find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Summer clerks graduate to lower numbers

Summer clerks graduate to lower numbers

EVIDENCE OF a revival in graduate programs is mounting as law firms prepare to take on fewer summer clerks this year.A Lawyers Weekly survey of Australia’s 20 largest firms found that most opted…

EVIDENCE OF a revival in graduate programs is mounting as law firms prepare to take on fewer summer clerks this year.

A Lawyers Weekly survey of Australia’s 20 largest firms found that most opted against boosting vacancies this summer for the highly sought-after placements, despite record numbers of applications from students.

Gilbert + Tobin, which offered 18 clerkships this summer compared to 22 in 2002-03, attributed the decrease to a desire to leave room for graduates. Human Resources director Carmel Harrington admitted that “things had tightened up a bit”.

“Lately we have been using our summer clerkship program as the only source to recruit at graduate level, which left us with no capacity to look at graduates — who may have been unavailable at the time due to travel or other commitments,” she said. “Some of the graduates we’ve had applying to us boast fantastic credentials, but there’s been no room left for them.”

A decade ago recruitment at the junior level was almost exclusively conducted post graduation. Since then, summer clerkships have boomed in popularity. Now, very few firms offer vacancies to those who did not participate in the placements, which usually extend the four to six week holiday period prior to a student’s final year of study.

But according to Harrington’s observations, the pendulum was beginning to shift again — this time towards a common ground within which both graduates and penultimate year students may be accommodated.

One firm to already add graduates to its ranks is Gadens, which, coincidentally, will maintain only six summer clerks this year — the same as 2002. HR head Jane Bury toyed with the idea that the well-recognised downturn in the economy — and subsequently corporate work generally — was taking its toll on larger rivals, but couldn’t be sure.

Along with national counterparts Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Allens Arthur Robinson decreased offers this year, said a spokesperson for the 2003 Australian Law Firm of the Year, franking Bury’s suspicions by adding: “It’s fair to say that overall the number of offers made this year is down from a couple of years ago because of the sluggish business environment and the fact that there is not a large amount of movement of lawyers internally.”

President of NSW Young Lawyers Andrew Perry was caught by surprise upon hearing that firms were downsizing clerkship offers, having based his views on diminished evidence of graduate programs at this year’s Sydney Law Careers Fair. Furthermore, he believed anecdotal evidence was showing a much-welcome upturn in the market.

“I would have thought legal services are beginning to pick up a little. Things have generally been busier,” the Gadens partner said. “Even so, the quiet times are generally the least expensive to train talent further.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Summer clerks graduate to lower numbers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Human body, illegal organ trafficking, ALHR
Sep 22 2017
Australia poised to combat illegal organ harvesting: ALHR
The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights are calling for changes to the law so that organ trafficking...
Online service, barristers, BarristerSELECT, Stephen Foley
Sep 22 2017
New online service leverages barristers’ clerks to aid briefing
A new online tool has been launched to help NSW solicitors find the most suitable barristers for the...
NSW District Court judge, Tim Gartelmann SC, next appointment,
Sep 22 2017
Silk replaces outgoing NSW District Court judge
A barrister has been named as the next appointment to the NSW District Court, following the retireme...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...