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FAQs for Law Students and Graduates

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 and 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.

What is the duration of the graduate program?
The graduate program at K&L Gates runs for 12 months beginning in March each year.

What are my rotation dates?
All Australian graduates will complete three rotations across a 12 month program:  

  • Rotation 1 - March to July
  • Rotation 2 - July to November
  • Rotation 3 - November to March

How are practice group rotations selected?
Rotations are selected taking into consideration your practice group areas of interest and business needs.

What training will I receive during the graduate program?
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 graduate program. Training provided includes Practical Legal Training (delivered in-house by the College of Law), with sessions presented by partners, lawyers, external presenters, and our professional development team. 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.

Will K&L Gates cover the cost of my Practical Legal Training (PLT)?
If you are completing PLT as part of the Graduate Program, the firm will cover the fees.

Will I be supported by a mentor during my graduate program?
We truly believe that working together is better! Your supervisor and buddy will help you settle into the office and you will work closely with the partners, special counsels, senior associates and lawyers in your team. You will be provided with opportunities to build strong relationships; both within your teams and the wider firm network. We provide and encourage a collaborative environment for you to grow and develop in.

What feedback do I receive during the graduate program?
You will receive a mixture of informal, on the job feedback, as well as formal feedback through check-ins with HR. The end of rotation performance reviews will provide you with constructive feedback to assist in your learning and development.

Will I secure ongoing employment at the end of the graduate program?
The number of graduates we hire is intended to meet the projected requirements of our business. Prior to the completion of your graduate program, your performance and current business needs will be reviewed to ensure an appropriate match.

Please find below answers to some frequently asked questions in relation to our:

PERIOD OF RECOGNISED TRAINING

When is your next trainee intake?
We are currently recruiting trainees to commence with us in August 2022.

Do you have any places left to commence in 2021?
There are no places left in 2021.

Who can apply?
We welcome applications from both law and non-law students. We also welcome applications from other relevant postgraduates.

Do you consider mature age applicants?
Yes, we encourage applicants of all ages.

Do you accept applications from candidates who need a work permit?
Yes, we do accept applications from candidates who need a work permit and should your application be successful, we will arrange the work permit for you. However, your offer will be conditional upon us being able to gain approval from the UK Border Agency for your work permit.

When should I apply?
2022 Intake - The application process will be open on 1 November 2019. Apply via our website.

How do I apply?
Applications should be submitted via our website. We use cvMail as our supplier so if you are already registered with them you will not need to re-input all your personal details. You can also request a paper application from traineerecruitment@klgates.com.

What grades do I need?
You will need to have achieved or be predicting a 2:1 degree and have 320 UCAS points or the relevant academic equivalent.

Do you accept General Studies A-Level?
We do not accept a General Studies A-Level as part of the 320 UCAS point requirement, but all other subjects are accepted.

Will my application be considered if I do not have a 2:1 degree and 320 UCAS points?
If there are mitigating circumstances and documented reasons (i.e. illness backed up by medical certificates) please refer to this in your application. We will in such circumstances consider your application appropriately.

What form will the recruitment process take?
Successful applicants will be invited to attend one of our assessment days where you will take part in a group exercise, a swift analysis test, critical reasoning test & a written test. If successful you will be invited back in for an interview & individual exercise, the final part of the process.

When will interviews take place?
Students will be assessed in August 2020. (Subject to change)

How soon after the interview will I know the outcome?
We advise you of the outcome as soon as possible, generally within 7 - 10 days.

How many trainees do you recruit each year?
We usually recruit up to 10 trainees.

If I am not successful in obtaining an interview when will I know?
Unsuccessful candidates will be advised following the application closing date of 31 July 2020—generally we let you know by the end of September 2020.

Do you consider non-law students for Period of Recognised Training?
Yes. On average, about 40% of our trainees have not studied law as a degree.

When should I apply for a place on the CPE/Postgraduate Diploma in Law?
At the beginning of the final year of your undergraduate degree.

Do you recommend a CPE provider?
No, the decision is yours.

Can I apply for a Period of Recognised Training if I do not fall into either category of penultimate year student or final year student?
Yes.  We welcome applications from those who have decided to apply for a Period of Recognised Training later than usual.

