Clerkships are work experience opportunities provided by law firms to penultimate year law students. Generally, clerks are given the opportunity to test-drive a career in particular areas of law. Firms that participate in the clerkship program tend to be larger commercial law firms, however, there are some other organisations in the program that have a focus in the public interest.

During a clerkship you are provided with the opportunity to “rotate” through different practise groups within the firm, as well as receive mentoring and hands on experience. Clerkships in Sydney are predominately undertaken over summer, whilst other Asia Pacific programs such as Hong Kong run over the winter break. Often clerks who participate in the Sydney clerkship program are offered a graduate position upon completion.


The Law Society of New South Wales, who provides a standardised set of dates that all participating firms must follow, oversees clerkship applications. The clerkship recruitment process occurs in a three-month block consisting of written applications, interviews and networking opportunities. This year, applications open on 15th June and close 17th of July, although we recommend that interested applicants check each firm for specific details.

The application process is similar across many of the firms in Australia. The first stage of the process generally requires a written application including a cover letter, CV, academic transcript to be submitted along with a firm-specific online questionnaire. Some firms opt to have additional assessments and psychometric testing to evaluate the applicant’s critical thinking and problem solving skills.

The second stage involves two rounds of interviews, normally with a lawyer, a human resources employee or both. Firms may also invite applicants to social events such as information evenings or cocktail evenings to see how applicants behave in informal settings. It is also a good opportunity for applicants to get a sense of a firm’s culture and values. Offers are made at the end of this process.

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This year, the UNSW Law Society is proud to present a series of publications, workshops and seminars to assist students in the clerkship application process.

  • Private Law Careers Guide: A comprehensive guide which will walk you through the applicant process, provide testimonials from past clerks, tips to help you prepare for the interview and information about all the global Australian and International firms offering clerkships this year.
  • Clerkship Cocktail Evening: An informal networking opportunity where students are able to meet representatives from firms. The evening will be a welcome opportunity to help students formulate an understanding of each firm’s culture and their commercial identity.
  • Careers Fair: Join us for our biggest event of the year, the Annual Careers Fair, where we connect you with recruiters from participating firms and encourage you to explore your career options.
  • Firm Presentations: Firms will be holding individual presentations and workshops for prospective clerks from week 8 to 12 of Semester 1.
  • Clerkship Support Series: For the first time ever, Law Society will be providing networking opportunities with former clerks, Q&A sessions, CV Cover Letter marking services, workshops surrounding interview skills and mock interviews.

Not what you’re after?  Check out the Careers Board