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Australian National University
Imogen studied Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Arts at Australian National University
Summer clerk intake: 2017/18
Areas of rotation: Projects and Real Estate; Mergers and Acquisitions
It is challenging to confine the experience of a summer clerk at KWM to just a few short paragraphs. If there is anything to take away from my attempt, it is that a clerkship with KWM is an enriching period of learning, community contribution and wonderful people.
The application and interview process:
From the first stage, the process was about whether you as a potential employee, lawyer and person would be compatible with the team, and vice versa. The written questions were focused on you and your interests, and the interviews continued this trend. My two interviews were an exchange of ideas and experiences, not an interrogation. Pairing this with the Inside a Deal evening, where we were told of the Canberra office’s work and were given more of an opportunity to talk with the team, meant that I was left with a clear picture of KWM and its people.
Everyone went out of their way to make sure I was exposed to a variety of commercial work during the clerkship. During my first rotation, I was involved in tasks ranging from reviewing leases, attending video conferences with other officesand drafting notices. I also flexed my creative muscles in putting together a presentation for a grant application, as well as a factsheet on green industry innovation. In my second rotation, I was exposed to an array of government and corporate tasks. It was exciting to blend what I had studied to date with new areas of knowledge while I assisted in case research, exploring and summarising regulatory developments in the field and reviewing documents for legislative compliance (to name but a few tasks).
The culture of the firm is one of the main aspects that sets it apart. From day one, the clerks were surrounded by people who were genuinely excited to meet and get to know us, and there was always someone to chat with at one of the regular office-wide lunches or afternoon teas. It was clear that the firm itself has a culture of support and collaboration that extends within and between the different practice groups.
There was never a moment when I did not know who I could turn to for assistance with either my work or around the firm. I was provided with regular constructive feedback from those I worked with, which assisted greatly in my learning. At each rotation, I was paired with a fantastic ‘buddy’, who was always happy to answer any question big or small, and chat (often over coffee) about work, KWM, and how I was finding the clerkship.
Pro Bono and community:
Pro Bono work and community involvement is integral to KWM, and this was evident throughout the clerkship. The Sydney and Canberra clerks were able to get involved in a Change Challenge, looking at the issue of economic growth and social inclusion. In addition, I was able to get involved in the Pro Bono work the Canberra office does on a variety of matters, where I helped to update and edit a chapter of a legal advice guide.
The social life:
With the clerkship running over December and January, there were plenty of events on. I was invited to attend end-of-year AGM and Christmas functions for groups that work with KWM throughout the year. There were also KWM seasonal celebrations, with practice group dinners and the office Christmas party, and it was fun to get to know everyone outside of work. Of course, in line with Canberra’s growing reputation as a coffee paradise, proposals to meet to discuss work, or just catch-up, over coffee were never far away.
Why I chose King & Wood Mallesons:
KWM has established itself as a leading and innovative commercial firm in Australia and the broader Asia region. I was motivated by the strength and diversity of its commercial law practice on offer locally, whilst also having access to a global network. Additionally, the people I met during the clerkship application process, from those I chatted with at information sessions to the interviews themselves, impressed upon me the culture of inclusivity and passion for their work.
Who would I recommend a KWM clerkship to:
Those who want to contextualise their studies with practical and exciting commercial experience, and who are interested in working alongside people who are passionate about, and talented at, what they do.