find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
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
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...