Applying for a grad role – what happens

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Submit your CV and cover letter by the deadline

  • Keep your CV succinct – 2 to 3 pages is ideal. It should be simple but ordered well. You don’t need fancy fonts or pictures!
  • Tell us about your education, achievements (both academic and non-academic), work experience and your interests.
  • Triple check your spelling and grammar – a great CV can be let down by typos and small mistakes
  • Include your contact details!
  • Write a one-page cover letter to accompany your CV – tell us who you are. Why law? What interests you? What are you most proud of? Talk to us in a conversational tone.

Overall, try to show your personality. Our HR team reviews all applications and we’re keen to hear what makes you who you are.

Remember to submit your application before the deadline and leave plenty of time to do this. Our application process is straightforward – we don’t ask you for references or a long questionnaire – but you never know what can come up.

The MERW team review all applications

Our people are smart, resilient, friendly, fun and diverse. They also have a passion for excellence and always strive to be the best they can be. So, we look for the same in our graduates. They’ll be well-rounded and show areas of interest and passion, whether sports, cultural, charity, sustainability, or in the community. We’re looking for candidates that are enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the work. They’ll be from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities and be interested in a variety of practice areas.

 

Phillippa Lamberton, a previous summer clerk, and now solicitor in our banking and financial services team says:

I believe that our firm is looking for someone who is motivated, driven and enjoys working in a team and collaborating with others. I believe the firm values people that are genuinely interested in working in commercial law and are motivated to learn and develop a broad range of new skills.

The interview – a conversation

The interview is to help us and you decide if we are a good match. We’d like to hear what you can bring to our firm, and we’d like to share our values and direction to help you decide if you’d like to join us.

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We match everyone we interview with a buddy. You’ll meet with your buddy a few days before the interview and have lots of time to ask any questions you have in a low key, informal setting. We do this to help put you at ease and give you a friendly familiar face – as your buddy will also meet you immediately before the interview to help put your nerves at ease. They have been in your position before and know how daunting it can feel.

Before the interview, we suggest you:

  • Find out what you can about our firm, our culture, and the Partners who will be interviewing you. Knowing who you’re meeting can help you build rapport.
  • Arrive 10 minutes before your interview time so you are not rushing.
  • Think about the types of questions you may be asked and consider how you will respond. Be ready to discuss all aspects of your CV – the key is to be prepared, but not scripted.

Please let us know if we can provide you with any assistance on the day of your interview (for example, assistance with accessibility to our office or any other support that you might find helpful).

Interview tips

The purpose of the interview is to get to know the real you – your personality, skills, experience and values – so be authentic and show us who you really are.

You will be interviewed by two partners or a partner and an HR Manager. Your interview will cover aspects of your CV as well as your knowledge of the law.

You will also be asked during the interview to do an impromptu one-minute presentation on a subject we choose. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to think on your feet. No preparation for this part of the interview is required and we will choose a non-legal topic. Most candidates say this is the most fun part of the interview!

At the interview:

  • Listen carefully to the question asked and answer it succinctly. If you’re not sure how to respond, ask for a moment to consider it before answering – it’s ok to pause.
  • Ask questions that reflect your values and interests – this will help you make your decision about where you want to start your legal career.
  • Try to relax and be confident. We know that’s easier said than done, but you will perform better and enjoy the interview more if you can be yourself.

Click here to watch Holly and Nick talk about graduate recruitment.

Click the link on the left to hear from Holly Hill and Nick Frith, two of our graduate recruitment partners, on what they look for in our summer clerks. You can also check out the profiles of our other 2024 graduate recruitment partners at these links:

Auckland

Wellington 

Dunedin

Christchurch

  • Isaac Stewart, Partner, Corporate (Auckland-based)
  • Vanessa Syme, HR Manager, Auckland

After the interview

Thank you for taking the time, effort and energy to meet with us! After the interview our team of graduate recruitment partners get together to discuss the candidates we’ve met across the country.

Candidates that have been offered a role are invited back to our offices to get to know our teams and people further. This is your chance to see the office and to ask any questions you have about the summer, the practice areas, or anything else about our firm. This function is usually held a few days before offers close. We also arrange flights for those out of town.

MERW doesn’t take a cookie cutter approach as to who could be a good fit for a role at the firm. While it is easier said than done, try not to stress about putting yourself in a box as to the typical person you think they would want to hire – of course academic skills are important, but don’t be afraid to highlight your quirks and interests outside of university study that sum up who you are as a person. 

– Hannah Cross, previous summer clerk

Frequently asked questions

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What does induction involve? What training do summer clerks get?

Our summer clerks spend their first week in an induction programme. Induction sessions include IT training, introductions to our different divisions and practice teams, sessions with previous summer clerks, workshops on enhancing research and delegation skills – basically everything you need to know to have a successful and fun summer clerking experience with us. You will also be given plenty of time to get to know your buddy and your new team.

During the course of your clerkship you will attend several external training sessions including plain English writing, proofing and editing, effective listening, and developing presentation skills. All of these sessions will give you the tools you need to transition from university student to legal professional. You will also attend your team’s training sessions to learn more about the practice area you are working in.

What social activities can I expect over the clerkship?

There are lots of great opportunities during the summer to get to know everybody in our firm, as well as your fellow summer clerks. Christmas is a fun time to be in our firm and social activities over the summer include Friday night drinks, sports tournaments, Social Club lunches, team building events, Christmas parties, team social events, and competitions. There’s definitely plenty going on!

How are the teams structured?

There are five divisions (each with a number of sub-teams) across our two offices:

  • Banking and Financial Services;
  • Corporate, which includes Competition; Intellectual Property, IT, International Trade and Tax;
  • Litigation, including Employment;
  • Real Estate, including Environment; and
  • Construction, including Energy.

Each team is headed by a division leader, who is one of the partners in that team. Within each division there are a number of sub teams. During your clerkship, you will work with a partner and a senior lawyer, as well as having a junior solicitor as your buddy.

Find out more on Our Programmes page.

How many teams will I get to work in over the summer?

You will get the chance to rotate through two teams over the summer, one each side of the Christmas break. At the end of each rotation you will get feedback on your performance and an opportunity to tell us about your experience in each team. Prior to your start date, you will be asked to let us know which practice areas you would like to work in. Wherever possible, we do our best to accommodate your preferences.

What if I don’t know where I want to rotate?

That’s the great thing about being a summer clerk; it gives you a chance to try out a couple of different teams. If you really can’t decide, we’re happy to discuss this with you at the time and make a decision together. Successful candidates will also be invited into our offices to meet some more of our team, learn about our business, and have a look at our working environment. This will also give you a chance to ask questions and hear more about our teams.

Do all of your summer clerks get offered a law clerk position?

We are committed to recruiting summer clerks with the intention of offering all summer clerks a law clerk position with us, providing both their individual performance and market conditions support this. While our summer clerks are not guaranteed a law clerk position for the following year, they remain our primary source of talent when recruiting. The clerkship is an opportunity for you to experience life in a top tier corporate law firm as well as enabling us to see what a great future law clerk you would make.

Do I rotate if I return as a law clerk?

No, our law clerks don’t rotate. When we offer law clerk positions, this will be a position in a specific team so you will know which practice area you will be working in on graduation. Before deciding which team to place you in, we ask you to provide your team preferences and we make every effort to accommodate these. If you then want to change divisions at a later stage, we will again do our best to accommodate this.

Do I get a break over the holiday period?

Our summer clerks get a three week paid holiday, which usually starts on or around Christmas Eve.

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