Helpful information

Meet your panel

Our interview panels across our three offices are looking forward to meeting the successful applicants.

Click through below to read their interview advice.

Gerard Souness

Partner – Finance & Graduate Recruitment

“We want to get to know you as a person and ensure you are a good fit for this opportunity. Almost any interview will involve a question asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey so far.

This question is often asked at the beginning of our conversation, and while it can often be broad, it provides an opportunity for you to enthusiastically set the scene for the interview and empowers you to direct us towards the areas of your life, schooling or work experience you would like us to focus on.

We are not looking for a list of childhood hobbies or a full recital of your CV as we will have your CV on-hand in the interview. We are, however, giving you an opportunity to demonstrate any small or big achievements, why you believe you are a natural fit for the role, how you seize opportunities and your personal attributes that will help you overcome any challenges and make the most of the clerkship experience with us.”

Read more about Gerard Souness

Lauren Curtayne

Partner – Corporate & Commercial

“Being interviewed makes most people nervous (including me!).  Try not to let those nerves get the better of you.  We really just want to have a conversation and get to know you.

To help you prepare, ask a friend or family member to do a practice run with you.  Don’t memorise answers (because we do want it to be a conversation), but think about how you might respond to certain questions, or whether there’s anything in particular you want us to know about you.

When I’m nervous, I use the ‘rule of 3’ to keep me calm and structured.  So, for every question we ask, you might want to think of three points or three examples to your response.  For example, in response to ‘What are your strengths’, I might say ‘I’m a team player, I’m ambitious, and I’m resilient’, with an example of each.

Finally, if you have let your nerves get the better of you in the interview, don’t be afraid to pause, gather your thoughts and suggest that you sum up your response more concisely.”

Read more about Lauren Curtayne

Laura Fraser

Partner – Litigation & Dispute Resolution

“Authenticity is really important. Every law student we meet is different and we see that as a good thing. Getting to know what matters most to you, what motivates you, and what makes you stand out from the crowd is a really important part in the process of selecting Chapman Tripp’s clerks. Successful applicants don’t just tell us what they think we want to hear – they show us what makes them tick. We’re really interested in meeting genuine people, so above all be prepared to be yourself.”

Read more about Laura Fraser

Hamish Bolland

Partner – Construction & Major Projects

“You may laugh, but I truly believe in the benefits of mindfulness and having a clear mind when I approach something difficult. I recommend a two minute exercise (that’s all!) right before your interview. Find a quiet spot to sit down with your hands relaxed in your lap. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths in so you feel your lungs filling up. Slowly breathe out through your mouth, noticing how the air feels as it passes your lips. As you keep breathing, start to notice how you are sitting and what your body is doing – it may be how your feet are placed on the ground, how your body feels in the moment, how you are sitting in the chair or what your hands are doing. Take note of any distant sounds and the atmosphere as you sit there with your eyes closed. Keep breathing through the moment before slowly opening your eyes. Your mind should feel clearer as you begin to feel more present and in the moment – prepared to go into the interview focused and ready. Good luck!”

Read more about Hamish Bolland

Luke Hinchey

Partner – Environment, Planning & Resource Management

“Having some knowledge of Chapman Tripp and the work we do helps us know that you are really keen to work for us and are genuinely interested in our clients and areas of practice. It also gives you a great opportunity to think about where you may want to specialise in your legal career and will help you get a better sense of ‘law in practice’.

Before your interview, do some research on recent Chapman Tripp work – it can be good to choose a few cases, deals or projects you are genuinely interested in. Places to look could include our website and people profiles, our Chapman Tripp LinkedIn profile, business news in the media, and recent judicial decisions. Once you have found a few areas of interest, do some more research and reading to start applying your critical thinking. Consider things like the key issues involved, financial or reputational impacts for clients, impacts on markets, political implications, or finely balanced legal issues in a judicial case. Ask yourself, ‘what makes this matter interesting to me and why?’, and ‘what is my opinion on this matter?.

