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.
When I first began as a Law Clerk at Piper Alderman, I was concerned that I would be in a small room somewhere becoming a world expert on photocopying. I’m happy to say that it was not the case. From the beginning, I was allocated to the litigation team and was involved in court work, briefing Counsel, drafting submissions and all the other cool things that litigators get to do. My colleagues were always happy to challenge me, teach me and offer advice to enhance my career. I always felt supported and encouraged and now look forward to helping others in that position feel the same. As a Law Clerk and Law Graduate you gain a lot of skills very quickly, but in terms of experience it’s only the very beginning, and what is most important is that you have the people around you who are prepared give their time to help you grow and improve, which is what I was lucky enough to have. I’m now a lawyer in the litigation team and despite all the exciting things they got me to do from the start, I’m still pretty good at photocopying.
I started as a Law Clerk in the Commercial Litigation team in 2014 while I was in my second year of the Juris Doctor. From my very first day, I got to work with the Partners and other senior staff. It has been extremely encouraging to work on some of the smaller matters where it has been just a Partner and myself because of the amount of responsibility you are given. As a Law Clerk, I was given the opportunity to appear in Court on behalf of our clients for directions hearings and reviews - an experience many don’t get until they are admitted. Now that I am a lawyer, I feel very privileged to work closely alongside such supportive and encouraging colleagues who really invest their time into developing junior staff.
Law Graduate, Brisbane
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.
Law Graduate, Adelaide
I started as a law clerk in the Employment Relations team when I was in the penultimate year of my law degree. During the final two years of my law degree I worked two days a week, and I gained a range of vital practical legal skills in this time. The culture of the Adelaide office is very collaborative, and no one is ever too busy to say ‘hi’ and give a smile when passing in the corridors. Working in a law firm is not nearly as scary as it is made out to be. Yes, you need to work hard and produce high quality work, but as a law clerk there are a lot of support systems in place to make sure that you don’t feel lost and always have someone you can ask for help.
I started as a law clerk at the end of 2014 in commercial litigation and clerked for two days a week during my final year of Uni. I think a good law clerk or graduate should be organised and take the initiative to be resourceful and useful to your peers and seniors. My tip is to never pass up the opportunity to learn - not only in respect of the law and your clients, but also in terms of observing and interacting with everyone in the firm and the wider legal community. The Adelaide office balance is just right, we work hard and are focussed and committed to our clients but we know when to call it a day. We also know how to celebrate our large (and small) achievements of the week by taking in the views of Adelaide outside on the patio!
Law Graduate, Adelaide
The best part of my experience as a law clerk was the opportunity to continually learn and grow. From the outset I had the opportunity to be involved with matters spanning a wide range of commercial transactions. These experiences greatly enhanced my skillset and has made the transition from a clerk to a graduate a very smooth and natural process. The one on one contact with senior practitioners provided to you as a clerk to on a daily basis will rapidly improve 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 ensure you demonstrate a willingness to learn and to be part of the team!
Law Graduate, Adelaide
My journey to Piper Alderman was through the Bob Piper Scholarship, I happily accepted a later offer of work experience, even more happily accepted an offer of an indefinite clerkship and was delighted to accept a graduate contract four months ago. Determination is perhaps the ultimate quality for a clerk. It’s definitely required to get through both the periodically punishing pressure of law school and the difficulty of finding a position as a clerk or a grad in this extremely competitive market. It’s all possible, but you have to be persistent! My days can be chaotic, especially in busy periods but that’s what makes it fun – the constantly changing nature of the work.
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.