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Legal Aid NSW - Finding Autistic Talent.

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Background of work.


In 2021 Legal Aid NSW partnered with Specialisterne to tap into neurodiverse talent via their Talent Match pathway which provided a fast-track option to immediately fill a vacant role within the agency with a skilled, work-ready individual on the autism spectrum.

Through this pathway Specialisterne aimed to assist Legal Aid NSW in meeting an immediate hiring need while also building and developing an approach that would have a far-reaching, long-term impact on the capacity of Legal Aid NSW to pursue, hire, support and integrate autistic individuals into their workplace.

To ensure the role requirements were met, Specialisterne completed a comprehensive job matching process which included evaluating the candidate’s suitability against the role requirements through a series of practical online assessments.

Another critical element of Specialisterne’s work is to educate and enable the employer to recognise and value the talents of people on the autism spectrum. Via the Talent Match pathway, Specialisterne worked closely with Legal Aid NSW to develop their understanding of practical, non-traditional approaches to recruitment in order to source the unique talents of autistic individuals, and to ensure they had the tools to support their employees to thrive. Via this process, the new recruit, Claire (alias) was successful and offered the role of Business Analyst within Legal Aid NSW.

The next stage of the process included the development of an individualised Employment Support Plan in consultation with Claire to identify her unique skills and strengths, and to detail any workplace modifications or adjustments that were required. This plan was then developed into a comprehensive tailored training piece and delivered to the new manager and the team on how to best support Claire to ensure she thrives in her new role.

Once Claire started her new role, Specialisterne commenced Ongoing Business Enablement Support (OBES) which comprises of one-to-one mentoring and coaching sessions with Claire and her new manager over a three-month period.

Legal Aid NSW talk about the Talent Match pathway

How did you hear about Specialisterne and why did you seek the services of Specialisterne to recruit for this role?

I became aware of Specialisterne through their partnership with the NSW Public Service Commission, and I was impressed by the results of the Tailored Talent Program the two organisations delivered collaboratively. Wanting to achieve the ambitious target of 8% of Legal Aid NSW staff with disability by the end of 2023, we were keen to partner with Specialisterne to employ the best possible candidate for the vacant Business Analyst – Data & Analytics role within my team.

What were you hoping to achieve as a result of working with Specialisterne?

People with autism have a great deal to offer the NSW Public Sector, however their opportunity to demonstrate this may be reduced through the traditional recruitment methods used across the sector. Working with Specialisterne meant we could recruit using a method that allowed candidates with autism an opportunity to demonstrate their strengths. The partnership with Specialisterne also provided a very good onboarding experience for both the new recruit and the team, and supported a seamless transition into the organisation.

What benefits can you see in your workplace as a result of hiring neurodiverse talent such as Claire?

We were seeking a Business Analyst – Data & Analytics recruit with analytical expertise, technological aptitude, and an ability to have a deep focus on the data. We were also looking for a person that is innovative, and importantly has a high level of integrity. People with autism often have one or more of these characteristics. Claire has all the characteristics we were looking for and brings a wealth of experience and capability to the team.

Have you personally benefited from working with us in terms of your understanding of autism, diversity, inclusive recruitment, your management skills or other?

Specialisterne provided us with tailored, candidate-specific onboarding and ongoing support guidance. Through this partnership I have increased my understanding that it is not a one size fits all approach. To enable success, it is important that we address how we can unfetter each person’s strengths and provide the best kind of support to areas where this may be required.

Would you recommend Specialisterne to other organisations looking to diversify and support their workforce with autistic staff and why? What would you want them to know?

I would recommend Specialisterne to other organisations. The recruitment exercise was very straight forward, and I have great confidence in Specialisterne’s candidate matching capability. Our partnership with Specialisterne meant the recruitment of Claire was given the best possible opportunity to succeed, for both the organisation and Claire.
Specialisterne were always on the front foot, are dedicated, and are committed to achieving the best outcome for the candidate and the hiring organisation. It is a pleasure working with Claire and I look forward to working with Specialisterne again.

What will the organisation look to do in the future? Any plans to expand on their neurodiversity recruitment initiatives?

Since hiring Claire earlier this year, NSW Legal Aid has used the pre-assessed talent match option to successfully recruit a Solicitor and is currently in discussion for a further role in their Sydney branch.

Do you have plans to employee autistic and neurodivergent talent?

The Specialisterne Australia branch was established in 2015 to build on and support the foundation's global ambition to create 1 million meaningful jobs for people with autism. Since 2015 Specialisterne AU has worked with a number of Global clients including financial, IT, government and consultancy business clients to successfully source, place, retain and increase the value of autistic talents within their businesses.


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