GADENS LAWYERS’ unique approach to marketing once again came to the fore at the recent Sydney Law Careers Fair.
As both international and Australian law firms displayed their recruitment policies at the Fair, held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre this month, law students and graduates gathered to consider potential positions and learn about what it might be like finally to practise law.
One booth stood out among the rest in an outrageous display of colour and music. Featuring balloons, a playpen of coloured plastic balls, and music, Gadens Lawyers encouraged graduates to “find their inner child”.
Gadens managing partner Michael Bradley said: “The theme was a birthday party, as John Gaden, the founding father of the firm, would have turned 99 years old this year. We decided to run with that and ended up with a kids’ party theme.”
But a postcard distributed in lolly bags revealed there was also a serious side to the mid-tier firm. “Of course, life at Gadens isn’t at all like a kids’ playground,” it said. “You’ll have to do seriously hard work.”
The stall was set up as an icebreaker, said summer clerk Daphne Aung, who organised it. “The students at the Careers Fair were intrigued by the set up of the stall. It was a good icebreaker. It made students want to find out what the firm and our clerkship program are about,” she said.
Gadens’ summer clerkship program is organised to give six summer clerks opportunities to work in the firm. The clerks are rotated between different departments and are supervised by a partner in each.
The unusual approach to attracting graduates was also used last year, when Bradley told Lawyers Weekly in its 2004 Sydney Graduate Fair submission: “The Gadens stall will be distinctively decked out in lounge room style, designed to encourage casual interaction and remind students that the commencement of a legal career should not be (entirely) mutually exclusive with the maintenance of their former life as a couch potato. Stallholders will talk to the students provided they stay out of the way of the Playstation screen. We promise not to detract from anyone’s enjoyment of the day by making presentations.”
“We will only hand out showbags if we succeed in stealing them from the neighbouring stalls,” the submission said, “but we are offering a special this year: each hour we will conduct a competition in our stall (details to be announced), the winner of which will receive a guaranteed summer clerk interview at Gadens, regardless of how atrocious their marks are.”