How to Land a Clerkship with Herbert Smith Freehills-5 top tips for securing a vacation clerkship

Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elesy
Team GradAustralia
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Liz Henry, resourcing manager at HSF, has some suggestions for cracking the highly competitive process of getting a vacation clerkship with the firm. 

1. Show us who you are 

Include your interests and hobbies outside of work and university on your application. Evidence of a balanced university life demonstrates time management skills and a drive to move outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. 

Being an exceptional lawyer takes more than just technical ability. It requires diversity of thought, a high degree of emotional intelligence and sound communication and interpersonal skills. The success of our firm relies on our ability to develop and maintain close, productive relationships with our clients and our people so we put just as much emphasis on a candidate’s transferable skills as we do on their academic ability. 

2. Demonstrate interest 

Use your application to demonstrate why you are interested in working with us. Students have many reasons for applying for a clerkship – we want to know what about HSF attracts you. You can include details about meetings you have had with employees from the firm (such as at careers events), your impression of the firm and any research you have conducted. 

This is also an opportunity to show off your communication skills. Keep your answers concise, punchy and to the point. 

3. Details matter 

Check your application carefully for spelling and grammatical errors and ensure that all names are spelled correctly. Make sure you actually answer the questions that have been asked and get someone to check your application if possible. 

4. Before the interview 

At your interview be ready to discuss the experiences that you’ve highlighted in your resume. Keep a copy of your application after you submit it and review it before your interview; you may be asked to elaborate on your answers. Listen carefully to the questions and don’t hesitate to clarify what is being asked. 

5. Be prepared 

Our application process is designed to be comprehensive. Our aim is to challenge you, constantly testing different skills and your motivation for a career in law. Our recruitment process is highly competitive. Make sure you prepare and practice so that you can demonstrate why you would make a great vacation clerk.