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  • Claire Allen

WHAT IS A CLERKSHIP PROGRAM?

A legal clerkship (pronounced clark-ship) is an internship that many firms offer to penultimate and final year law students. The program ranges from three to four weeks and is a great opportunity for law students to gain experience and exposure to the legal industry. A variety of employers offer clerkships – top tier, mid-tier and boutique firms as well as government departments. 


Applicants are usually required to submit a CV, tailored cover letter and academic transcript to each firm they are interested in. The application process can include video interviews, psychometric testing, cocktail events and in-person interviews. Students are eligible to apply in their penultimate (second last) year of university but some firms also accept applications from final year students. 


Clerkships can be important as some firms only recruit their graduate lawyers from their clerkship intake. Other firms will “go to market” and make graduate offers to students if the firm does not offer a clerkship program or didn’t fill all of the graduate positions from the clerkship intake. 


Applications for the Melbourne Clerkship Program open in July and close in August. Offers are usually made in late October. 


There are plenty of other opportunities to gain legal work experience outside of a clerkship program. Click the ‘Opportunities’ heading to learn about work experience in law firms, in-house or the community legal sector. 




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