Consider examples of university, extracurricular or paid work you are doing that may be relevant to the case. It may seem obvious, but please don’t bluff or fabricate your knowledge as it will be very noticeable to us! We’d prefer you ask some smart questions to show your enthusiasm and interest. We don’t expect you to know everything about a particular Chapman Tripp matter – we just want to hear that you have thought about some of the issues carefully and are ready to offer your insights and opinions. Don’t be surprised if your interviewer says, ‘that’s an excellent thought. I hadn’t looked at it in that way before!'”

Read more about Luke Hinchey

Rose Ritchie

Talent Acquisition Specialist – Graduate Programme

“We love engaging and genuine stories and anecdotes that speak to you and your unique journey, so be sure to show us who you are and how you’ve grown!”

As the Chapman Tripp Graduate recruiter, Rose Ritchie has been the driving force behind our graduate recruitment campaign – Grow Your Own Way. Rose grew up in Dunedin and studied in New Zealand at UoO, UoA, and then in Canada at UBC, completing her BA in Japanese and Sociology. Rose is passionate about the graduate space, especially around meeting and engaging with a wide array of students from all walks of life and helping them see their potential to grow and develop. 

 

Catherine Sullivan

Senior People & Culture Advisor

“I like to arrive early and check I know exactly where I’m going. I then go to a local café for a cup of tea and a final review of my notes and CV so I feel as prepared as possible!”

Catherine Sullivan is a Senior Advisor in the People and Culture team, and works closely with partners and teams to support a high performing environment and culture where everyone can thrive. Catherine loves being involved in graduate recruitment and offering that same support and encouragement to graduates that are interested in starting their careers with CT. With many years’ experience working alongside graduates, Catherine has a wealth of knowledge on how the programmes work and how to set yourself up for success.

Tessa Baker

Partner – Property & Real Estate

“Despite the contrast to your day to day university life, try to relax and enjoy your interview.  It is a chance for you to get to know about our culture and what life beyond your studies could look like.  We know that you have “the smarts” so we are most interested to find out more about you as a person – what motivates you, what you are proud of and how you might see a career with Chapman Tripp for yourself.  Feel free to ask us questions.  Hopefully your interview will feel more like a conversation than an interview!”

Read more about Tessa Baker

Te Aopare Dewes

Partner – Corporate & Commercial

“The purpose of the interview is for us to get to know you – we want to hear from you about what are you passionate about, what drives you to get out of bed every day and why you are considering a career as a commercial lawyer.  Be authentically you – that is the best way to make the conversation flow.  It is also a chance for you to get to know us.  So come prepared with a couple of questions you can ask us.”

Read more about Te Aopare Dewes

Lucy Cooper

Partner – Competition & Antitrust

“Be conscious of your first impression; a nice firm handshake and genuine welcome can go a long way! Try to focus on conveying how you feel about working at Chapman Tripp rather than how you feel about being interviewed.”

Read more about Lucy Cooper

Greg Wise

Partner – Property and Construction

“There are a bunch of people who have experienced our culture and work at Chapman Tripp. They may be a client, clerked with us before, or currently work at the firm. Where and when you can, try to talk to these people as they can give you great first-hand advice and information on what it is like to work at CT!”

Read more about Greg Wise

Leigh Kissick

Partner – Finance

“Just relax, take deep breaths and be yourself. We’ve been in your shoes and can remember what it is like walking into an interview – as an Otago graduate who grew up in Palmerston North, I was quite apprehensive about the interview process. A key piece of advice I would give is to stay calm – you’ve done a great job to get an interview and it is a chance for us to get to know more about you. We really want you to do well.”

Read more about Leigh Kissick

Tim Sherman

Partner – Corporate & Commercial

“Being eager and enthusiastic in an interview goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you find interesting and enjoyable, in law and other aspects of your life – it’ll not only help to calm your nerves, but will also give us a sense of the real you!”

