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Australia Clerkships

A clerkship is the ideal opportunity for you to discover what we have to offer. We currently have clerkship programs in our Melbourne and Sydney offices. 

As a law student in your penultimate year at university, this is an opportunity to gain practical work experience through participation in client meetings, court visits and involvement in real legal work.

Professional development is provided throughout your clerkship. It begins on your first day with a comprehensive orientation program and continues through your clerkship enabling you to learn important skills that lay the foundation for your legal career.

You will work closely with a supervisor and partner or senior lawyer, who is responsible for your daily work. A graduate or junior lawyer will also be there to provide buddy support throughout your clerkship. In addition to the daily on the job feedback and guidance you receive, you will also be involved in a structured feedback session at the conclusion of your clerkship.

As a clerk you will have the opportunity to be involved in many firm activities. Social club events, sports and firmwide celebrations, are great ways for you to have some fun during your clerkship and experience all that K&L Gates has to offer.

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Our clerkship programs are the primary source of our future graduate intakes in all of our locations in Australia. 

The Application Process
Applications for our clerkship programs are completed online, via our website.

Key dates for all states are listed below:

State Application Date
Melbourne 6 July to 31 August 2020
Sydney 9 June to 12 July 2020

All applications should include a cover letter, CV and academic transcript. Our application process also involves answering a few short answer questions.

The Interview Process
You will experience a two-stage interview process with us.

First-round interview
Your first-round interview will be with one of our partners, special counsels or senior associates who are part of our recruitment team, as well as a member of our Human Resources team.

The first interview is our opportunity to get to know you and for you to get to know us. We will expand on your application and your interest in K&L Gates.

Second round interview
For Melbourne and Sydney applicants, the second round interview is a group activity. You will work through a series of legal scenarios with a group of candidates and two members from our recruitment team.

The group interview assesses your ability to demonstrate your analytical skills and to think critically and commercially, as well as your teamwork skills (an essential skill for our lawyers!)

The second round interview process also includes a networking session, giving you another opportunity to meet our people and get to know more about life at K&L Gates.

Offers
Offers for a clerkship role will be made in accordance with the relevant state guidelines.

What should I include in my online application?
Your online application should include a concise cover letter, details of your paid and volunteer work, extra-curricular activities and a copy of your academic transcript.

You will also be asked to provide some short answer responses to specific questions regarding your experiences. These could be legal related experiences or other.

What should I include in my cover letter?
Your cover letter is a great opportunity for you to showcase your personality, and demonstrate your motivations for wanting to be a seasonal clerk at K&L Gates. Your cover letter should summarise your career experiences and give a high-level overview of your skills and character. Keep your cover letter brief and under 300 words. The online application form will ask you specific questions that will provide us with the information we are looking for when assessing your suitability for a clerkship at K&L Gates. 

What should I expect in an interview?
Your interviews will be with a partner, special counsel or senior associate as well as a member of our HR team. The interview provides you with an opportunity to learn more about us, and for us to learn more about you. We will draw on your academic, work and life experience. Interviews are held in our local office, in a relaxed and friendly manner.

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for a clerkship?
Typically clerkships are offered to students who are in their penultimate year of study. You must also have the right to work in Australia. We recruit clerks on the basis that they will be able to commence a graduate program the following year.

What type of training can I expect to receive during the clerkship program?
In conjunction with on-the-job experience, we provide formal training sessions. On day one, you will receive an in-depth induction to the firm as well as training on relevant internal processes and systems, followed by other sessions over the course of the clerkship program. These sessions have been designed to develop your legal knowledge and business skills, as well as to give you a broader insight into the various areas of law in which we practise.

Can I submit preferences for an area of law to complete the clerkship program?
Clerks will be asked to indicate areas of interest in accordance with the practice areas in their office. Whilst we do our best to accommodate your preferences, placements will be determined based on business needs.

As a clerk, will I have opportunities to participate in pro bono work?
Ideally you will be involved in pro bono matters. This will be dependent on the nature of the work that is available in the practice area during your clerkship.  K&L Gates actively encourages our lawyers to provide pro bono legal representation and to participate in other charitable, community educational and professional activities.

What does K&L Gates look for in their clerks?
K&L Gates is about more than practising law or making a living. It’s about building something amazing—creating a legacy for you, the firm, our clients and the communities we serve.
We look to recruit well-rounded, talented people, to provide the opportunities and support for them to achieve their best. It sounds simple, and to us it is.

Our aim is to develop commercially orientated and entrepreneurial lawyers. Solid academic results are important but to be a future lawyer in our firm you need to demonstrate talent and skill in a variety of areas.  

We are looking for smart, imaginative and hard-working people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas to join us. Perhaps our search for talented visionaries and your search for important and impactful work lead to the same place.

What locations offer a clerkship program at K&L Gates?
The clerkship program is currently offered in our Melbourne and Sydney offices.

When will I know if I have been successful in receiving a clerkship offer?
If successful, you will be offered a clerkship position in accordance with your relevant state regulations/guidelines.

If I'm offered a clerkship position am I able to defer my start date?
Deferral requests are considered on a case by case basis.

When are the clerkship programs held at K&L Gates?
Each of the participating offices offer clerkship programs as below:

  • Melbourne: 2 intakes per year - 1 summer and 1 winter program.
  • Sydney: 1 intake per year over the summer.
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