Top tips to secure a Clayton Utz law graduate job

GradAustralia surveyed recent graduates at Clayton Utz to bring you the top five tips for applying to the Clayton Utz law graduate program.
Jaymes Carr
Jaymes Carr
Team GradAustralia
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1. Know why you want to work at Clayton Utz (as opposed to other firms)

What sets Clayton Utz apart from other law firms, especially its rivals in the big six? There are many ways to answer this question. For example, some of our insiders were drawn to Clayton Utz’s extensive involvement in pro bono and community outreach work. You will likely have your own answer after researching Clayton Utz—and it’s best to know what it is before attending your interviews.

 

Understand the company, why they want to work there. Why commercial law? What makes the firm unique, why is that good?

- Graduate, Brisbane

 

I would suggest candidates allow their individuality and personality shine through in their cover letter, as well as an honest desire to work at the particular firm as opposed to other law firms. I would recommend they practice mock interviews with a friend or colleague beforehand.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

2. Think about what you can offer Clayton Utz as both a lawyer and an individual

Your academic bona fides will probably be well-established if you’ve been asked to attend an interview or assessment day. Our insiders suggest that you focus therefore on what sets you apart as an individual. Which personal attributes can you offer the firm? As always, try to think of specific examples of when you’ve demonstrated those attributes as a student, clerk, intern, or elsewhere.

 

It was mostly about getting to know me as a person, as well as an opportunity for me to get to know the individual interviewers and their work history. It felt very much like a conversation.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

In the first interview, a lot of behavioral questions like when have you made a mistake and how did you overcome it - which is common for the clerkship process. The second interview was more of a chat, with a partner and special counsel and no HR, so it was more about me and what I like to do outside of work.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

We have a whole team dedicated to community involvement. So far I've been involved in volunteering at the Wayside Chapel, Ovarian Cancer fundraisers, footpath library, Children's Cancer Research, Talking to underprivileged high school students and the Literacy buddy program.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

3. Familiarise yourself with Clayton Utz’s unique culture

Our insiders speak highly of Clayton Utz’s culture, with many remarking that they enjoy spending time with their colleagues even outside of business hours. To show how you can contribute to the culture at Clayton Utz, you might consider emphasizing, in your application, past cultural and social pursuits, such as any involvement you’ve had in extracurricular activities or university clubs and societies.

 

It speaks highly of a firm when you still want to socialise outside of work with your colleagues. There are also lunchtime sporting activities on offer and even lawski where a group of us will head to Thredbo for a long weekend!

- Graduate, Sydney

 

There are numerous training opportunities, as well as social activities planned for in work hours. They have a fantastic formal mentoring program. As a law firm, it is hierarchical, however most partners and senior lawyers are extremely approachable and interested in young lawyer's growth and development. I am very pleased with the culture at our workplace.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

4. Learn as much as you can about life within a law firm

Legal skills aren’t the only thing you’ll need to shine at a law firm, say our insiders. It also helps to familiarise yourself with what working in a law firm is like from day-to-day, so you can demonstrate possession of the necessary soft skills during interviews and group assessments.

A good place to start with understanding law firm life is GradAustralia’s Law Guide, which was produced in collaboration with the Law Society of NSW. It’ll give you helpful tips on attire, working with colleagues, and thriving in the face of demanding work requirements. This will prepare you to discuss (and take advantage of) training opportunities, career prospects, and more.

 

There are training opportunities almost every day for you to take advantage of. In the graduate program especially there is an intense training program throughout the whole 2 years.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

Location with best views in Brisbane, modern office space. General corporate attire (suit pants + shirt + tie) with jacket in office for meetings etc.  Casual Friday (trousers + shirt).

- Graduate, Brisbane

 

5. Be ready to take responsibility for a range of tasks

Our insiders have a striking range of tasks at Clayton Utz, which likely reflects the size of the firm and the diversity of its clients. So, during interviews and assessments, bear in mind that recruiters will be hoping to see that you have the adaptability and broad skill set required to take on a variety of legal matters.

 

As a junior lawyer I am responsible for, amongst other tasks, making changes to documents with minor drafting jobs, legal research and organisation of, for example, completion checklists for transactions.

- Graduate, Sydney

 

Graduate work can be dry (but this is to be expected), but there are large deals, projects and disputes that you are involved in. The work can also be interesting and challenging. More senior lawyers acknowledge when they give you something that is monotonous but has to be done.

- Graduate, Brisbane

 

I do a lot of research, in particular interpreting legislation and Government documents. I have already seen the results of my work placed directly into an advice to the client.

- Graduate, Perth

 

If you’re interested to learn more about graduate careers and life as a young lawyer at Clayton Utz, check out the full graduate job reviews as well as Clayton Utz’s graduate stories.