Do I need to apply separately for the Legal Work Placement and a Period of Recognised Training?
Yes you will need to submit two separate applications.  cvMail, however, will store your personal and academic profile so your second application will be quicker to complete.

Is non-law work experience relevant to my application?
Yes all work experience is of relevance and should be included on your application.

Do you recommend particular law schools?
We leave the decision to you.

On the Legal Practice Course (LPC) do I choose the Commercial or Corporate pathway?
Corporate pathway as this is more in line with the nature of K&L Gates' practice areas.

Do you have any preference as to which LPC electives are taken?
Please select:
(i) Acquisitions
(ii) Advanced property
(iii) Public companies and equity finance or (instead of (iii))
(iv) Banking and debt finance
The names of these electives may differ slightly at different institutions.  If you are unsure then please contact us.

Can I take a "gap year" prior to commencing my Period of Recognised Training?
Yes. Please indicate your intentions in this regard on your application form.   This will in no way adversely affect your application.

Should I take a "gap year" before or after I study the LPC?
The decision is yours, however, we recommend that you take it before the LPC, particularly if you are intending to travel as you will probably feel better prepared for office life if you complete the LPC just before starting your Period of Recognised Training. However, if you are planning to paralegal in your gap year then it may make sense to complete the LPC first as you will find it easier to get a job.

Are trainees given regular feedback on their performance?
Yes. You will be appraised every three months during your Period of Recognised Training, giving you plenty of opportunity to gain feedback and raise any issues.  You will also be allocated a mentor throughout your contract.

Is there any opportunity for involvement with pro bono or community work?
Yes. The majority of trainees become involved in the firm's Pro Bono initiatives and many work as volunteers at the Battersea Legal Aid Advice Centre.

How many trainees are kept on after qualification?
As we will have invested a great deal in recruiting and training you we hope you will develop a long term career with us.

What training and career opportunities are available after qualification?
We have a formal career development and mentoring scheme.

Do you involve trainees in business development?
You are encouraged to be involved in some of the many marketing and business development events we hold throughout the year to develop client relationships.

Will I have the opportunity to train as a solicitor advocate?
Those qualifying into Dispute Resolution are encouraged to take Higher Rights.

How much choice do I have as to which seats I do?
We aim to give you as much choice as possible, however, all trainees will have seats within core areas such as corporate, dispute resolution and real estate.

Who is your provider for the Professional Skills Course?
Kaplan Altior is our provider for the Professional Skills course.

LEGAL WORK PLACEMENT

What is Legal Work Placement?
Legal Work Placement is your opportunity for an inside view of what it is like to work at K&L Gates. It will also provide a general insight into the work of a contemporary, international law firm. During the two weeks you will sit in at least two departments and wherever possible we will allocate you to a seat of your choice. You will also participate in a programme of events and outings.

When is your Legal Work Placement?
We hold one, two week Legal Work Placement during July each year.

Who can apply?
The scheme is open to law students and non-law students. Applications from post-graduates seeking a Period of Recognised Training are also welcome.

What is the deadline for applications?
31 January 2020

Will I be required to attend an interview?
Yes you will be required to attend an interview in March 2020.

When will I know if I have been successful?
We will inform you by early April 2020.

How many positions are there on each placement?
There are 12 positions for the two-week placement.

Do you hold Easter or Christmas Placements?
No, currently we only run the summer Legal Placement Scheme in July.

What grades do I need?
You will need to have achieved or be predicting a 2:1 degree and have 320 UCAS points or the relevant academic equivalent.

OPEN DAYS

What are Open Days?
Open Days are an opportunity for you to visit the firm and will enable you to make a more informed choice as to whether you could see yourself working here. During the day there will be presentations and the opportunity to speak to current trainees, you will find out more about the firm's practice areas, the culture of the firm, qualities and attributes we seek in future trainees and information on how to survive assessment centres. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a dummy group exercise and critical reasoning test.

Who can apply?
When applying for one of our Legal Work Placement or a Period of Recognised Training please indicate if you are interested in attending an Open Day. You will then be contacted if a place becomes available on an Open Day.

