Meghan Cropley

Native Title
Winter 2013

In June and July 2013, as part of the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, I undertook a six week Aurora legal internship as a graduate with Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV) in Melbourne.  NTSV is a not-for-profit organisation that is responsible for providing research and legal services to native title claimants within Victoria. The legal team works alongside the anthropology and policy teams. The office is broken up into different claimant group areas. As the intern, I was able to work with all the different groups at various times throughout my time there.

The work I was given ranged from legal research to taking notes in meetings, to following up emails and data entry.  I was given the opportunity to attend a court hearing and also a group meeting. These experiences provided fantastic insight into the native title process and enabled me to appreciate how the work done in the office affects peoples' lives in a tangible way. My office space was in the "intern" room where all the other interns usually sit. As I was a graduate and I did not have any time restrictions, my six week placement was not in university holidays and I was often the only intern in there. This gave me a great opportunity to get to know the other staff and graduate lawyers.

Initially, I was apprehensive to be placed by Aurora in a Melbourne office. This was because I am from Melbourne and had hoped to be placed somewhere a bit further outside of my comfort zone. However, in the end, I could not have been happier with my placement. The people at NTSV are fantastic. They were all extremely accommodating to my needs, very supportive and are very passionate about what they do. Additionally, the office is situated in North Melbourne and is surrounded by an abundance of great cafés and lunch spots.

It is currently a very exciting time in native title law. A system which still faces many challenges is constantly being workshopped to better address Indigenous cultural needs by driven and compassionate people who have worked in the field for decades. This energy and commitment is inspiring to be amongst.

I would strongly recommend undertaking an Aurora legal internship with NTSV. It is a fantastic way to broaden your perspective on native title law and human rights law more generally. The experience has consolidated my desire to find a career in native title law.