Application and interview tips

Tips for drafting your CV

 

It can be difficult knowing how to put your CV together and what you should include. To make sure your CV stands out from the crowd, here are a few tips from our recruitment team:

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  • keep your CV succinct – 2 to 3 pages is ideal;
  • have a simple, but well ordered, layout – fancy fonts and borders are unnecessary;
  • include sections for Education, Achievements (both academic and non-academic), Work Experience, Extra-Curricular Activities, Personal Interests and Referees;
  • double check your spelling and grammar – a great CV can be let down by typos and small mistakes;
  • ensure your contact details are included;
  • draft a one-page cover letter to accompany your CV – this should highlight why you are applying for the role, the skills you can offer our firm and the achievements you are most proud of;
  • double check the application instructions –  it is important that you follow the instructions and include everything that is required.

Interview tips

 

The purpose of an interview is to help us, and you, decide if we are a good match. It’s an opportunity for you to show what you can bring to our firm, and for you to assess whether your values and career ambitions align with ours.

Before the interview

  • Find out what you can about our firm and culture so you can ask questions to help you decide whether your values align with ours.
  • Find out who will be interviewing you and research them using our firm’s website or LinkedIn. Knowing a bit about who you’re meeting helps to build rapport quickly.
  • Plan your outfit to make sure you look professional and feel confident – business attire is best.
  • Arrange to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time so you are not rushing or running late.
  • Think about the types of questions you may be asked and consider how you will respond – the key is to be prepared, but not scripted.
  • Be ready to discuss all aspects of your CV and your knowledge of the law.
  • Let us know if we can provide you with any assistance or support on the day of your interview (for example, assistance with accessibility to our office or any other support that might be helpful).

 

At the interview

  • Remember, 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.
  • Listen carefully to the question asked and answer it succinctly.
  • If you’re not immediately sure how to respond to a question, ask for a moment to consider it before answering – it’s ok to pause before replying.
  • Be prepared to ask questions that reflect your values and interests, as this will help you make your decision about where you want to start your legal career.
  • Relax and be confident!

Frequently asked questions

Check out the answers below to some commonly asked questions.

 

How many summer clerks does the firm take each year?

We don’t have a fixed number of summer clerks that we take each year. Numbers are decided on the strength of the applications and by balancing the number of clerks with the work we have. This is to ensure that everyone gets a good quantity of quality legal work providing you with real opportunities to learn.

What is MinterEllisonRuddWatts looking for in a summer clerk?

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 summer clerks. We like our people, no matter what their background, to be well rounded, to always strive for excellence, to be inclusive and to get involved in all sorts of different activities.

What does the summer clerk interview process involve?

You will be interviewed by two partners or a partner and our 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!

Successful candidates will be invited into our offices to meet some more of our team, learn about our business, and have a look at our working environment.

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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. This includes a team building day where the Wellington clerks fly up to the Auckland office. 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 type of work will I encounter during my clerkship?

Summer clerks get involved in a variety of tasks for their team’s clients, and the type of work really depends on what is going on with your team’s clients at the time. Summer clerks do real client work, so the work you do is dependent on what help and advice our clients need while you are working for us.

Previous summer clerks have carried out research tasks, observed court appearances, written opinions and letters, attended client meetings, been on client secondments, as well as working on major deals and cases for our clients.

How are the teams structured?

There are five divisions across our two offices:

Banking and Financial Services; Corporate, which includes Competition; Intellectual Property, IT, International Trade and Tax; Dispute Resolution, 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.

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.

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!

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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.