The competitive programs serve as a useful way for students to get a sense of a commercial firm’s various practice areas through rotations and company culture. It also offers a useful opportunity for leading top and mid-tier law firms to cultivate a talent pool, a number of whom go on to receive offers for graduate placement.
This year prospective clerks have until Sunday, 16 July, to research the firms that are offering places in a summer program and apply.
Leading firms Allens, Clayton Utz and King & Wood Mallesons are advertising for summer clerks this year, with News Corp reporting that the graduate intakes for each firm this year are 77, 74 and 69 graduate lawyers hired respectively.
According to findings from The Australian Partnership Survey, conducted by Eaton Capital Partners, in the year to December 2016 Allens hired 72 grads, Clutz 62 and KWM 84.
There are some notable firms who will not be hosting their summer clerkship this year. Australian mid-tier stalwart Henry Davis York is no longer offering clerkships given its pending merger with global firm Norton Rose Fulbright. However NRF, which hired 24 graduate lawyers in the first six months of this year, is running its own 2017 summer clerkship program.
Meanwhile, it is understood that global mega firm Dentons, who last year merged with the Gadens offices in Sydney and Perth, will also forgo offering a summer clerkship program this year.
Other firms whose latest hiring figures suggest improving job prospects for new graduates, including Corrs Chambers Westgarth, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, Gilbert + Tobin and DLA Piper, will also be be running summer clerkship programs this year.
Maddocks, who recently had DLA Piper’s entire Canberra office join its ACT team, is offering an eight-week summer clerkship in the nation’s capital for those penultimate-year students who are interested in public law. The national firm is another mid-tier making confident headway for growth in graduate intake, reporting 16 graduate lawyers hired in the first six months of this year.
Global top-tiers Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst, who did not participate in the News Corp law survey, are also running summer clerkship programs.