Read more about Tim Sherman

Catherine Sullivan

Senior People & Culture Advisor

“I like to arrive early and check I know exactly where I’m going. I then go to a local café for a cup of tea and a final review of my notes and CV so I feel as prepared as possible!”

Catherine Sullivan is a Senior Advisor in the People and Culture team, and works closely with partners and teams to support a high performing environment and culture where everyone can thrive. Catherine loves being involved in graduate recruitment and offering that same support and encouragement to graduates that are interested in starting their careers with CT. With many years’ experience working alongside graduates, Catherine has a wealth of knowledge on how the programmes work and how to set yourself up for success.

Rose Ritchie

Talent Acquisition Specialist – Graduate Programme

“We love engaging and genuine stories and anecdotes that speak to you and your unique journey, so be sure to show us who you are and how you’ve grown!”

Read more about Rose Ritchie

Vivian Cheng

Special Counsel – Tax

“Be prepared but be yourself.  Think of some examples and stories that really show who you are and what you are about.  Reflect on the path that led you here, what matters to you, and what you hope to achieve for the future.  I know it is easier said than done, but please don’t be nervous – we just want to have a chat to get to know you better and we won’t bite!”

Read more about Vivian Cheng

Ben Williams

Partner – Environmental, Planning & Resource Management

“We’re looking forward to meeting and getting to know you, but the interview is equally an opportunity for you to get to know us, so it’s a great idea to have a think about who your panel is, and what questions you might like to ask them specifically. It could be about the firm, our culture, the work we do – or whatever you’re keen to understand more about!”

Read more about Ben Williams

Nick Letham

Partner – Corporate & Commercial

“Think about the skills and knowledge you’d like to build at CT. That will show you’re keen to learn and grow.”

Read more about Nick Letham

Rose Ritchie

Talent Acquisition Specialist – Graduate Programme

“We love engaging and genuine stories and anecdotes that speak to you and your unique journey, so be sure to show us who you are and how you’ve grown!”

Read more about Rose Ritchie

Hear from Rose and Gerard on the interview panel

Graduate Recruitment Specialist, Rose Ritchie, sits down with Finance and Graduate Recruitment Partner, Gerard Souness. They discuss some of the key things they are looking for from candidates throughout the interview process and share their interview tips and tricks.

Hear from Corporate Partner, Rachel Dunne.

Beginning her journey as a Summer Clerk, Rachel is now thriving as a Partner in our Auckland Corporate & Commercial team. As a previous Graduate Recruitment Partner, she discusses the ins and outs of the entire graduate recruitment process.

Advice from our juniors

Many of our juniors have been where you are today, so we asked them to talk a bit about what helpful information and stories they could share with you. They talk about their own experiences with interviews and work at the firm, as well as some helpful advice and insights – have a watch to hear what they have to say.

Experience

Advice & insights

Work & teams

What is commercial law?

Graduate Recruitment Specialist, Rose Ritchie, sits down with Maxine Vercoe in our Corporate & Commercial team to provide some insights into one of our interview questions: “What is commercial law?”

Frequently asked questions

Have you got any questions for us? Hopefully our Frequently Asked Questions below will help answer some of those! If we haven’t quite covered your question, please get in touch with us.

What does it take to be a successful applicant

Applicants who are enthusiastic, have a strong motivation for a career in commercial law, good communication skills, a strong academic record and are all-round achievers do well in our programmes.

Which programme is right for me?

If you will be ready to start as a Law Clerk in February 2023, then you’re eligible to apply for our 2021/2022 Summer Clerk programme. If you’re a bit earlier on in your studies and you’ll be ready to start as a Law Clerk in February 2024, then you’re eligible to apply for our 2021 Winter Clerk programme.

How many applications does Chapman Tripp receive?

In the past few years we’ve received around 400 applications for our Summer Clerk programme and around 200 applications for our Winter Clerk programme.

How many Winter and Summer Clerks does Chapman Tripp take on?

