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DLA Piper Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Tips when applying for a clerkship at DLA Piper

DLA Piper Australia

6 things I wish I knew before I applied for a clerkship.

Between networking evenings, cover letters, chatter about differing approaches to the application process and writing 10+ unique cover letters within a month (or for most of us… within the last fortnight before applications close), it can be easy to get overwhelmed during the clerkship process. So here are 6 tips I wish I knew before I applied for a clerkship to help you thrive during your application process. 

1. START EARLY Clerkship application season is usually close to exam period for most university students, so it is very easy to fall into the trap of procrastinating. Most firms will require at least a CV, cover letter and some additional short answer responses so it is important that you allow yourself plenty of time to prepare. 

2. TAILOR YOUR APPLICATION AND BACK YOURSELF DLA Piper is very proud of the work we do, the clients we service, our strategy and our people and culture. Each firm will have its own unique selling points and it is very important that you are able to showcase exactly why a particular firm stands out to you and why you’d be a good fit at that firm. Even if you have no legal work experience, don’t be afraid to highlight your strengths and the skills you picked up from working in other industries and extra-curricular activities as many of them will be transferable and will be valuable to us at DLA Piper.

3. TRIPLE-CHECK EVERYTHING Every law firm is looking for applicants with the potential to be excellent lawyers. Attention to detail and clear and concise communication are key qualities of a good lawyer. Make sure your application is addressed to the right person (and right firm!), is free of errors and is well-written. Ask a family member or friend to read your application in case you missed something. 

4. BE YOURSELF The clerkship process is about you showing firms why you’d be a good fit for them but remember that firms should also show you why they’re a good fit for you. As lawyers, we spend so much time with our colleagues, so it is important to be authentically yourself to ensure you’re able to determine which firm is best for you. Meeting partners can be nerve-wracking, but it is important to remember that they are normal people with hobbies and interests outside of work just like you. At DLA Piper we really value our collegiate culture and we are looking for applicants who are personable, have a great attitude and are willing to learn. 

5. DEVELOP YOUR COMMERCIAL AWARENESS Building commercial awareness and acumen is essential for success in the legal field. This includes understanding the business side of law firms and clients, as well as keeping up with industry trends and developments. Stay informed by reading legal publications, attending industry events, and seeking out mentors who can provide guidance. At DLA Piper we value our sector-focus strategy. You will be sure to impress if you demonstrate existing knowledge of the sectors we specialise in, show understand of how this approach helps our business, and can specify how your interests align. 

6. STAY FOCUSED AND BE PATIENT The application process takes time, effort, persistence, and resilience. Be patient and prepare yourself for lots of rejections as these are normal and part of the application process. Whilst there will be a lot of chatter going around about the best approach, WAM cut-offs, deal-breakers and even what kind of personality you need to display to secure a clerkship, remember that every applicant is at the same stage as you and has the same level of information you have. Try not to get overwhelmed and distracted by what other people are doing and stay focused on yourself. At DLA Piper, we want you to succeed and are not trying to trick you. So, stick to your instincts, stay true to yourself, and stay focused on putting your best foot forward. 

Good luck!