life that will be of great benefit to me as I move into my chosen profession.

Helen Marcus, NAAJA

The internship has been by far the most amazing learning, cultural and legal experience I have gained​

Nayomi Naranpanawa, NAAJA

Everything about the internship was brilliant and I've really taken away both a valuable confidence boost (more of a personal thing than a career thing) and generally honed skills.

Sarah Moorhead , NAAJA

Amrita Subramanian The legal knowledge and the friendships I will take away from NAAJA will stay with me throughout my legal career.

Amrita Subramanian, NAAJA

I have learnt more in the last five weeks than in any semester at Uni – more than I could ever have imagined I could learn from an internship experience. The solicitors in the criminal section have taught me and encouraged me and showed me why they are so very passionate about their work. These people are part of something bigger and they have reminded me why I wanted to study law.

Melanie McLeod, NAAJA

NAAJA was incredible - such an invaluable learning opportunity at a powerhouse organisation. I met some inspiring and passionate people and discovered the area of law I would like to pursue.

Georgina Dodd, NAAJA

The best aspects were: Working with Aboriginal Clients. Feeling as though you are an integral member of the team. The passion of the people you work with. The importance of the work at NAAJA. Being able to go to different communities. Making a difference in the community. Learning so much in such a short time. Cultural exposure. Being inspired by the careers of the lawyers you work with.

Samantha Little, NAAJA

The internship provided me with the opportunity to not only expand my knowledge on the legal issues within the indigenous social justice sector but exposed me to areas of law I had not previously been exposed to. I was able to be involved in the Royal Commission in an observational and practical sense which I found incredibly rewarding. On a personal level it was fantastic to be able to build relationships with other interns and trade stories and experiences.  It was a life-changing experience for me!

Amie Grech, NAAJA

I'm really excited about working in Aboriginal legal services or a NTRB after graduating- I'd affirmed my passion for Aboriginal issues and working in the area. I feel so grateful for the opportunity, and because I care about it so much it made me work harder, pick things up faster and make the experience as good as I possibly could.

Kumu Samarakoon, NAAJA

This internship expanded many of my skillsets. Most keenly, I am confident in my knowledge of how the court room and trials run, my legal research skills have improved, and I have shown myself to be very adaptive. Indeed, it has affirmed my career aspirations for the future. I felt invaluable as an intern and that I was doing real and useful work.

Miet Engelhardt, NAAJA

It is a good feeling to know that you are helping vulnerable groups, hidden and shunned to some degree by Australian society and being part of a movement that ensures their rightful access to justice.   

Dhurkar Maheswaran, NAAJA

I was primarily interested in going to support the work of NAAJA rather than having any particular expectations of myself. The mix of work was far more exciting and dynamic than I had expected. Overall, it was a fantastic experience.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

My placement with NAAJA far exceeded my expectations. This experience made me realise that I want to practice criminal law with an indigenous legal aid association The tasks and responsibilities i was given during my placement were legally complex and challenging meaning I was given the opportunity to develop my skills far beyond what i had originally anticipated.

Marcus Dyason, NAAJA

NAAJA was an excellent place to learn - they really threw me in the deep end and gave me responsibilities far exceeding that which I was expecting. I felt like I was actually working as a lawyer and feel that I really gained some insight into the field.

Lindsay Collin, NAAJA

My time here has been amazing. NAAJA does such interesting and important work across so many different areas, and I feel very fortunate to have been part of the team and working on things that really matter.

Andria Mastroianni, NAAJA

As expected, the internship was a total culture shock and provided the challenging, thought-provoking and inspiring experience I had been hoping for.  Every day I returned home shocked or inspired by a new revelation.

Sophie Lloyd, NAAJA

This was easily the best undergraduate practical experience an aspiring lawyer could possibly have.

Isabella Maxwell-Williams, NAAJA

My experience in this environment has strengthened my interest in the community legal sector and has also made me confident about potentially pursuing a career in this sector in the future.

Jennifer Cohen, NAAJA

I definitely think there is something motivating about being so proximate to a situation which you are working towards improving.​

Philippa Daniel, NAAJA

It was an invaluable experience in both a professional and personal sense. Not only did I learn a huge amount but NAAJA was a fantastic place to work and the people I met along the way were wonderful.

