Clerk and graduate experiences

Our clerk and graduate program offers real opportunities for career progression. Here's what some of our other clerks, graduates and new lawyers have to say on what makes Piper Alderman's program unique.

James Bailey

Law Clerk, Sydney

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I was given the opportunity to work as a Law Clerk as part of the Corporate team in early 2018, and have not looked back since then. From day one, I have been involved in various matters for both my primary department and in litigation, offering me a fantastic opportunity to develop both the theoretical and practical skills required of a lawyer, within an accommodating environment. Despite the role being my first in a law firm, the mentoring and encouragement provided by countless experienced colleagues(both within and beyond my practice team) allowed me to quickly settle in and work on the complex (yet rewarding) tasks that Piper Alderman encourages clerks to become involved in. In particular, the continuous personal interaction with senior practitioners has allowed me to develop my legal problem-solving skills and understanding at a rate which I had never envisaged so early on in my career. In addition to the enhanced responsibilities bestowed on clerks, the firm is extremely flexible, insisting that a balance between work and full-time study is prioritised, and offering assistance to achieve this wherever possible.

Denise Burloff

Associate, Brisbane

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I had the opportunity to work as a Law Clerk at Piper Alderman whilst I was studying at university. As a Law Clerk, I was given the flexibility and support to work part-time during the university semester and focus on my studies during the stressful assessment and exam period. I was lucky enough to work with every practice group in the office. This was a great opportunity as it allowed me to work with many talented people and exposed me to different areas of law. It also meant that no day was the same. Towards the end of my degree, I accepted a Law Graduate offer in the Projects & Infrastructure team.

Philip Chow

Senior Associate, Melbourne

Philip Chow, Law Graduate

From my first day as a law clerk, and then as a law graduate, I have had the invaluable opportunity to be actively involved in a variety of matters in areas such as intellectual property, mergers and acquisition, and litigation. While the learning curve was steep, my colleagues have offered incredible support throughout every stage. The exposure to real work from the outset made my transition into a graduate role much less daunting. This unique experience has further assisted my university studies and places me in a great position to start my career as a lawyer. I would recommend Piper Alderman’s clerk and graduate program to students who are eager to have a challenging but rewarding start to their legal career.

Scott Coffey

Law Graduate, Melbourne

Scott Coffey, Law Graduate

The broad graduate program in Melbourne exposes graduates to multiple teams at once, which is a great way to build a comprehensive understanding of how different areas of law interact in practice. The structure of the program has exposed me to most teams and partners in the Melbourne office and giving me the opportunity to learn from multiple senior lawyers and partners whilst I discover which practice areas are a good fit for me once it comes time to settle next year. In addition to the work of a graduate and social events organised by the firm, I have felt supported to grow and develop as a young legal professional through firm-organised networking events and initiatives, and being encouraged to be involved in external industry events and associations.

Liam Higgins

Associate, Adelaide

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The best part of my experiences as a law clerk and graduate was the opportunity to continually learn and grow.  From the outset I had the opportunity to be involved with wide range of commercial matters, including corporate M&A transactions and IPOs.  These experiences greatly enhanced my skillset and made the transition from a clerk to a graduate and beyond a very smooth and natural process.  The one on one contact with senior practitioners provided as a clerk and a graduate on a daily basis rapidly improves the ways in which you approach challenges and solve complex problems.  My advice is not just to ensure you have excellent attention to detail and an ability to balance competing priorities, but to demonstrate a willingness to learn and be part of the team!

Rachael Lopez

Law Graduate, Melbourne

Rachael Lopez, Law Graduate

Joining the firm as a law graduate in early 2019, I was immediately brought in on key matters and immersed into my various teams. As a part of the Melbourne graduate program, we are attached to multiple teams at a time, so I’ve had exposure to a many different areas of law including corporate, employment relations, franchising, construction and intellectual property. This has been invaluable experience for my growth as a lawyer and in helping me figure out what I ultimately want to specialise in. While juggling the different responsibilities and working across multiple teams is challenging, it has been a truly fulfilling challenge and my colleagues have been incredibly supportive. Culturally, the firm is full of people that are not only very impressive at what they do, but also friendly and approachable, making it a great place to learn as a fresh graduate. I would definitely recommend the graduate program to anyone who would like to gain broad exposure in commercial law and be challenged by their work.

Patrick Sexton

Lawyer, Melbourne

Patrick Sexton, Lawyer

Going through the graduate program at Piper Alderman was an invaluable experience for me.  It allowed me to be exposed to a variety of interesting matters and gave me a level of responsibility that ensured I had ample opportunity to learn and grow at the firm.  The graduate year also allowed me to learn from and build relationships with a variety of senior practitioners that has held me in good stead in my transition to a lawyer at the firm.

Emer Sheridan

Law Graduate, Sydney

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I began as a Law Clerk in the Infrastructure and Projects Team in the penultimate year of my degree. From the beginning of my time at Piper Alderman I have seen that my co-workers, supervisors and the firm as a whole are genuinely interested in and committed to the development of Law Clerks and other junior staff. As a Law Clerk you will be given interesting tasks which will enhance your research and drafting skills. No two days are the same and you are challenged to produce quality work with care and efficiency. However you will also have lots of support from your team and no question is too trivial to ask! I would recommend a clerkship at Piper Alderman to any law student looking for an exciting and rewarding experience in commercial law.

Zoe Underwood

Lawyer, Adelaide

Zoe Underwood, Lawyer

I joined the Piper Alderman team in Adelaide as a graduate in early 2019, and from day one I hit the ground running. I was immediately immersed into a variety of matters within the team and given a real practical insight into the services that we deliver to our clients; from the initial drafting stages through to the end product. What is unique about being a graduate at Piper Alderman in Adelaide, is that we are positioned within one specific team. This has allowed me to build genuine connections with those who I am working with, and in turn enhanced the mentoring that I have received from senior practitioners. I would recommend Piper Alderman’s clerk and graduate program to all aspiring lawyers interested in a career in private practice – the work is undoubtedly challenging but you are supported every step of the way.