• Alice McClymont

The A-Z of Clerkship Applications and Interviews


Keen to apply for a clerkship but unsure about how to get started? This nifty A-Z guide is for you…

Applications should be succinct, articulate, persuasive and powerful. Choose one thing that sets you Apart from the thousands of other applicants.

Buzzwords should be a cause for concern. Make sure you’re saying the right thing but don't over do it.

Cover letters, CVs and CVMail will be your mantra for the application month! Always check every individual CVMail application that you have addressed the right firm. You have no chance of securing a clerkship if you have the wrong firm name at the top of your application.

Dress to impress: suits, heels, hair, makeup, polished shoes, clean nails, ties, ironed shirts, and fresh, minty breath.

Email your interviewers after your meeting "thank you" or "it was lovely to meet you." This keeps you in their heads and is a nice touch.

Fit into Firm Culture. You must address this in your applications and interviews.

Graduate offers are usually awarded at the end of your clerkship.

Human Resources or HR are there to help you. They know all the key dates, times, and procedures as to how to apply for a summer clerkship. Don't be afraid to ask for more information.

Interviews can come in all forms: cocktail parties, group sessions, coffee dates, phone calls, email correspondence or sit down meetings. Always be conscious of this.

Juggle application dates, clerkship interviews and social functions, with uni lectures, assignments and exams.

Keep an open mind.

Learning and Development sessions are usually embedded into a firm's clerkship program.

Multiple offers might be an outcome from your applications. You do not have to accept an offer straight away – take time to think about your choices so you can make the right decision for you and you only.

Network at the cocktail parties, morning teas, inter firm seasonal clerk functions and dinners you will be invited to.

Organisation is paramount to a successful clerkship application campaign.

Prepare and have your CVs and Cover Letters proofread by someone you can trust.

Questions should be anticipated. Think about what the interviewers are going to ask you and what you are going to ask them.

Rotations are the periods of time you spend in the firm's practice groups. Some firms offer more than others and some more lengthy than others.

Sell yourself. This is your chance to show the legal fraternity how exceptional you are.

Take into account that there are other firms that are not on CVMail that you might like to apply to.

U should always be yourself :)

Values. What are the firm's core values and do they match yours?

Who's Who of the firm? You need to know this in case you are interviewed by them or you meet them at a social event.

X-pect to feel nervous, anxious, rejected, exhilarated, restless, inspired, informed, motivated, lonely, excited and tired. Don't worry – you are not the only one on the application rollercoaster ride. It is not an easy process and everyone is likely to be experiencing the same emotions.

Yes to Coffee! If someone from the firm (HR or a lawyer/Senior Associate/Partner) asks you to coffee you should always go. This usually forms part of the informal recruitment process and it is a chance for you to get to know someone in the firm.

Z is for Zzzzzzs. Make sure you get plenty of them! The application and interview process is exhausting and a gruelling process.

Alice McClymont is a graduate lawyer at Lander & Rogers in Sydney. Alice completed her summer clerkship with the firm in 2010/11.

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