Amie Grech , NAAJA

I can honestly say it’s the best thing that I’ve done since coming to law school.​

Philippa Daniel, NAAJA

One of the highlights of being placed in Nhulunbuy is the practical experience and the exposure that you get being in an area where Aboriginal people are still quite traditional.

Keisha Wilds, NAAJA

I had such a wonderful time living in Darwin and working at NAAJA. It is such an inspiring organisation and I could see myself working somewhere like this in the future.

Charlotte Buckton, NAAJA

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time up here, I have learnt so much about both criminal law and indigenous affairs, and it has certainly given me some direction regarding what sort of work I want to do in the future.

Patrick Fleming, NAAJA

This was truly one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had. It is certainly the best thing I have done while at law school. It has given me a new perspective and made me aware of so many opportunities beyond law school.

Margot Deegan, NAAJA

Thank you for allowing me to take part in the Aurora placement, that honestly changed my life and has forever made me a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights.​

Dhurka Maheswaran, NAAJA

NAAJA was incredible - such an invaluable learning opportunity at a powerhouse organisation. I met some inspiring and passionate people and discovered the area of law I would like to pursue.​

Georgina Dodd, NAAJA

I would like to stress that the Law and Justice Team has truly been a privilege to be part of. I was given opportunities I didn't expect to have until much later in my career. 

Kirsti Weisz , NAAJA

I believe that my experience at NAAJA was inspiring and one of my most formative and valuable experiences in a personal and professional sense. I left NAAJA with a furthered passion to strive for social justice and the public interest in the work that I do.

Fabian Di Lizia, NAAJA

My internship experiences exposed me to some of the most beautiful and tragic dimensions of our country. I learned a great the interaction between the criminal justice system and the Aboriginal communities in the top end.  

Ben Kelly, NAAJA

The opportunities I was given at NAAJA far exceeded my expectations. The internship challenged and enhanced my practical legal skills and knowledge, as well as my understanding of Aboriginal issues and culture. I also developed an understanding of how to appropriately communicate with Aboriginal people in the Top End.

Molly Lynch, NAAJA

Interning with NAAJA was an experience that shook my worldview and will undoubtedly have profound influence on my future. I learnt more in 4 weeks than I have in 3 years of law school

Cassandra Martin, NAAJA

I gained valuable experience working with NAAJA. Not only did I learn transferable legal skills but managed to hone a unique set of skills for working with people both low literacy levels and where English is a second language. A brilliant experience! I plan on doing this work myself someday!!

Kristyanna Irwin, NAAJA

My internship experience has fuelled my motivation to help indigenous people  overcome some of the obstacles they face. The work I have received at NAAJA has been varied and challenging. My research skills have become sharper as well as my legal drafting skills. 

Diana Gomez, NAAJA

I felt like I gained really practical skills in the community legal sector, and in Aboriginal legal services specifically. Most importantly, I felt that the work I was doing was actually valuable to NAAJA - that they genuinely were helped by my tasks and that I was doing things that there would otherwise not have been time for.

Laura Giesen, NAAJA

I really got that experience of "outback Australia" and the more confronting experience of "Third World Australia" regarding some indigenous communities in the remote outskirts of the Northern Territory.  

Dhurkar Maheswaran, NAAJA

The month spent at NAAJA was one of my greatest experiences.

Chelsea Fruhwirth, NAAJA

I never thought I would like criminal law but I absolutely loved my time at NAAJA. I will definitely seek out more opportunities working for Aboriginal legal aid in the future (even on a volunteer basis).

Laura Holmes, NAAJA

This internship has cemented my intention to pursue a career working with Aboriginal communities and working towards Aboriginal justice.

Molly Lynch, NAAJA

The experience was unbelievable. I was exposed to a wide variety of actual legal work beyond what most other internships provide. I genuinely looked forward to going into work each day and would have happily worked for longer had I been allowed.  Being given the opportunity to work at NAAJA provided me with countless new skills and confidence to achieve my goals.

