Summer clerkship recruitment still a priority

by 22 Sep 2009

In stark contrast to their UK counterparts, Australian law firms are standing strong when it comes to their summer clerk recruitment programs.

Many of the top UK firms have significantly cut back on the number of trainees being taken on, and in some cases have scrapped their equivalent trainee programs altogether. However, the Australian legal sector seems to be faring better, and the firms we contacted were adamant that summer clerkship recruitment has remained a top investment priority.

At Mallesons Stephen Jaques, partner Trish Henry – who oversees the summer clerk program in Sydney – explained that the firm does expect to have a slightly smaller summer clerk intake in Sydney this year, but said the program will remain the primary means of recruiting graduates.

“We haven’t finalised numbers yet ... but we would expect our numbers to be reduced slightly,” she said. “But, as in past years, our summer clerkship program continues to be our main recruitment tool and where we want to get our graduates from. So it’s the heart of our recruitment strategy for our graduates.”

Other firms – such as Freehills, Middletons and Minter Ellison – don’t plan to downsize their summer clerk intake this year, and said the programs are crucial to the long-term growth and success of their firms.

Summer clerkship co-ordinators also confirmed that they had no intention of reducing the number of graduate roles. Henry explained: “There are obviously a lot of rumours that fly around – and they do every year. But our approach this year is similar to previous years. We would hope that all our summer clerks, so long as they perform and they’re happy, would be taken on and we have no intention of reducing the number of graduates taken on out of the clerkship program.”


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