What it does: A Corporate law firm. One of the 10 largest firms in Australia by size.
Staff stats: Around 108 partners and 550 staff in total
The good bits: Sociable culture, flexible working hours during quieter times
The not so good bits: Long hours are sometimes required to meet client demands
Hiring grads with degrees in: Law & Legal Studies
The Thomson Geer story
While Thomson Geer can trace its history back to 1885, it has emerged in the last ten years as a modern, competitive firm. With a relatively youthful partnership it has settled comfortably at the top of the mid tier.
The most recent collaboration came about in 2014 as a result of the merger of two mid-sized firms: Thomsons Lawyers and Herbert Geer, to become Thomson Geer. The latest merger is with Kemp Strang in 2018.
Thomson Geer has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. It has “access to high-quality work in sectors such as construction, energy, health, telecommunications, property development, tax, superannuation and gaming and leisure”.
The firm’s clients are predominantly: large to mid-sized Australian private companies; listed Australian companies (of varying size); foreign corporations and governments. The firm reportedly generates revenue in excess of $135 million a year.
Thomson Geer works hard to avoid the bureaucracy common at the big end of town. If you take pride in the tradition of the law, this firm is not for you! Modern, flexible, direct and accountable, you'll enjoy and get credit for the contribution you make and for being a team player.
If you don’t have to work, no-one will credit you for staying late unnecessarily. Get busy or go home and come back fit and refreshed for an energetic day tomorrow.
While not without some hardworking very senior partners with grey or no hair, the firm has a young energetic partnership which influences its culture – a high proportion of its partners are equity which supports the firm's claim to be inclusive and to promote based on merit. Some say its energy is infectious.
If Thomson Geer has a diversity and inclusion policy, it doesn't publicise the fact. However, having a female Chair for more than 10 years might suggest it has a claim to being a gender-equitable workplace.
Thomson Geer says it understands the importance of giving back to the community. It is "committed to the provision of pro bono legal advice to marginalised and disadvantaged group” in the states in which it operates" (NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia). Thomson Geer is a signatory to the National Pro Bono Resource Centre's aspirational target of 35 hours of pro bono legal work per practitioner per year. It says its lawyers can actually spend "up to 50 hours per year on approved pro bono matters and receive financial credit for that time". The firm says it is constantly looking for ways that it can connect its lawyers with pro bono opportunities that will utilise their skills to make a meaningful contribution to its local communities.
Some of the organisations the firm provides pro bono services to include St Vincent’s Hospital, Get Real Conscious Impact, The Charlie Teo Foundation and Choice Passion Life, amongst others. The firm works with several structured pro bono programs including Justice Connect and Homeless Persons Legal Service.
The recruitment process
The firm proclaims, “All of our clerks are viewed as potential graduates, and all of our graduates as potential leaders”.
If you want a grad role at Thomson Geer, you will usually need to do a summer clerkship first. The firm looks for “hard-working and motivated law students who have excelled academically, are client focused, commercially minded, work well in a team environment and are enthusiastic about commencing their career with a dynamic law firm”. An additional technical degree is essential.
Applicants also need to demonstrate they have “a critical and curious mind” are “passionate about developing solutions in their commercial context” and able to “work constructively in diverse teams with both senior and junior practitioners across legal disciplines and jurisdictions”.
To get a clerkship, make an initial application here. If you get through the initial cull, you’ll “be invited to participate in an interview process”. If you get through that, you’ll be invited to an ‘information and networking’ evening. This is designed to “provide you with the opportunity to meet our partners, some of our recent graduates and learn more about our culture and what sets us apart as an employer”. You’ll also “have an opportunity to ask questions about the firm and have a chance to let us know more about you”.
If you do get a grad role, you’ll be paired with “a supervising partner, a mentor, and a buddy, to help you navigate through the transition from uni to work and begin to build your chosen career”. You’ll also find “all of our partners and staff are approachable and always happy to share their knowledge and experience with you”.