Frank Connolly, NAAJA

I was inspired by the way that, despite astonishing case loads and heavy responsibilities, everyone took the time to make a tall sweaty student from Melbourne feel entirely at home. Most of all, I was inspired by the continuing strength and resilience of Aboriginal communities in the Top End.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

If you’re like me and thinking about settling down in Canberra, it is likely that you might end up in a Policy position somewhere along your career. Being able to see the power of community based reform is invaluable to any policy related work in a post-invention era in the Indigenous Sector.

Monique Munro, NAAJA

I went into the internship a frazzled law graduate unsure of my place in the legal industry and I have come out a motivated and inspired individual​

Nayomi Naranpanawa, NAAJA

The experience was very positive in the sense of clarifying my career objectives - I know now that I'm much better suited to civil over criminal work, and that I enjoy the variety of work that comes with working in a small practice like NAAJA.

Ella Alexander, NAAJA

As a result of my internship I have a more defined idea of my desired career path and I have acquired skills and knowledge that will be invaluable for the remainder of my degree and into the future. I can honestly say that my internship was one of the greatest experiences I have had.

Tamara Preuss, NAAJA

The experience of living and working in the Territory exposed me to the challenges that Indigenous Australians encounter in Australia’s criminal justice system every day. Importantly, I now have a tangible idea of how I might contribute to the Australian legal system as it relates to advancing the interests of Indigenous Australians. 

Heather Douglas, NAAJA

My overall experience was brilliant - thank you so much for such a transformative opportunity. My experience at NAAJA has really affirmed my desire to work in the community legal sector upon graduating. With the support and guidance of the incredible CLE team, and the extensive resources provided by AURORA, I was able to seize this opportunity and significantly expand my legal skills and knowledge of the field, without any significant challenges.

Clare McBride Kelly, NAAJA

The full-time nature of the experience is the best aspect of the program. If you really want to get an idea whether the work is something you can get involved in at some stage in your career, you really need an ongoing connection to the work flow of an organisation.

Heather Douglas, NAAJA

I was really impressed by the volume and quality of work done at NAAJA, to say nothing of the amazing people who do it. I've had an absolutely fantastic time, and I'm more keen than ever to ultimately work in this area.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

The entire experience was incredible and indescribable. It was honestly my favorite experience I have had in my life to date!. I believe that this has been a turning point for me, as it has made me more confident to pursue my passion in this area.

Jennifer Cohen, NAAJA

Having often heard of the disadvantages and injustice of indigenous communities, to experience it first hand was an eye-opening and inspiring experience. My experiences at NAAJA truly highlighted the importance of access to justice and the positive influence one can have in providing social justice.  

Dena Paterson, NAAJA

This internship has given me practical and guided research experience, invaluable and contextualising “real-life” field exposure, and a growing sense of confidence about my own research skills and future trajectory within the field​

Stefania Capogreco, NAAJA

On top of the practical experience I gained, being able to properly research, understand how the court functions, I gained an appreciation of the values and dedication the lawyers put into their work.

Danita Moshinsky, NAAJA

My time here is definitely one of the most memorable, significant and distinguished learning experiences that I will take with me. It is an experience I will never forget and a memory I will cherish. The program catered, in fact, far exceeded my expectations.  

Dhurkar Maheswaran, NAAJA

The most rewarding aspect was knowing that the work I did was actually being used to help clients. Another rewarding aspect was knowing that I was learning so much, academically and culturally.

Tamara Preuss, NAAJA

The exposure to Indigenous issues and cultural awareness education has already been invaluable and I feel I have learnt so much. My first week has exceeded my expectations.

Beth Jones, NAAJA

The civil section of NAAJA dealt with such an extensive range of issues and so I got to experience a whole diversity of legal fields and the subsequent diversity in issues.   

Dhurkar Maheswaran, NAAJA

My internship was such a unique learning experience which has made me reconsider my future career path and I would recommend it to anyone who is studying law and wishes to gain some hands on, practical experience. The program also helps to facilitate integral respect and understanding for the unique complexities of different people’s cultures.

Lindsay Collins, NAAJA

My time at NAAJA has been invaluable and I have loved every minute of it. I cannot wait to come back one day!