We typically take on around 5-10 Winter Clerks and around 20 Summer Clerks across our three offices. We keep our intakes small which means that our clerks don’t compete and they all have the opportunity to get stuck into real work.

If I get on the Summer Clerk programme am I assured a Law Clerk position?

Law Clerk offers are made at the end of the programme and are based on the individual performance of each Summer Clerk, as well as team requirements.

Does Chapman Tripp recruit for Law Clerks outside of its Winter and Summer Clerk programmes?

Our Winter and Summer Clerk programmes act as a pipeline for our Law Clerk intake each year. Occasionally, there are Law Clerk vacancies outside of the programmes. When this occurs, the vacancies will be advertised on the Chapman Tripp website, relevant social media channels and via the universities.

Do you actually read everyone's application or do they go through a computer system?

We can assure you we read everyone’s application thoroughly!

What does Chapman Tripp look for when reviewing an application?

We’re interested in a lot of things. A few examples of what we look at include (1) your motivation for a career in commercial law; (2) your academic and personal achievements at school and university; (3) if you’ve taken on any roles of responsibility or leadership; (4) what you’re interested in outside of study; and (5) what makes you you!

Does it matter what I'm studying?

All our applicants need to be studying towards a Bachelor of Laws. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re studying towards that on its own, doing a conjoint with another degree, if you’re doing Honours, if you’ve already graduated with another degree and taken up law afterwards, taken a gap year, or started university straight after school.

Do I need to have A+ grades?

No you don’t. We’re looking for well-rounded students who can show they’ve applied themselves at school and university and have achieved good marks. If there’s a particular mark that isn’t quite consistent with the rest of your grades or if you have extenuating circumstances that have affected your grades, make sure you explain the reason behind that in your application.

Do only my law grades matter?

Our application process only asks you to input your law grades but we do read your application in its entirety, including your academic transcript.

What if I work two jobs or have family commitments and don't have time for extra-curricular activities?

Tell us about your work and your family – we want to hear what you do with your time and why it’s important to you. That could include anything from playing sport, looking after family members, working a part-time job to pay off your student loan, being part of an orchestra, sports team or band, inventing things, being a member of a community or youth group, volunteering at a charity and anything and everything else you do!

Does it matter how old I am?

Not at all. Our programmes are open to any law students no matter what age you are.

Should I read up about Chapman Tripp?

Yes, it will help if you know about the firm when you’re filling out the application so that you understand the culture here, what type of work we do and what it’s like to be a part of Chapman Tripp. If you come along to an interview, we expect you to have done your research and ask us relevant questions as well.

How will I know if I have an interview?

We’ll give you a call to let you know. For summer and law clerk applicants, you can expect to hear from us during the week commencing 1 April 2020. Winter clerk applicants can expect to hear from us mid-May 2020.

Who will I be interviewing with?

You’ll sit down with two of our partners and a member of our People and Culture team. You’ll be able to meet your interviewers at the pre-interview networking function and we’ll also make sure there’s one of our junior lawyers to sit with you before your interview, just in case you have any last-minute questions. When you receive your invite to interview email, we will let you know who you will be interviewing with. Check out the panels and the advice they have to give.

Do I need to prepare for the interview?

Definitely! The interview is an opportunity for you to share with us why you want to be a part of Chapman Tripp – and for you to get to know us better too. Know your CV inside out, be prepared to talk about your work and personal experiences (even tricky ones) and come ready to ask us a few questions. Sitting down with a family member or friend and thinking about what types of questions you might encounter and practising what you might say is a good way to prepare.

How will I know if I've been offered a position?

One of the partners you interviewed with will give you a call to give you the great news and then someone from our People and Culture team will be in touch with the finer details.

What if I receive offers from different law firms, how do I choose?

You should ask lots of questions, attend the firms’ events and trust your instinct. The firm you end up choosing should be the one you feel comfortable with, the one where you connect with the people, and the firm you consider will give you the best start to your career.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Feel free contact us here for any further questions and one of our friendly People & Culture members will be in touch.