Grads (and even clerks) are encouraged to “get as much exposure to different practice areas and ways of working as they can” as part of the firm’s commitment to building an “integrated, cohesive, national team”. From the get-go, grads are given “a realistic and stretching introduction to the legal profession” by becoming “an active participant in the team, involved in all aspects of legal practice, and working directly with experienced practitioners”.
Thomson Geer offers quality, varied and challenging work, a strong focus on client outcomes and a collaborative and supportive team environment. You'll be rewarded with professional development opportunities and market competitive remuneration among the best in Australia.
The firm also offers an array of benefits. These include flexible work policies and the access to a range of leave including paid parental leave, study leave and community leave. Staff can also purchase extra annual leave. There is a "wellbeing@work" program, offering in-house exercise programs, free breakfast provisions and fruit, flu vaccinations and skin checks. There is also free counselling available to employees and their immediate family. The firm puts on Friday night drinks as well as staff parties at the end of the financial and calendar year.
At Thomson Geer “every graduate is viewed as a potential partner”. The firm is “committed to providing all of our legal staff with the support and opportunity to realise their full potential”. Staff are encouraged to “manage and drive their career progression”. There is “an effective and transparent nomination process which governs the progression of legal staff from one role to the next”.
This process is merit based and applied across the firm.
To be eligible for promotion, a staff member must be a strong performer in their current role and possess the attributes required for the desired role. They also need to behave in a manner consistent with the firm’s values. The standard career path at Thomson Geer goes graduate ▻ lawyer ▻ associate ▻ senior associate or special counsel ▻ partner.
The vibe of the place
Thomson Geer states it aspires to an environment that is flexible, friendly, personable, collegiate and professionally stimulating. The firm has an active social committee and fields a range of sporting teams. That means there are lots of opportunities to develop close relationships with your colleagues.
If you work hard, you will be rewarded. And while you may need to occasionally work late or on a weekend on a project or to get up to date, you'll definitely have time for a 'life outside work' if employed at Thomson Geer.
From the Employer:
We are a large Australian Corporate law firm. We have around 550 people, including 108 Partners operating out of our offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. By size we are one of the 10 largest law firms operating in Australia, and the 5th largest independent Australian law firm.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our work, and our transparency. We are driven by our client's needs.
The nature of our legal assignments is what you would expect of a large corporate law firm. Thomson Geer is regularly engaged on challenging and complex work. Our lawyers are given exposure to excellent work while maintaining small teams where each lawyer gets to develop and learn from senior lawyers, including partners.
We work closely with and are retained regularly by ASX Top 200 corporations, ASX Listed corporations, large and medium private corporations and Government enterprises, and we provide regular representation to the Australian interests of major global foreign corporations. Their industry coverage includes banking and finance, construction, private equity, property development, oil & gas, telecommunications, aviation, agricultural investment, healthcare, life sciences, mining and transport & logistics.
Our Clerkship and Graduate programs
We run summer clerkships and graduate programs in all of our offices. These are designed to ensure that you quickly become a part of our team when you arrive, getting involved in high quality work and working closely with your experienced colleagues, including partners, to learn and develop your skills in a collaborative and supportive environment.
What are we looking for in a potential employee?
Our clerks are curious, hungry to learn and committed to constant innovation and improvement.
We are looking for hard-working and motivated law students who have excelled academically, are customer focused, commercially minded, work well in a team environment and are enthusiastic about growing their career with a dynamic law firm. We are especially keen to talk to students who have an additional technical degree.
Why Choose Us?
We know you're not just a student on work experience. We want to give you a realistic, stretching introduction to the legal profession. How does this happen? From day one, you’ll be an active member of the team, involved in all aspects of legal practice, and working directly with experienced practitioners. We also want you to enjoy your time with us – there are lots of social events you can get involved in – and what better way for you to get to know your colleagues?
Developing your skills to set you up for a bright future
We will dedicate time to your development as an up-and-coming lawyer in our team: an investment in you is an investment in our future, and the future of our valued clients.
Our partners and staff are approachable and happy to share their knowledge and experience with you. We encourage our clerks and graduates to get as much exposure to different practice areas and ways of working as they can – this is a reflection of how we work as a wider organisation; a fully integrated, cohesive, national team."