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KWM spills secrets to clerkship success

Cartoon women sharing secrets

The clerkship application period is a special hell reserved for all penultimate students that dare to dream of a career in big-time commercial law. But it doesn't have to be. Survive Law sat down with two members of King & Wood Mallesons' recruitment committee to get you the inside scoop on making your application stand out.

Claire Rogers is a Partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons specialising in Project Finance.

Claire Rogers

1. What makes KWM the employer of choice for law students?

I think the two key things are the training and the people. We really invest in our junior lawyers and they get fantastic formal training, but more importantly a lot of one on one time with partners and senior lawyers learning from their experience. And for me the reason to start at Mallesons, come back after time overseas and ultimately become a partner has always been driven by the people. Everywhere you look across the firm there are fantastically bright, talented people and whenever you need help or have a question there is a rush of people wanting to help out. To have that sort of knowledge and experience essentially at your fingertips is pretty phenomenal.

2. What do you look for in a clerkship candidate?

We don’t have any set criteria. Personally I’m looking for people I can see myself working with, people who are willing to get involved, keen to learn and are genuinely interested in what we do.

3. What advice do you have for students working on their applications?

Start early, take your time and make sure you get someone to proofread it for you. We’re also really trying to get an insight into you as an individual, so tell us about yourself and your life experience. Avoid providing a list of what you think are the “ideal” qualities of a law graduate – focus on what you’re good at and what you can bring to our business.

Josh Chalkley is a Solicitor in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons and part of the recruitment committee.

Josh Chalkley

1. Tell us a bit about your clerkship and grad experience at KWM?

I started out in the private equity M&A and leveraged B&F teams, before going on secondment at a bank.(Don’t let those labels put you off, I did an Arts degree). As a junior, you’re constantly learning – almost everything is new and not what you’re used to in law school. What I liked most about those teams was the energy and complexity of the work, plus the variety of businesses that our clients bought and sold – be it in live entertainment, bars and restaurants, cancer care, or even tomato farms.

2. What were your reasons for choosing KWM?

Claire’s already mentioned this, but I’d have to say the people. From the outside, it’s honestly hard to figure out what sets the big firms apart when they all offer the same things. I recommend meeting as many people from each firm as you can. Try to picture yourself working in their team.

3. What advice do you have for students working on their applications?

This is your shot to show off who you are on paper. Keep it short and to the point. Less is more at this stage of the process.

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