When are the Open Days?
Open Days will be held in January, February, March, April, and May. 

Who can I contact for further advice or information on your Period of Recognised Training, Legal Work Placement or Open Days?
For further information on our Period of Recognised Training, Legal Work Placement or Open Days please email queries to traineerecruitment@klgates.com and we will respond promptly. Alternatively, contact Hayley Atherton, Recruiting Manager, on 020 7648 9000.

How do I apply for a summer associate position if you don’t interview at my law school?
You may submit an application for our summer associate program online. Click here to apply now.

How many summer associates were in the firm’s 2020 program?

Austin - 1
Boston - 6
Charleston - 1
Charlotte - 4
Chicago - 5
Houston - 3
Los Angeles - 2
Miami - 1
Newark - 3
New York - 3
Orange County - 2
Pittsburgh - 14
Portland - 1
Raleigh - 4
Seattle - 7
Washington, D.C. - 5

What’s the typical agenda for an office interview?
The interview format differs among offices.  Generally, you’ll spend the morning or afternoon at the firm, meeting with four to six lawyers with a myriad of experiences and practices, as well as local recruiting staff.  Be sure to identify practice areas of interest before your interview to ensure you meet with lawyers in those practices.

Will I be reimbursed for travel expenses associated with my office interview?
Yes.  We reimburse all reasonable travel expenses approved by the Regional Recruiting Manager.  Be sure to keep your receipts and submit a NALP Travel Reimbursement Form (provided by our Regional Recruiting Manager). 

When does the summer associate program start, and how long does it run?
Our summer associate program varies by office but it typically runs eight to ten weeks, beginning in May or June.  Ask your Regional Recruiting Manager for this year’s program dates.

Does the firm allow split summers between K&L Gates offices or other firms?
We typically prefer summer associates to spend their full summer in one office so their experience is fulsome and uninterrupted, but we consider requests to split within K&L Gates offices on a case-by-case basis.

As a summer associate, will I be assigned mentors? 
Yes. Your mentors will assist you with all aspects of our summer associate program, helping with work assignments and professional development and serving as a resource during your time at the firm. 

As a summer associate, what type of training can I expect to receive?
The firm’s Professional Development Department develops a new summer associate curriculum each year, designed to enhance your knowledge and technical skills and your transition to practicing lawyer.  

As a summer associate, what type of work can I expect?
You’ll work on client matters and pro bono cases similar to what you would work on as a first or second-year associate. We also provide shadowing opportunities which may include depositions, arbitrations, client meetings, board meetings, and judicial proceedings.

As a summer associate, what type of feedback can I expect to receive?
You’ll receive informal feedback from your mentor and other lawyers over the course of the summer. You’ll gain insight through written evaluations as well as a mid-summer review and end of summer review.

Does the firm have a billable hours expectation for summer associates? 
No. However, you will be working on real client work and are expected to learn how to balance deadlines and expectations. Summer associates typically bill between 25-35 hours per week.

Will I have the opportunity to work on pro bono matters?
Yes. K&L Gates has a strong commitment to pro bono work, and you’ll be encouraged to participate in these assignments during the summer.  

As a summer associate, will I be provided with insurance benefits?
The firm does not provide insurance or other benefits to summer associates or their dependents.

How many summer associates receive permanent offers from K&L Gates?
Our goal is to make offers to all of our summer associates. We assess the potential of each summer associate and extend offers to those who demonstrate the potential to succeed as a K&L Gates lawyer.   

What types of social activities could I expect to participate in as a summer associate? 
The firm arranges a variety of social activities throughout the summer program to provide summer associates and lawyers the opportunity to get to know one another. Dinners, sporting events and local happenings are just some of the ways summer associates get to know the lawyers. 

Do you hire 1Ls for your summer program?
We hire 1Ls for a select number of our offices. Please check our website in December for more information about how to apply. 

Do I have to choose a particular practice area at the beginning of the summer?
We encourage our summer associates to explore opportunities in a variety of practice areas throughout the summer.

How can I expect to receive work as a summer associate?
Our work assignment process varies by office and practice group.  Some practice groups take a free-market approach, and some have assignment coordinators.  Partners and more experienced associates assign work within each practice group.

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