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.
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.”
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!'”
Hear from corporate and commercial partner, Rachel Dunne.
Rachel has had quite the career journey! After joining Chapman Tripp as a summer clerk, she is now thriving as a partner in our Auckland corporate team – although her success has not come without hard work and dedication. As a previous graduate recruitment partner, Rachel knows the ins and outs of the entire graduate recruitment process – listen to her insights here.
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.
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.
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.
If you will be ready to start as a law clerk in February 2022, then you’re eligible to apply for our 2020/2021 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 2023, then you’re eligible to apply for our 2020 winter clerk programme.
Yes! It’s a short cut to our summer clerk programme. Not only do you get to spend a week at the firm getting involved in real work, but at the end you may be invited back to join our summer clerk programme the following year.
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.
We typically take on around 14 winter clerks and around 25-30 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.
We have the same number of law clerk positions as summer clerk positions, so all of our summer clerks have the opportunity to be offered 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.
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.
We can assure you we read everyone’s application thoroughly!
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!
No. We treat everyone’s application equally.
No. We treat everyone’s application equally.
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.
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.
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!
Not at all. Our programmes are open to any law students no matter what age you are.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. For summer and law clerk applicants, you can expect to hear from us on 14 May 2020. For winter clerk applicants, you can expect to hear from us in early-June 2020.
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.