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K&L Gates

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

5 ways to prepare for a clerkship interview at K&L Gates

Helena Du

Lawyer - Real Estate at K&L Gates
Congratulations! You've just received a call informing you that your clerkship application at K&L Gates has progressed to the interview stage. After the excitement dies down, you may find the nerves kicking in. What do I do now?

Luckily for you, we've prepared a list of five tips that will help you prepare for your interview.

1. Research the firm

It is very easy to lose sight of all your clerkship applications, but before stepping into the interview room, you need to ask yourself: Why K&L Gates?

This question will inevitably be asked in some way, shape or form by your interviewer, and it can be a simple way of distinguishing yourself from other potential candidates. A great response will show that you are genuinely interested in who we are and what the firm does.

You can find this information anywhere: from the K&L Gates official website to LinkedIn posts to professional newsletters such as Australasian Lawyer and Lawyers Weekly. You should also try to attend any careers fairs or events, as HR representatives and lawyers from the firm will be there to recount their experiences of the clerkship and give further insight into the firm's culture.

These resources will tell you about the firm's recent domestic and cross-border work, our clients and our practices of law. You should also make sure to look into our firm's extracurricular activities, such as pro-bono work and social events.

Remember that this research isn't just for the interviewers, it's also for your benefit, and it helps you to understand our firm and our culture.

2. Know your application

While most law firms have similar application forms, there are slight differences in the types of questions they ask and it's important to keep on top of each of your applications. Your interviewers will have a print-out copy of your application, so it's a good idea to make a copy of your application before submitting it.

Another useful tip is to stage a mock interview with a friend so that your friend can look at your application and ask you to elaborate on your answers. It always helps to have a second opinion, and hopefully, you'll get some useful constructive criticism that you can use to improve your interviewing skills!

When you're going through your application form, you may find it useful to look at each answer, and ask: What did I learn from this experience? How will this make me a better lawyer? This will help to focus your answers in the interview, so that you're not rambling or repeating yourself. It would also help you to understand the strengths of your application, whether that be academic marks, work experience or extracurricular activities so that you can speak confidently about those experiences.

3. Prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewers

Towards the end of the interview, you will usually be asked if you have any questions for your interviewers. Don't be afraid to ask questions - this is a great opportunity for you to find out more about the firm.

For instance, if you're interested in a particular area of law, you can ask about the K&L Gates team and the type of work they do. Partners specialise in niche areas of their practice and are more than happy to talk about their career paths. You may also have questions about the size of the team in the local office, and the ratio of junior lawyers to senior lawyers.

You may have a passion for pro-bono work or sport - ask about the K&L Gates policy on community outreach, our interesting pro-bono matters and our sporting competitions. If you're curious about working and living overseas, ask whether the firm can accommodate internal transfers.

Interviewers can tell when candidates are just asking questions because they feel like they have to, so I'd encourage you to think carefully about what you want to know.

4. Be punctual and professional

This may be stating the obvious, but simple things like punctuality, proper business attire and a good night's sleep will work wonders in making a great first impression. On one day, there may be as many as 10 other interviews taking place, and you don't want to start off on the wrong foot by being late or unprofessional.

Make sure that you've factored in any potential transport issues, and arrive at the firm 10 minutes early, letting the receptionist know that you're here for the interview. This will help to relax your nerves, and it will also allow you to adjust to the firm's office so you can get into the right headspace to start mentally preparing for the interview. You'll also have some time for last-minute teeth and hair checks!

While your interviewers will usually have copies, it's a good idea to have copies of your application, resume and academic transcript.

5. Be yourself!

At the end of the day, it's important to be genuine and honest throughout the entire clerkship process.

If you've made it to the interview stage, you've already passed the 'paper test'. Now, all you have to do is show the interviewers that K&L Gates is the right firm for you. Be honest about your career aspirations, hobbies and interests.

While it is a job interview, remember that the interviewers are just as interested in getting to know you, as you are in getting to know the firm. It's not intended to be a formal setting, with a script of prescribed questions. It's meant to be more of a conversation, where you should feel comfortable being yourself. Try to relax and enjoy the process.

Good luck!