Kassie McAlear, NAAJA

The best aspect of the internship program is being able to learn from outstanding lawyers that do very important work from the perspective of Indigenous issues, the public interest and social justice. The opportunities to learn are plentiful. This is not merely limited to the law. There are aspects of oneself and different cultures to learn. In the end, the experience leads to great personal and professional advancement. 

Fabian Di Lizia , NAAJA

The Aurora programme had in fact facilitated the NAAJA lawyers’ (Aurora alumni) interests and passions in law, which I feel is very promising for me.  

Dhurkar Maheswaran, NAAJA

It really was one of the greatest experiences I have had at university. It was so inspiring to work with such passionate and selfless people. I learnt so many invaluable things; not only about the law but also about myself and society.

Tamara Preuss, NAAJA

My internship at NAAJA has been one of the most interesting and challenging learning experiences I have undertaken in my short-lived legal career!  What NAAJA offers, distinct from many other organisations delivering legal services, is the opportunity to be thrown head first into a wide array of legal work.

Mahnoor Sikander, NAAJA

I was in awe of the work that NAAJA does to help the Northern Territories Indigenous population across all these sections, and was glad that I had the opportunity to experience this. Being a woman with Aboriginal heritage myself, it felt good to be able to do work that directly affected my community.  This internship made me feel like I was putting all I have learnt through my life experiences, and through university in Melbourne, to practice. I felt like a valid member of the team.

Kassie McAlear, NAAJA

I have found NAAJA a fantastic place to get a hands on experience of how day to day law affects Indigenous people, especially from a civil law perspective.

Elizabeth Abbey, NAAJA

Being part of an organization like NAAJA for six weeks, which single handily provides hope to Aboriginal people who feel swept up in a constantly changing, jargon filled legal system – gave me a sense of belonging, purpose and moral responsibility that I will crave for the rest of my life.

Samantha Little, NAAJA

I really enjoyed the work environment at NAAJA and have found the work to be intellectually stimulating and never boring. It has been the type of work that I am happy to do on weekends and stay back for. I have learnt so much in the short amount of time and the experience has definitely made me realise what type of work I would like to do in my career. I am hoping to be back at NAAJA in the near future!

Sarah Schwartz, NAAJA

Whilst I went into my internship with feelings of trepidation and hesitation, I am so thankful that I had this opportunity and experience. It was invaluable to my development as a lawyer but also as a person.

Marcus Dyason, NAAJA

I wasn’t just an observer — as an intern at NAAJA, the work I was doing was simply amazing. The level of responsibility was intimidating, but incredibly rewarding. Academically and professionally, it was the most stimulating place I have ever worked.

Tim Farhall, NAAJA

The people at NAAJA were fantastic, and each one were willing to teach me about their area of practice, and also provide me with meaningful advice about their own journey through the legal profession. I felt inspired each day by the passion and devotion shown by the lawyers and NAAJA, and being in this environment had a very positive impression on me.

Jennifer Cohen, NAAJA

I’ve learned so much as a result of this placement (as can be seen above) and it’s been a wonderful opportunity to get a practical sense of what it might be like to work as a solicitor. It’s been really fantastic.

Carol Brain, NAAJA

I got a great opportunity to actually work as a criminal lawyer and help clients and I really feel that I made a difference to the organisation and to NAAJA's clients. I did have to complete some administrative work, but I felt that it was well balanced with interesting work. I was never bored and was intellectually stimulated at every step!

Sarah Schwartz, NAAJA

I think that the best part of this internship was knowing that my own work was actively helping the team with theirs, and that I was contributing to an organisation that works to achieve justice and legal empowerment for Aboriginal people in the Top End.

Sophie Dembski, NAAJA

I have greatly enjoyed my time at NAAJA and have learned a lot from the lawyers I have worked closely with. My expectations of civil law have been completely blown out of the water, and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work at NAAJA. 

Charlotte Carrodus, NAAJA

The best aspect of the internship was being exposed to the judicial system and client interviews. I admired the way NAAJA lawyers delivered legal advice in a culturally perceptive manner.

Paul Bonjour, NAAJA